Outdoor Hanging of the Greens

posted on November 01

by Rev. Susan Ewing

Of all the Advent preparations, one of my favorites is the Service of the Hanging of the Greens. Almost instantly, the sanctuary is a beautiful transformation of red ribbons, wreaths, chrismons, greenery, and all the best Advent finery. How does it look this year with many churches continuing outdoor worship? Maybe the year 2020 lends itself to an outdoor Hanging of the Greens service as well as a way for families and children to participate, even while socially distanced in lawn chairs or inside their cars.

The following are some of my thoughts on how a congregation could create an outdoor Hanging of the Greens Service. Most all the craft items can be found at Oriental Trading (Advent, Christmas, Nativity sub tabs or search bar). Ideally, items would be assembled into a bag or box to be distributed to families as they arrived.

For families with children, a bag would include an Advent wheel or chain, a foam sticker “God of Hope” tree craft, a car magnet, and nativity window clings.

For adults without children or with older children, a bag would include a daily Advent calendar, a tree ornament, a car magnet, and a stained glass nativity window cling.

Outdoor Advent Wreath: The meaning of the wreath could be shared in the service while families with children open their Advent wheel or chains and adults open their Advent calendar. All families would be encouraged to use their items in the car (to and from work or school or day care) or around the table at mealtimes as a means to countdown and prepare for Christmas.

Outdoor Chrismon Tree: While the chrismons are hung on an outdoor tree, families could easily manage the foam tree sticker “God of Hope” craft or hang any tree ornament on the rearview mirror.

Garland around the front doors: Church doors serve as a means of welcome and hospitality to all who enter. Car magnets offer an invitation to anyone to a Christmas Eve or other special service. Oriental Trading has these available to customize with a brief invitation and date/time. Folks can place their magnets prominently on their cars.

Outdoor Nativity: As the figures of the nativity are placed in the church yard, children and adults can follow along by placing pieces of their nativity onto the car windows.