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Planning a Perfect Christmas

Itís time to celebrate

by Becky May

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore what our priorities should be at Christmas.

Preparation and materials


  1. Welcome the children to the assembly and begin by asking how they are feeling today. Are they excited about Christmas? Which part of it are they most looking forward to?

  2. Ask the children what makes Christmas really special to them. What are the things that must be included in their Christmas celebrations to make them feel like they have celebrated it properly?

  3. Ask the children, ‘If you had to plan for the perfect Christmas, what would be on your list of things to do?’

    Encourage the children to make a list individually or in groups. You may wish to ask the children to vote on what things they feel are the most important.

  4. Show Slide 1.

    Explain that this image of Mary may not look like many of the traditional Christmas pictures that we see, but it is probably a more realistic representation of her.

    Explain that when Mary knew that she was expecting her baby, Jesus, she probably had a list of things that she thought she would need to prepare for his special birth.

    You may wish to ask the children what they think is needed to get ready for the arrival of a new baby.

    Explain that today, expectant parents might create lists of furniture, clothes, toys and equipment that they need to get ready for the baby’s arrival.

  5. Ask the children what they think Mary had in mind when she found out she was pregnant. Perhaps she planned for Joseph, a carpenter, to make a crib. Maybe she had been weaving a shawl. It’s almost certain that she did not intend Jesus’ birth to turn out as it did!

  6. Remind the children of the Christmas story, when Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem, but there were no places for them to stay and give birth to the baby apart from a stable, a home for animals! Then, a short while after the birth, they had to flee to Egypt as refugees on the run from the ruler.

    Tell the children, ‘Nobody would plan this kind of arrival for their newborn baby . . . would they?’

  7. Explain that actually, Christians believe that Jesus’ arrival on earth was exactly as God had planned it. There had been many prophecies given hundreds of years before that indicated that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem in this most unusual way. Imagine that! It’s not the sort of arrival on earth that you might plan for the Son of God, is it?

  8. Return to the lists that the children created earlier in the assembly. Explain that sometimes, the plans that we make for Christmas go wrong. We don’t get to do all the things on our lists. Let’s remember not to get so bogged down in planning the perfect Christmas that we miss the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy it all!

Time for reflection

Show Slide 2.

Invite the children to make themselves really quiet inside for a moment and focus on the second slide.

Explain to the children that this is the reason that we have Christmas: to remember and celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. Perhaps this year, we need to let go of some of our hopes, plans and expectations and remember this simple scene, and the love that God has for the world.

Dear God,
Thank you for sending your Son into the world.
Help us this year to remember the things that really matter
nd let go of the things that are not that important.


‘Because it’s Christmas’ by Mark and Helen Johnson, available at: (1.08 minutes long)

‘The star’ by Mariah Carey, available at: (4.01 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. You might like to create a Nativity scene in your classroom. Perhaps the children could each create a different figure to add to the scene. Alternatively, you can buy child-friendly sets for the children to act out the story.

  2. Why not try challenging the children to find a project that you can support as a school to help them to focus on what matters this Christmas?
Publication date: December 2020   (Vol.22 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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