Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the Church, New in 2013

Lots of churches decorate a tree for Christmas. Some  churches make the mistake of using a tree intended for homes, and it looks silly in the larger spaces of the church. The one pictured here is the right scale--it reaches right up to the ceiling. Churches, even small churches, are so much bigger than houses that they need really massive decorations in order to not be dwarfed by the surroundings. If you use a tree this big, it is good to use extra large decorations as well. They don’t have to cost a fortune--often dollar stores carry oversized decorations. On the tree in the photo, they used large bows all over the tree between the decorations. You can use this idea if you buy rolls of ribbon at a craft store or even a dollar store-- you can make your own bows quite inexpensively, and they don’t take a lot of time to make. If you can’t buy other large decorations, you can make them, or even use full sized toys as tree ornaments. There are places where you can use smaller trees around the church, such as cozy sitting areas, Sunday school classrooms, or even bathrooms. These can add a nice touch of Christmas spirit all over the church. When choosing decorations for any tree, it is good to keep in mind the surrounding colors of the walls, carpet, drapes, and furniture. If they are neutral colors, then you can use any color for the decorations. If not, try to choose ornaments in colors that will complement the surrounding colors. Of course,  if the decorations are neutral, such as gold or silver, they will go with just about any room colors.

Sitting areas around the church are another exception where you can use regular sized Christmas decorations  that are intended for home use. Make an inviting corner with lots of seasonal accents to create some Christmas atmosphere in every nook and cranny the church. If you already have sitting areas, it is just a matter of adding some Christmas touches. Some of the accents pictured here are:

  1. 1.Gifts--empty wrapped boxes

  2. 2.Crackers--if kids can’t keep their hands off, use them in places they can’t reach

  3. 3.Candles

  4. 4.Pinecones in a bucket

  5. 5.Framed Christmas picture

  6. 6.Wreath

  7. 7.Stockings

  8. 8.“Noel”--you can usually find wooden letters at craft stores. I love the way they used a crown of thorns for the “O” to keep the focus on the reason for the season--Jesus’ work of salvation.

Did you know? “Noel” originated in latin meaning birthday, so the first noel refers to Jesus’ birth, the first birthday, or Christmas.

If you have builders in the church, they can make a decorative fireplace to add to the ambience. If your church doesn’t have builders, or if they are busy, you might be able to find an old  mantle at a flee market or junk store. You would still need to find a wall or oversized box that you could temporarily fasten it to.

If your church has a talented handyman, there are all kinds of creative Christmas decorations they could come up with in place of or in addition to a fireplace...a giant nativity scene, a stand for a mass of potted poinsettias, perhaps in the shape of a Christmas tree, etc.

Decorating the church with classical prints of Christmas scenes adds a classy touch to the church. If you are short on wall space to hang framed prints, this 3 sided stand is a great way to display them in a church foyer or entryway. It allows people to view the artwork, but still allows for large crowds to be able to move past them. The lights mounted on the top make the artwork visible even in dark corners. This shouldn’t be too hard of a project for a handyman in the church. If you fasten sheets of plywood together with hinges, then it can fold flat for storage. Or leave it up year round and rotate artwork to match the season.

The easiest way to enlarge the pattern is to shine it onto the wood with a computer projector, and draw the figures onto the wood. When cutting out the figures with a jigsaw, take care to leave enough uncut gaps in the wood, or some of the pieces could be too fragile and break off. Be careful where you lean as you cut the wood, since a hand in the wrong place could pop out a whole section! That would be a shame! The wood could be painted black to make the outlines really stand out. Smaller versions could be made for smaller spaces.

Download pattern for left side              Download pattern for right side

Here is a view of the back side of the nativity scene so you can see the large floodlights that shine light through the cut lines. You can also see the frame around the edges of the wood as well as the smaller pieces of wood that brace the seams in the plywood sheets.

Here is a christmas tree made out of old wooden crates and pillar candles that give off a wonderful glow. I love this idea because it is so easy to achieve--no handyman needed! The candles are easy to find-- just about every dollar store sells this size of candles. I have no idea where to find old wooden crates--maybe you can google it to find a source in your area. If not, you can always get a handyman to build some! I do have two thoughts on this--your church has to be quite dark for the candles to show up and give this warm glow, or plan to light them during an evening service. The other thing is safety, since they are real flames. Perhaps one person could be put in charge of lightning and extinguishing them, but also in between, keeping an eye on them during the worship service to make sure people don’t get too close for their clothes to catch on fire, or bump them and knock them over. Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy. The alternative is to use electric candles--they don’t look as pretty, but they are not a fire hazard.

These large candelabras are so big that they hold pillar candles. However, in my opinion, are still too small for this space.  They would be better used in a smaller space.

Even if you don’t have a lounge area in your church, you can bring in furniture just for the Christmas season--ask around to see if any church members would be willing to loan some furniture to the church for a month or two.

Here is a creative way to make a really massive nativity scene (yet another job for a talented handyman). The concept is fairly simply--use a jigsaw to cut the outlines of the figures in sheets of plywood. It looks like one piece of plywood but, it was made in 4 panels--it is massive!

Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the Church, 2013