Every once in awhile Christmas falls on a Sunday. Over the years we have approached it various ways. My most memorable Christmas Sunday was a few years back. That year we gathered the Sunday School teachers in November and asked if they wanted to cancel Sunday School for Christmas morning and just have a church service, since Christmas is also a huge family holiday. One teacher was very vocal that Christmas was the whole reason we had church to begin with and it being the celebration of the entrance of our Savior into the world we should absolutely have Sunday School.
So we planned an Intergenerational Breakfast and it was the highest attendance we had all year.
We set up a continental style breakfast. The pièce de résistance were the homemade cinnamon rolls one of our ladies made. We had fruit salad, juice, hot chocolate and coffee as well.
We used cloth tablecloths and simple centerpieces to make things a little special. It was simple, yet classy. I found everything for the centerpieces in our resource room. Polyester fiber fill, plastic snowflakes and battery operated votive candles. The little snowflakes were made from white paper and a snowflake punch. Walmart and Michael's carry these.
We played several games.
- One was drawing a Christmas tree and fireplace
on a paper plate on top of your head.
- The other was piling up snowballs
(marshmallows) on a wide wooden Popsicle stick.
We met in the children's area instead of the fellowship hall, and I think this helped the event to be more incorporating of the generations. Some children were there with their families, but there was at least one who came without parents. Adults intermingled and played games with the children whether or not they were related. We even had people come to this that did not normally come for Sunday School. The best thing was that this could be an all-inclusive event. Those with disabilities could be incorporated as well.
My favorite moment came when one of the boys let out a huge yawn, and without missing a beat I asked, "Are we boring you?" What was special was that he was non-verbal. He rarely attended church because while non-verbal, he was not non-noiseful. I am not aware of the level of his handicaps, but at that moment, in the warmth of everyone joined together in one big class area, I interacted with him like any other child, which of course he was, but we so often forget that. It flowed naturally, effortlessly in the atmosphere of the gathering.
There is a time and place for intergenerational programs and there is also a need for age appropriate teaching. If your church regularly has a Sunday School, an event like this would be great once a quarter, or even 3 times a year. It helps the children to connect with the rest of the church, and helps the church connect with them too. And it is an opportunity for an all-inclusive gathering of everyone in your church.