Joy to the World, It’s Time to Plan Christmas!

Holidays / The Basics //

we’re in the middle of planning our christmas bonanza for kids at willow chicago — and, a couple of things have been guiding our planning, you know, things beside Jesus’ birth. because, there’s that.

first up: we looked at the programming themes for the adult service. because any chance we can, we take the opportunity to connect the kid + adult sunday morning experience. we believe this greatly encourages families to connect with each other post-church service. the adult services will cover hope, peace, joy and love during the four weeks leading up to christmas. great!

next: we currently use the tru curriculum in our sunday morning kids’ classrooms, so we reviewed the december lessons to see if there was a way to incorporate the hope, peace, joy and love themes. sure enough, there was! we switched around 2 of the lessons, and edited the wording. easy, baby.

we are also planning to completely re-write the third week’s lesson so that children can enjoy a small group celebration together. we’ll encourage small group leaders to plan a time of games, and art, and fun so that kids have their very own small christmas parties. this will be good.

next, next: we brainstormed ways to make the environment a magical place for kids. because our space is multi-purpose, every decoration, staging, christmas tree has to be easily set up and torn down. in addition, the church’s creative team designed decor that will light up the building throughout the week. oh! and! we just launched 5 brand new classrooms that include tons-o-tons of set up. so the idea of adding any more items to our already long set-up list made us near crazy.

so, keeping those things in mind, the always-ridiculously-talented melissa designed special staging for the kids’ classrooms that will match the building’s decor and provide a special umph just for them. this was not easy. there were many factors to consider {see above paragraph}. but, as i always say, you’ve got to make eggnog out of eggs. or, something like that.

finalmente: to top it all off, we’re looking into ways to encourage families to celebrate the season together. we’re reviewing a few advent apps that families can enjoy together {PS: please, send suggestions}. and, we’re hoping to give families a a copy of the christmas song we’ll be singing each week, along with including the christmas videos we’re showing the kids in our weekly parent email. our hope is that after kids see the videos on sunday, parents will receive them mid-week and have an opportunity to watch the videos as a family.

the holidays are here, and i’m giddy as an elf. and, you? what christmas plans are you making?

{photo from my very favorite christmas card shop.}





About the Author

Amy Dolan is founder, leader and blogger for Lemon Lime Kids, a children’s ministry consulting company that seeks to encourage churches to consider a fresh approach to leading and teaching children. Amy started the company in 2005, as a way to empower and encourage fellow children’s ministry leaders, and since that first day has had the opportunity to work with leaders & organizations committed to the spiritual growth of children. Amy believes that the church fully empowered, combined with the commitment of the family, and the compassion of the community has the power to inspire children’s faith for a lifetime. In addition to her consulting work with Lemon Lime Kids, Amy leads the strategic curriculum development for Phil Vischer’s new curriculum What’s in the Bible? (, and serves as Director of LOCAL, a Chicago-area children’s ministry collaborative ( Amy is the former Executive Director for Children’s Ministry at the Willow Creek Association, a former Children’s Ministry Director at The Chapel in Libertyville, IL and a Curriculum Writer for Promiseland at Willow Creek in South Barrington. Amy is proud to be married to her husband Kelly, and loves living in Chicago. Amy blogs at and tweets at @adolan.