Have your Christmas programs become a predictable format of readings, dialogues, and songs? This year, put together a program that includes more of the arts.
Because the arts are modes of expression that use skill and imagination to create an experience that can be shared with others, they are perfect for Christmas programs. We already include the arts of storytelling and music in our programs. By incorporating a wider variety of the arts, children have an opportunity to explore poetry, painting, drawing, modeling, sculpture, and dance as they tell the Christmas story.
Begin by sharing a list of the arts that will be included in your upcoming program. Divide the Christmas story into bite-size pieces and distribute a piece of the story to each child or family group. Ask them what their ideas are for using the arts to tell their part of the story. Build off their ideas and share the following ideas if needed:
- using building blocks or sticks to build a stable
- writing stories or poems for re-writing a portion of Luke 2
- using modeling clay to make animals
- painting or drawing the scenes in the story
- holding a fashion show to model how the drape Mary wore on her head would later be used as a wrap to stay warm in the barn, or the travel bag that Joseph carried would later be used as a pillow
- using vocal or piano and instrumental music in place of choir songs
- using dolls or nativity figurines or puppets as characters in the story
- wrapping gifts in large pieces of paper that children have drawn to illustrate the gifts of God that are ours at Christmas (peace, hope, love)
- creating a “Glory to God” dance for the angel’s song of praise
- making cookies that tell the Christmas story (Nativity cookie cutter sets are available online)
Create a script using the Luke 2 text. As child narrators read the Christmas story, insert pictures or videos of the children’s works of art. It’s easy to go virtual with this type of program. If you are doing a live performance, project the pictures and videos on a big screen for all to see.
Christmas is a time for celebrating Jesus, God’s gift to the world. How about celebrating that gift by sharing the gifts and talents of the children with your faith community? They just might see and hear the Christmas story like they have never seen or heard it before.