25 Christmas Outreach Ideas You’ll Actually Want to Do with Kids

Harness kids’ excitement and channel it toward serving one another, blessing the needy, and declaring the birth of Jesus!
13 min read

Ahh, Christmas! The time when we love to declare the coming of God into our world, the dawning of a light to those dwelling in darkness.

Yes, we can get carried away with Black Friday sales and events. And maybe we don’t love it that many people celebrate Christmas without Christ.

Christmas is a great time to harness kids’ excitement and channel it toward the true meaning of the holiday.

Still, it is the one time all year when a larger segment of our culture opens the door to living nativity scenes, Christmas carols, and themes of love, goodwill, giving, and even reverence.

Diverse children acting in nativity scene
Image Credit: Ariel Skelley/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Few topics awaken kids’ energies more than Christmas.

Because kids are so excited, Christmas is a great time to harness that excitement and channel it toward the true meaning of the holiday: serving one another, blessing the needy, and declaring the birth of the author of salvation.

Here are 25 projects that kids can participate in to better understand what Christmas really is all about.

1. Host a Christmas Program

Nothing quite says “Christmas” like kids telling the Christmas story.

Whether your church has been doing full-blown programs for years or this would be the first time to attempt such a thing, an evening when the birth of the Christ child is the focus is a slam dunk—especially at Christmastime.

Your program doesn’t have to be huge or extravagant (or expensive). The options are limitless. You just need to figure out what fits best with your children’s ministry.

Maybe the event consists of five children and a donkey standing around a nativity scene in front of the church. Or you and the kids might just wear bathrobes and do a simple skit portraying the events of the story.

Maybe you host a candlelight Christmas Eve service in which the children sing Christmas carols and play special music.

2. A Mall Christmas

Gift-wrapping is a chore often overlooked or not accounted for at Christmas.

Reserve or rent a spot in your local shopping mall during the shopping season and have the kids provide free gift-wrapping for weary and grateful shoppers.

If the management agrees to it, you could include spiced teas served by the kids; and consider offering comfortable chairs, and even a raffle.

Bring in some young carolers and maybe perform a short drama telling the Christmas story.

3. Deliver Christmas Trees

Some families can’t afford a Christmas tree, and others don’t have a truck or can’t get out to get a tree for themselves.

Consider working with a local Christmas tree farmer or supplier to buy several trees. Then deliver them free of charge to those who would like one.

Carry Christmas tree with multi-generational family
Image Credit: manonallard/E+/Getty Images

Load up the kids and the trees and start spreading the yuletide joy.

4. Free Vending at the Hospital

No one wants to be in the hospital at Christmas. Instead of enjoying eggnog and snickerdoodles, people are dealing with waiting rooms, uncertainty, and potentially scary news.

Have the kids in your church help relieve the burden of those at local hospital waiting rooms by putting quarters or dollar bills in resealable bags and laying them on tables or taping them to the sides of vending machines.

Include a note to point people to the Christ child and your church.

You could also have the kids hand out coloring books and boxes of crayons to the children in the waiting rooms.

5. Joy at the Drive-Through

Perhaps you have been the beneficiary of a kind person who paid for your meal at the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant.

Turn this into a blessed extravaganza by working with a manager who is willing to let the kids from your church pay for the food for every vehicle in the drive-through for a couple of hours.

As motorists pull away, tell them that this was a Christmas kindness from your church, and then hand out invitations to your Christmas Eve service.

6. Go Caroling

Caroling can seem a little strange in our day and age. We are inclined not to answer our front doors, and we install cameras to make sure we’re safe. As carolers, we can feel odd approaching someone’s property unannounced.

But once the door opens and the children begin singing, the discomfort fades and we almost go back in time as both the carolers and the recipients enter the joy of old Christmas favorites.

Hand out flyers advertising your upcoming Christmas Eve service while you’re out.

7. Free Airport Shuttles and Taxis

Get kids and parents organized with cell phones and volunteer shifts to provide free airport shuttles and shopping mall taxi service for people inside your church and out.

Mother driving kids to school
Image Credit: Anchiy/E+/Getty Images

What a ministry to harried families if you and your kids can pick up Aunt Marie at the airport or go pick up the teens at the mall, while the families finalize dinner and get the guest room ready … since Aunt Marie forgot to say she was coming!

8. Provide Free Firewood

Firewood is a blessing to families with fireplaces. It’s not a huge expense; but it’s not free, and it’s often a hassle to purchase, transport home, and lay in for use.

Why not help the children of the church purchase cords of firewood and distribute those to homes in the neighborhood around the church? The kids can invite the residents to visit your church on Christmas Eve.

9. Angel Tree

Use the official Angel Tree network or create a similar experience on your own.

The children in your church select an ornament from the tree and go shopping for things the kids in the families in need have asked for at Christmas.

To add a special twist to the event, ask the children if they’d like to concentrate on a certain group—like kids in foster homes, children of inmates (or the inmates themselves), or children with a deployed family member in the military.

