Christmas Programs for Small Churches

White clapboard provincial chapel , New Zealand

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Christmas programs are often done by children and are a way to celebrate the season with a religious event. However, programs aren't restricted to children, and small churches often invite all congregation members to participate. Planning and putting on a program takes preparation and practice, but pays off in a big way, both for performers and those who come to watch.


A Christmas program in a small church is an ideal way to bring together current congregation members with those in the community who might be looking for a church home or who may not know the real reason why people celebrate Christmas. A program is also a good way to bring together people of all ages to celebrate and observe the Christmas holiday. It is also a way to teach young children about the meaning behind Christmas.

Planning a Program

Planning ahead and involving the congregation ensures that you have enough people to make the program a success. In many churches, the Sunday school children participate in the program, either by acting out the story or by singing holiday music. If the number of children is few, involve the church choir, handbell choir, parents and board members in whatever capacity they are skilled at. Choose a program that works with the number of people participating, and start practicing several weeks in advance so the show runs smoothly on the big day.

What to Include

No set-in-stone rules say what you have to include in your Christmas program. Generally, however, shows incorporate a variety of entertainment to share the Christmas story with the audience. You might have older children and adults act out the Bible story of Jesus' birth while younger children sing Christmas songs. If you have choirs or a band at your church, they can play music with or without singing. Costumes enhance the effect and make the program more entertaining and authentic.

Making the Program Successful

If no one knows about your Christmas program, it won't be very successful. Advertise your show with posters around the church and flyers distributed to the surrounding community. If funds allow, place an announcement in the local paper. Print programs to pass out to the audience members so they can follow along with the order of the program. If church seating is limited, borrow or rent additional chairs that you can set out in the church so no one has to stand. Offer Christmas cookies and punch after the program, which gives your small church members the opportunity to interact with community guests and invite them to come back for services.