January is here! You’ve made it through Advent, Christmas Eve, and Christmas services, not to mention New Year’s festivities that follow right on the heels of a busy Church season. For those who serve the Catholic Church, Christmastime is exhausting, and it’s tempting to package up the joy that comes with Christ’s birth along with the wreathes, garlands, and nativities that adorned your church building.
But whether you welcome January with post-holiday weariness or a fresh zeal for the new year, don’t forget those who have come alongside you at your parish. Bring the joy of Christmas into the New Year by continuing to appreciate those who serve with you. Here are a few ideas for keeping the joy alive into the New Year:
Recognize Good Works, and Say Thanks
Many at your parish have put in extra work this season. Helping hands shoveled snow and salted walkways for special services. Somebody decked the parish halls. Sometimes patient, sometimes frazzled folks corralled children dressed as shepherds, sheep, and angels for the parish pageant. The church secretary’s tireless fingers entered extra contributions. The accountant put in longer hours to process end-of-year. Priests and celebrants served at extra holiday services.
All of these folks could use a heart-felt thank-you. Whether you show appreciation best by whipping up a batch of homemade fudge to portion out, hosting a casual get together or outing, or composing hand-written thank-you cards, don’t forget those who’ve served at your side.
Share the Stories of Christmas Generosity and Festivities
So much work goes into Christmas pageants, Advent giving initiatives, and even church decorations that it’s a shame to forget about these good things as soon as they pass. Rekindle good memories even in January.
Post photos of the parish pageant on social media and the church website and comment on a job well done. Follow up with those who benefitted from your parish’s Advent/Christmas generosity initiatives and report back to staff and parishioners. As you package up Christmas decorations, keep the Christmas spirit alive with plates of Christmas cookies or even some holiday music playing in the background.
Throw a Re-Gifting White Elephant Party
Enjoy a good laugh at some of the gifts that missed the mark by arranging a white elephant post-Christmas party for parish staff. Use the same rules of a white elephant exchange, but require that everyone’s gift be a re-gift.
Focus on New Year’s Resolutions
Ask your staff to share New Year’s resolutions, but try to keep them positive and attainable. For instance, resolve to take a walk once a week with a family member, catch up with a distanced friend at least once a month, or read a Psalm each morning. Encourage staff to share these resolutions, if they’d like, as you look forward to a great year of working together.
As you share and encourage each other, consider forming a resolution as a group—make it a goal to do something that will benefit your parish and the Catholic Church and further your mission. Is it time to take a second look at how an online giving platform can serve parishioners? Are you to invest in an integrated church management solution that works across departments to give you up-to-date records and secure access to your data anytime, anywhere? Or maybe you’ll resolve to use the tools you already have just a bit better, keeping data clean and instilling best practices.
Know that whatever your goals are for the new year, at ParishSOFT we are always praying for your mission and ministry and just an email or phone call away when you need us!
What are you doing at your parish to carry the joy of Christmas into the new year? Let us know!