I love Christmas. Who doesn’t, right? It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Everybody’s in a good mood, people smile on the street, music is playing everywhere. It really is the hap, happiest season of all.
If you work at a church, though, Christmas can be downright insane. Especially if you do a living Christmas tree. Something about assembling a set that rivals Les Miserables out of 2x4s and phone books doesn’t seem so Christmas cheer-y.
Thankfully, we don’t do the living Christmas tree at North Point. In fact, it really is the season I look forward to the most every year. Over the last few years, we’ve been able to do some really fun stuff – and the process of making it happen is so much fun.
Typically we start sometime in late summer or early fall with a brainstorming session. We’ll bring in people from all over the church staff and just ask for as many random ideas as possible. Everything from baking turkeys in ovens to fill the room with the aroma to making the band wear footie pajamas, no idea is a bad idea. Then, all of those ideas get taken to another meeting with our Service Programming Team. We try to take those loose ideas and find some themes, some big picture ideas for what to tackle this Christmas.
From there things get really fun. I typically sit down with the people on the music team and we brainstorm anything and everything we could possibly do with music that could work at Christmas. This is where ideas like the iBand and “Santa Went Down to Georgia” were born. We get all excited and bring our half-baked ideas back to the SPD team. The SPD team listens patiently to our strange music ideas, and most of them end up on the cutting room floor. But some of them survive, and when they do they go back down to the music team with ideas for changes and new direction.
Then our team gets to work on creating demos for these ideas. We spend time with microphones and karaoke tracks, trying our best to piece together a reasonable idea of what our concepts would look and sound like as a finished product. After another round or two of edits, the SPD team signs off and we are all systems go. Then we bring in musicians and singers for rehearsals, some of which start months ahead of time depending on what we’re trying to accomplish. Finally, after some of the longest nights of rehearsal we have all year, we get to try these ideas out on Sunday mornings in front of people in their best Christmas sweaters.
The best part is, we never really know if it’s going to work. I was pretty convinced the iBand was going to flop until we stood on stage and heard the laughter after the first few notes. It’s always exhilarating and nerve-wracking, but at the end of the day it is incredibly satisfying to work so hard and see something come together like Christmas. I can’t wait to see it come together again this year…
How do you like to prepare for Christmas? What’s the idea you’re looking forward to this year?