10. Cookies for Line Workers

Police and firemen get lots of cookies at Christmas. Why not also bless the people who respond to emergencies of a sort your children may feel intensely? Power outages.

Electric line workers have an extremely dangerous job and are almost always called out in the worst of the winter storms.

They brave the harshest elements to restore heat, light, and the blessed Wi-Fi to homes and churches. And yet few of us think to thank them with baked goods and Christmas thank-yous.

Why not change that this year? Have the kids of the church make cards and sweet goodies for the line workers and then deliver them with a Christmas carol of thanks.

Girl decorating Gingerbread cookies
Image Credit: miodrag ignjatovic/E+/Getty Images

As a healthier alternative to cookies and sugary foods for this or any of the similar activities you see here, consider providing things like packaged bags of dried fruit or nuts.

11. Paint the Teachers’ Lounge

Why is it that professional athletes get millions of dollars thrown at them, even when they behave badly, and the men and women who invest their lives into our children get pennies?

We can’t change our society’s priorities, but we can certainly bless our local teachers.

Arrange to get your children and adults inside the school with paint cans and brushes—not to mention Christmas decorations, fun pillows, and inspirational posters—and completely renovate the teachers’ lounge for a local struggling school.

Imagine the wind you can put back into the sails of these teachers when they find out that kids and families in their area are supporting them enough to give their time and money to brighten their days in the classroom.

If December is just too busy for a project such as this, consider decorating a beautiful card for the school and including a voucher for one free lounge-painting day, to be redeemed anytime between January 2 and March 31.

You can do something similar for several of the ideas in this list.

12. Shovel Driveways

This is an oldie but a goodie. One thing about snow: it doesn’t shovel itself.

Bundle up the kids, hand out snow shovels, and descend on the sidewalks and driveways of the elderly, shut-ins, and other members of the church or community.

Encourage a glad, happy atmosphere as they work, letting them know that this is how they can give a Christmas present not only to the people inside the homes but to Jesus himself.

Read Matthew 25:34–40 and show the kids that whenever we do a kindness to someone in need, we do it to the Lord.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Matthew 25:34–40, NLT

If the kids have ever wondered how they can give something back to baby Jesus, now they’ll know.

13. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Furry friends, kids, and Christmastime just go together somehow. Work with your local Humane Society or animal hospital to get a list of projects your kids can do in a single workday.

Little girl is playing with her dog in the snowy forest
Image Credit: praetorianphoto/E+/Getty Images

Maybe the dogs need to be walked and the cats played with. Maybe the shelter needs its sidewalks de-iced or its front lobby decorated with Christmas cheer.

And who knows, maybe a kid or two will fall in love with a puppy or kitten in the process and give an animal a forever home.

14. Help at the Laundromat

Laundromats can be dirty and cold, and they are places that people would probably rather not be at Christmastime.

Why not bless a whole coin-op laundry center full of people by having the kids (with their adults) hand out free detergent and stacks of quarters for the machines?

Consider doing so every hour for a Saturday, interspersing Christmas carols and handing out invitations to your Christmas Eve service while you’re at it.

15. Cheer for Special Olympians

Take the whole children’s department to a local Special Olympics event and cheer wildly for every athlete who competes.

Make posters and bring air horns and be those crazy fans that these brave Olympians may have only rarely.

16. Feed the Families at a Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald houses are oases of comfort and peace for the children and families who stay there.

Children are at one of these houses only because of a serious medical condition in their family, and they’d much rather be at home instead.

Mobilize the kids at your church to plan, shop for, prepare, cook, deliver, and serve an amazing meal for the children and families at your local RM house.

Then plan to stay for a while and hear the kids’ stories. Coordinate with the managers to see about bringing video games or well-behaved pets for this visit as well.

17. Bless a Retirement Home

Arrange with a local nursing home or memory-care facility to bring the kids in to delight the residents.

Decorate the lobby and common room or cafeteria with festive Christmas cheer. Make it a spa day for the ladies—doing their nails, hair, and makeup. Prepare and hand out Christmas necklaces or bracelets.

Little granddaughter hugging grandma joyfully
Image Credit: Tang Ming Tung/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Bring the group together and have the children sing Christmas carols and perform a simple skit, acting out the Christmas story (with extra volume so everyone can enjoy!).

18. Make and Deliver No-Sew Blankets

Plan a party for the kids to assemble easy, no-sew fleece blankets. Then arrange a time to deliver them to a homeless shelter, children’s home, or retirement community.

Also look into a charity called Project Linus, which provides blankets in the name of everyone’s favorite blanket-toter.

19. Host a Coat Drive

Have the kids lead the church in asking the congregation to bring coats, warm clothes, boots, winter socks, etc., which you can then take to a local orphanage or charity.

Consider offering these to your whole congregation first, as you may not be aware of those in your midst who are cold and can’t afford to warm their families up.

