Tips for Using Outdoor Christmas Decorations for Commercial Use

As a child, do you remember driving around neighborhood after neighborhood, face pressed against the cool glass of the car window, your breath creating fleeting steam patterns around your nose? If you never did it, you're missing out. Don't let another child miss out on the magic of the Christmas season, and put your decorations to use for a good cause - your church programming.

Using decorative displays for commercial use or fundraising can be a little tricky if not approached correctly. First of all, resist the urge to charge too much, or opt for a "suggested donation" instead. Families of all walks of life should be able to share in the joy of the Christmas season as well as the community of your church. Embrace those who cannot pay and be thankful for those who can give, or even give more than what's expected. Show the grace and compassion that the Holy Child was born share.

Secondly, opt for charging (or asking for a donation, of course) per carload rather than per person. Light-peeping, like autumn's leaf-peeping, is something that is generally done in families or in groups. It's an activity that literally requires you to slow down and have a look around. Whether you choose a setup that people can simply drive through, or have a walking exhibit with paths through the woods, the ability to do a fun, safe group activity that encourages getting away from technology screens is a fading pastime.

Thirdly, as mentioned above, choose what kind of setup you'd like to prepare. If you have a stretch of property or large enough churchyard, get people out walking! Create paths that guide your guests to a nativity scene the way visitors came to see the Blessed Virgin and Emmanuel. Have a little fun with it, too. If you are so moved, create other areas that bring together winter animals, toy soldiers and even Santa Claus. Pay reverence to the reason for the season, but remember that not all your visitors may know your Redeemer the way you do. Show them it is possible to enjoy the silly parts of Christmastime while sharing in God's light at the same time.