Rosefield Uniting Church's fifth Interactive Christmas event was held yesterday on a scorching 41 degree day in Adelaide. The extreme heat certainly reduced attendance, particularly of families with pre-schoolers, but it was still a great evening. We have a spectacular group of helpers who come out every year for this event.
For the second year we tried to have the first half-hour for families with young children, catering for our Playgroup and Mainly Music families. Celia did a great job. We had a great band and a humorous drama. But families with older kids turned up for this session, so we'll rejig it a bit it for next time.
Here's how the program went. Copy of setup here - Download PROGRAM_SETUP_2015 PDF.
1. Arrival Activity - Angel Christmas
We had a bunch of paper mache angels and provided a range of ways to decorate them with clothing, hair, facial features etc.
Here we also gave each family a paper bag to collect their stuff in, and their copy of the map.
2. Mary Christmas
People come from the arrival activity into the church for a session which opens up the story with media, music and drama. As well as the Mainly Music items for young children we had
- a short video clip from "The Nativity" movie setting the scene
- a drama about 2 angels visiting Mary with a special announcement - Download Drama-Angels_with_a_G (PDF)
- music from guest band Sevenfold, including Malcolm Gordon's lovely "Hey, Mary", Marc Cohn's "Baby King" and Colin Buchanan's "Angels Singing Glory"
Then we had a whole bunch of activities that people could explore at their leisure.
Several different art and craft activities, including making a decorated candle gift box, making Christmas wreaths, and other stuff.
4. Clay Christmas
We provided some Christmassy cookie cutters but encouraged people to make their own reminder of the Christmas story
We've decided to let kids ask for what they want rather than try to limit it to a Christmas theme...
6. Photo Christmas
Once again we had a photo booth where people of any age can dress up in a nativity and have their photo taken. We email them the photos afterward. I really like doing this as it becomes a family memento but it is also about learning who was in the story.
7. Tasty Christmas
Making edible Christmas trees... yeah, I know. But we did have fruit!
8. Musical Christmas
My daughter also bought her loop pedal and they were making up looped vocal percussion to go with this.
b. Rap a Christmas carol using the neat Autorap mobile app. We supplied the words of the carols.
c. A Vocoder (microphone into laptop running Reason) which people could use to 'voice' Christmas carols.
9. Dark Christmas
This was a darkened room with 2 parts to it. People were given a torch as they entered.
a. Christmas art and decorations
- a quote from Matthew 2:13-15 - Escape to Egypt - Download Matthew 2 PDF
- a wall of images and stories about refugees from Magnus Wenmann
- quote from Isaiah 9:2-7 Download Matthew 2 - Download Isaiah 9 PDF
- looping movie scene from the film "Children of Men" of the newborn baby stopping the war
- looping movie from "The Nativity Story" of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem with "Everybody Hurts" by REM - Belkin hub and headphones
- A brief reflection on "Blue Christmas" and an invitation to take a Blue Star and hang it on the Christmas tree at home - Download Blue Christmas (PDF)
A tent with fairy lights, coloured fabrics, cushions, torches and Christmas story books. And an electric campfire outside. It looks wonderful, but it's the second time that we've done it and what we really need is a storyteller in there rather than books.
11. Play Christmas
We had several activities for families with younger children - a babies mat, glitter play dough with cookie cutters, sand tray with play figures, and painting.
I love being able to say that we've been running this event for 5 years and for the THIRD time the same family from nearby church has provided the baby Jesus for us - all girls. Lucy and Mark are awesome and we're so glad that they have shared so willingly with us. We have a 'stable', and this time, the host was dressed as an angel, and she said this: Download Reflection in the Stable PDF. As people left they were handed a laminated blessing (Download Christmas blessings Download Take Home Blessing) and an original design take-home nativity ornament.
So that's how it went and I'm already thinking about how to push it in several different directions next time.