It’s officially the week of Christmas and there are lots of exciting events going on! One event that is usually on your to-do list is probably the Christmas Eve service at church. This is such a special service and important focal point in remembering Christ’s birth. It can also be super stressful when childcare is NOT provided and you get to sit through a beautiful service keeping children under the age of five occupied for what you hope is just an hour. Today I’m going to share a few ideas on how to survive (and possibly enjoy) this service with your little ones.
I have an 18 month old and a 3 year old. Not only do I have to occupy the kids, I’m usually involved in the service which adds another element of crazy. Over the past few years, I’ve gathered the following ideas to help me survive the Christmas service and not burn the place down.
Don’t go alone! Christmas is all about family so take your family with you! Passing your baby down the row to various family members can keep them occupied and help you not go crazy. Plus, grandmas have a higher tolerance for children digging through their purses.
Ignore the “no food” rule. Hey, kids got to eat and when they usually are snacking, they’re not talking or screaming. Take a low-mess snack, I like fruit snacks for my girls, but something they like and can keep them happy. We always put a little candy cane in our Christmas Eve busy bags as a treat (*cough* bribe *cough*)for the kids.
Make sure to have a Christmas Eve Busy Bags. We provide these for our kids every year, but I know some churches don’t. We order lots of goodies from Oriental Trading: cute bags, coloring book set, nativity sticker set, construction paper, candy canes and any other cute Christmas activities we find. It doesn’t keep kids busy the whole time, but it does help them get through the service. I recommend saving the bag for the sermon portion of the service. You can’t usually hear the kids until it gets quiet. If your church doesn’t provide them, I’ve shared a few items below that could help. Stocking a bag of Christmas books can also be a great activity for them as well.
Save the screen time. Don’t let your little ones see your tablet or phone until absolutely necessary. I don’t love screen time especially during a service, but hey, I’m a realistic parent. You’ve got to survive sometimes! I think saving it as a last resort is a good idea because it can often be a challenge to transition them off of it (nothing like a big fight during “Silent Night”).
Give your kid a candle. Plan to give your child a candle during the service (even if you don’t light it) or a fight will most likely ensue. I know this year we’ll be exiting the building with our candles and I really don’t want to cause a “scene” with my three year old while carrying a lit candle. I prefer to keep my hair and eyebrows.
I’m not saying these tips will magically make the evening perfect, but being prepared always helps! The more preparation=happier kids (especially if they get a good nap beforehand). If you don’t have a church home, google “Christmas Eve Service Near You” and enjoy a season focused on our Savior.
Thanks for letting me share,