Growing up my family was notorious for setting up our Christmas tree late. I don’t mean after Thanksgiving late, first week of December late, I’m talking the week of Christmas late. I didn’t think much of it until we drove one Christmas Eve to my grandparent’s house across states. The goal was to arrive in time for the big day, the 25th. We arrived at their house at 1am, and found my grandmother was putting the finishing touches on the tree that my grandpa had just bought earlier that day! On Christmas Eve! I didn’t even know you could still buy a tree then.
So maybe you have been ready for Christmas for the last month. Your church has a great campaign that went live on the first of the month. Maybe volunteers are scheduled to come and set up the lobby before the first Sunday in December. Or possibly you’ve even managed a small stage re-design to match your Advent series.
If however you are still scrambling, and the past few months have been a blur, you may be wondering, what can you still accomplish before Christmas? I want to share with you 3 ways to prep your online presence for Christmas. A way to “deck the [digital] halls, with boughs of holly.”
And since you’re most likely on a time crunch, these ideas are ranked at easy, medium and hard difficulty levels to help you set out to succeed. I hope this helps!
Take your team to see American Underdog, in theaters Christmas Day 2021.
So the goal here is make sure you can get some info out about Christmas. You may be in the 9th hour, feeling the time crunch, but what is most important is to still get the information out. Here’s a few simple things you can do.
Keep your online information up to date with details like times, locations, special holiday instructions (like parking, additional services, refreshments etc.)
Add a few reflective posts to your social media. It’s so easy to bombard your feed with the details. Remember to take some time to inspire with a Christmas Scripture, maybe some Advent posts or even photos of your worship space all decorated for the holidays.
Automate your posts! You already know you will want some type of post on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day and probably even on Sunday the 26th (to let people know if you will have in person or online church that day). Still you want tot be present with family and friends and enjoy as much of your time off as you can. So go ahead and get those posts scheduled in advance.So whether or not you will sleep in on the 25th or the kids will have you up early for gifts, your church Social Media can take care of itself until you are ready to pick up your phone and try those new gadgets you found under the tree.
2. MEDIUM – LIKE CREATING YOUR OWN HOT COCOA MIX
Here we are talking a bout some ideas that you can still pull off in time for Christmas, but they may require some extra hustle and calling in a few favors.
Create a Christmas landing page on your website. This is a simple page that has ALL of your holiday season events. Start with the big rocks like Christmas Musicals, Christmas Eve service times but don’t be afraid to add other details too. Student Ministry Christmas Party, caroling times and locations, special dinners or small group wrap ups, anything that applies to the whole church and has to do with the month of December, drop it here.Consider also adding information about your Advent Offering and of course, add a button to GIVE NOW. The goal is to make this page a one stop shop for anything Christmas related in your church.
Of course you need to market this landing page. So link it from your home page, but then also work on creating some direct links. This can be as simple as yourchurchwebsite.com/CHRISTMAS or even something more clever like christmasatyourchurchname.com – whatever you choose, post it everywhere and make getting info an easy task this year.
Send a church Christmas Card. I got this idea a few years back and am implementing it for the 3rd time this year with my Student Ministry team. We are a team of 4 so it’s a bit simpler, but we will take a family Christmas photo with our team. We will print them out in postcard form (we’ve outsourced to a printer and done in house) and sent a brief encouragement to all our students and families.We try to have fun with the photo (ugly sweaters is always an easy go to or try recreating a 80’s or 90’s family photo) and we keep it light hearted. At the very bottom we are sure to add our January kick off date, but the main purpose, is simply to help spread that Christmas cheer.
3. HARD – LIKE SYNCHRONIZED LIGHT SHOW ON YOUR HOUSE
Okay, so here’s the “match your outdoor lights to Trans-Siberian Orchestra music” level of effort. These are the things that you may still be able to pull off, but most likely you will need to jot down, and save for next Christmas! Still, use these ideas for inspiration or maybe you can take and create a version of this still for this year.
Decorate your logos! Since my first day taking over social media for my ministry I’ve always had this idea to tweak logos and banners or headers with Christmas designs. It all started when I photoshopped a Santa hat on our logo for a social media post. It was fun, light hearted and fit the season. Are there tweaks you can put on your logos? Can you add snow to your pictures or headers? Candy canes hidden along the pages of your website? Essentially, to what extent can your website become a Winter Wonderland in the month of December?
A 12 Days of Christmas email or social media campaign can be fun, but also requires a lot of work. I would suggest doing this if you have enough content to communicate over the period of the campaign. So maybe you want to share where your Holiday Offering is going to and you segment that out into 12 days of giving. Or maybe you take 12 days to pray for your missionary partners in December. Or identify 12 families who could tell about their story or Christmas tradition and share that with the church (a video version of this would be incredible as well). Whatever your topic is, if you have a lot of content, this could be a cool way to promote things for multiple days in the month.If you have a clear vision for what to communicate, a pro tip is that you can automate these emails or posts to set them up once inmonth, and let them hit the inboxes without having to worry about it every day.
Video is still such an effective medium on social media and online that it would be a shame to not use it in a season such as this. Are there creative videos you can make with your team? Can you incorporate volunteers or families? A testimony of what God is doing in the life of someone is always such a powerful tool, are there any stories that need sharing?The cool aspect of a video is that you can add some festive music, some Christmas themed lower thirds or even film it in front of some well decorated trees or with some nice lights in the background. Now it becomes a piece of content that fits the season well.
A full on Christmas Campaign incorporates some of all these ideas. If you can come up with a cool series name and artwork, this can serve in some of all these areas. Your an easily design banners and signage around your campus, it can be used on stage screens, bumper videos, and also be used on the web, as graphics, sliders and landing pages. You can make social media posts or graphics and photos that fit the same campaign and even marketing around town or mailers can be birthed out this same campaign.The beauty here is that this approach can be as big or as small as you need it. It can be as easy as a updating sections of the website and as involved as paid advertising. However you go about it, a cohesive theme and look that is coordinated with your whole Christmas Season has a lot of advantages for people who aren’t as connected to your church and all that takes place there.
Daniel Stevanus grew up overseas in Bari, Italy as a missionary kid. There he developed his passion for people and call to ministry. After high school he moved back to the United States to attend Columbia International University, where he earned his degrees in Pastoral Ministry as well as Bible. He then served as a youth pastor on Long Island, NY for 5 years and is currently the Student Ministry Director at Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington, SC.