Melanie Crane oversees the young people at Real Life Church, Sutton Coldfield, and what it means for the church to be “good to our community”. In this blog article, she shares about their ‘Messy Christmas’ initiative, and how adapting it for a Coronavirus Christmas brought different challenges and amazing opportunities!


As a local church we are 10 years old at the end of January and it’s so exciting to look back at all that Jesus has done with us! Every year on the first weekend in December we usually host Messy Christmas. The idea is to make Christmas craft with kids (under 10 years old) and their families on 10 tables spread out in a hall. We also eat mountains of mince pies, chocolate logs and fresh fruit! 

Messy Christmas on a normal year!

But, not this year…right? Wrong! We put our heads together to adapt Messy Christmas to work within the current government guidelines, making sure that we stay home and stay safe. So, instead, Messy Christmas AT HOME happened on Saturday 5 December and Sunday 6 December. 


As a team we recorded videos online for all 10 crafts, and prepared craft bags for every kid locally to be collected from a safe location the weekend before. We released 300 tickets through Eventbrite and they were gone within a few hours. We then released tickets for a Bagless Messy Christmas – making all the crafts with things you find in your home so that families could host their very own Messy Christmases – this went out to other churches and schools.


Our theme for Christmas was ‘Love Came Down’, and as you can imagine there were lots of craft with hearts and love and glue and glitter! For our Messy events we always have a together story and craft, so invited people to join us online on either the Saturday or the Sunday. We told the Christmas Story using paper finger puppets that you make along at home while you listen. It was brilliant and hundreds of kids joined us over the weekend. A few local primary schools even used the story and finger puppets afterwards too, so the message that ‘Love Came Down’ went out so wide!

Two young people joining in from home

The team worked really hard to adapt the event with all that’s happening in our world; not wanting to simply cancel everything, but instead looking at ways to take what is usually contained in a hall and get it out into as many homes as possible. From the beginnings of just 18 kids in a small community hall to reaching hundreds of kids and families all across our area, it was so amazing to be able to bring the good news of the Christmas story to our community.


Written by Melanie Crane

By Catalyst

Catalyst is a movement of churches raising world-changers in the UK and around the world