Christmas Production: Setting the Stage for Christmas

Chances are you’ll be the only one to notice slight changes that are made to the set, and the audience will still end up being amazed.

Christmas Production: Setting the Stage for Christmas
A set design at Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, California, is shown in preparation for the upcoming Christmas season.

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Christmas Production: Setting the Stage for Christmas

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At the same time, it doesn’t have to over the top. Simple, green, pre-lit Christmas trees look great and can completely transform a stage (and then adding fake plastic movie snow can take it up another notch!) Bottom line: don’t overdo it. Make sure the design fits the church and the vision of the church’s leadership.

2. What is your budget?

This is one of the most difficult things to talk about, because budgets can vary, depending on church size and what they are seeking to achieve. My advice: don’t let the budget ruin the design. Don’t leave a planning meeting deflated, because what you thought you had to spend was just cut in half.

Decide on a couple components (or one) that are worth spending money on, and then find creative ways to do the rest for less.

If you have multiple campuses, then look to purchase materials in bulk and gather a large group of volunteers for work days.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask vendors for discounts, or to take an idea and then use inexpensive materials to do something similar (the internet is full of creative ideas on how to do this).

Also, you will have to come up with a new design for January, so get creative. I once revealed a new set at the first of the year by simply eliminating all of the Christmas elements (trees, snow and lights). This allowed my Christmas budget to be larger since I wasn’t adding anything new to the set design in January, just reimplementing certain elements from the prior set design.

3. Do I have time to do everything?

Other than budget, this is what causes the most problems for designers. You can draft the most amazing idea, and get approval for a large budget for Christmas, but if you don’t have help to complete all of the needed components, it means you’ll be working overtime to pull it together. One thing I’ve learned over the years, nothing is worth wearing myself down for. I still need be sharp for each of the Christmas services right around the corner.

One year, a friend of mine designed an intricate paper ring backdrop for his Christmas services, which was perfect for their space. He quickly recognized that there was no way he could complete the project all on his own. From there, the entire church was called upon to lend a hand. Very specific directions were sent out to each of the church’s small groups (complete with pictures). Within two weeks, they had completed more than what was originally needed.

More About Alex Fuller
Alex Fuller has over 15 years of corporate, church, and live event experience. He spent four years at Saddleback Church before moving his family to northern California this spring. He currently serves Bethel Church and Bethel Music (Redding, California) as the lighting and scenic designer. His passion is to use the technical arts as an extension of worship.
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Worship Facilities Magazine, January-February 2018
The January-February 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about the many steps a church had to take in the aftermath of a fire, and another involving a church making the jump to 4K.

Article Topics

Visual Arts · Stage Design · Team Management · Leadership · Team Development · Volunteers · Christmas Production · Church · IMAG · Leadership · Stage · Traditional · All Topics

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