Thinking of skipping the children’s Christmas program this year? If you can’t go live, why not go virtual?
Narrated Christmas programs can be easily adapted to go virtual. The first step is to cut the Christmas program into bite-size pieces that can be handed out to families in your congregation.
Recruit children for the speaking and non-speaking parts. The only speaking part will be your narrator, and you can have one narrator or a bunch of them. Non-speaking parts will be children dressed up as costumed characters in the Christmas story—Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and angels. These costumed characters will do a little acting in a video or pose for a photo. If you have additional children, create parts for those who are willing to dress as animals at the manger or pose with a prop like a star, a candle or a “No Room” sign. And don’t forget your singers! Even if they are not able to sing as a large group, you can feature them in small groups or as soloists.
Instruct families to swing by the church to pick up their costumes or let them design their own. Robes, belts, and vests work well for the main characters. Dish towels held in place with a stretchy headband make great head pieces. Glittery tree garlands can be cut to size for a perfect angel halo.
Once the parts are assigned and the scripts are distributed, it is time to start recording. Invite family members to use their phones or devices to record video or audio files of children who are reading and singing. Then take pictures or record videos of the costumed characters acting out their parts in the Christmas story.
Check with the tech crew at your church, if you have one, for instructions on uploading or emailing the audio and video files to them. After they edit everything, they will link all of the pieces of the Christmas program together. If you don’t have a tech crew, I recommend consulting with a young person in the area or in your congregation. Many teens are experienced at using apps and websites to create movies and presentations for projects at school (ex. iMovie, SlidesCarnival, Prezi, and Powtoon). Once the Christmas program has been pieced together, post it on your church website so that church members, families, and grandparents can tune in to watch the children make the Christmas story come to life.
I always end my children’s Christmas programs celebrating “Immanuel—God is with us." I don’t know about you, but I never get tired of hearing that God is with us. I’m guessing that there will be people in your audience this year that are looking forward to hearing that good news, too!