20. Host a Parents’ Night Out

This project has the kids and adults of your church working together to allow the parents of the community to go Christmas shopping—or just to have some peace and quiet—without the kids.

The children of the church would lead in the activities—teaching games, leading crafts, passing out the popcorn for a movie, monitoring video games, leading caroling, and otherwise bringing the party for the guest kids from the community.

21. Do Operation Christmas Child

A classic activity that the kids of the church are sure to love is to pack one or more Operation Christmas Child boxes.

This is an annual initiative that connects kids in the U.S. and Canada with kids in faraway nations who might not otherwise hear about Jesus. This event gives kids in North America a chance to give while giving others a chance to receive.

Plan an event that brings all the kids of the church together to pack and deliver as many boxes as possible, and then track every shoebox with the “Follow Your Box” option through Samaritan’s Purse (additional $9 charge for tracking).

22. Deliver Treats to Shut-Ins

Coordinate with the church office to identify the shut-ins from the congregation.

Get the kids together for a baking party, and then pile into vehicles to deliver your goodies to people who might not be able to receive such things any other way.

Remember to provide some gluten-free and peanut-free options for people who might need them.

Happy Boy Offering Christmas Cookie
Image Credit: Allen Donikowski/Moment/Getty Images

23. Fundraising Bake Sale

While we’re talking about baking, why not consider leading the kids in a great goodie-making event at the church?

Church members love to give, and sometimes the giving can really be ramped up when they’re not only aiding a wonderful cause (done by kids!) but also getting to enjoy the sweet taste of generosity at the same time.

Have the kids wrap the items in cellophane and add flair by tying ribbons or bows to the baked goods.

24. Give a Goat

Consider asking the kids to bring money each Sunday toward the goal of purchasing one or more goats for families in developing nations.

Several mission organizations such as World Vision, Compassion International, and Back2Back Ministries have gift catalogs that directly connect kids here to kids there. This connection is made through purchases like animals, medicine, and water wells.

Children have limitless compassion for kids just like them in need in other cultures.

Take the opportunity to educate your kids on the plight of children in these other places. Who knows—this might just be the spark God uses to raise up missionaries to His cause!

Here are a few options for you:

25. Join the Efforts of an Amazing Ministry

We’ve already mentioned several ministries by name, and there are hundreds more to choose from.

But it’s quite likely that your church sponsors one or more missionaries around the nation and the world. Why not take the opportunity to introduce your kids to the work they’re doing?

Maybe you could host create a video chat with them to find out how they’re doing and how the kids could bless them this Christmas.

If you desire to bless good ministries beyond your church, you can then do so with the many good endeavors that people have started.

Consider preparing a presentation of organizations that your kids might want to partner with.

Show it on a Sunday morning and then have the kids vote. Then plan how you can join together to help that ministry do its good work this Christmas.

Here are some to consider:

A Blessing of the Christmas Season

Christmas is the one Christian holiday every year that our culture celebrates with tenderness.

It’s as if a bit of the ice melts in a warm yuletide fire, and most people will welcome expressions of goodwill … even in Jesus’ name.

Children are some of the most beautiful givers, and watching them sacrifice a little to bless others will be a tremendous blessing to others.

Lead the kids of your church in one of these suggested projects or something else, and you will keep them grounded in what we actually are celebrating in that little wooden manger.

Before December even begins, consider having the kids tell their families not to give them so many toys this year but to instead give them money to give to others for some of these projects.

Children are some of the most beautiful givers, and watching them sacrifice a little to bless others will be a tremendous blessing to many.

For other awesome ideas for the holiday season, check out these articles:

12 Awesome Bible Games for Kids of All Ages cover

12 Awesome Bible Games for Kids of All Ages

Bible learning is serious business, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Choose from games for toddlers to preteens and help kids know that God loves them.
Free Guide
12 Awesome Bible Games for Kids of All Ages cover

12 Awesome Bible Games for Kids of All Ages

Bible learning is serious business, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Choose from games for toddlers to preteens and help kids know that God loves them.
Free Guide
12 Awesome Bible Games for Kids of All Ages cover

12 Awesome Bible Games for Kids of All Ages

Bible learning is serious business, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Choose from games for toddlers to preteens and help kids know that God loves them.
Free Guide
post article end mark
  Updated on November 26, 2019

About the Author

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

Ministry Spark email logo

Want to spark a stronger ministry? We'll show you how.

Join others who are taking their ministries to the next level with our regular email insights.

Please click “Submit” if you would like to receive our email updates, which may contain information about our products. Your use of this site is subject to our Terms of Use, and we will process your personal data in accordance with our Privacy Policy, which also contains details as to how you may unsubscribe from receiving our email updates.

Want to spark a stronger ministry? We'll show you how. Subscribe to email insights.

Please click “subscribe” if you would like to receive our email updates, which may contain information about our products. We will process your personal data in accordance with our privacy policy, which also contains details as to how you may unsubscribe from receiving our email updates.