Christmas parades are a staple of the holiday season, an opportunity for communities as small as a single class at school and as large as a city to come together and celebrate the holiday. To create a Christmas float for a parade, one of the most obvious designs is a Nativity scene, but there are multiple options.
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Christmas Nativity Float
Among the most important Christmas float ideas for a church is, of course, a float that represents the reason for the season: the birth of Jesus Christ. Depending on the size of the parade, your church parade may decide to have multiple Nativity floats, each representing a slightly different take on the manger scene.
As you're coming up with Nativity parade float ideas, remember that you'll have an audience on both sides of the float. If you decide to construct a stable on your float, make sure that the back of the stable faces the back of the parade so that audience members can see the Holy Family as the parade advances.
Build or purchase a container that can serve as the manger, cover the float in hay bales, and have passengers dress up as various Nativity figures. At a minimum, you'll need a Mary and a Joseph, as well as a pretend baby. You can also include passengers dressed up as wise men, angels or shepherds.
Other Bible-Inspired Floats
Not every float in your church parade has to represent a specific scene from the Bible. As an alternative, consider floats adorned with Bible verses, whether that means the actual words or just a reference to a Christmas-specific Bible verse such as Isaiah 9:6 or Luke 2:10.
If you plan to go this route, write the words big enough for everyone to read them clearly, and use Christmas color schemes for the paper and lettering. To add extra Christmas flair, decorate around the sides of the float with Christmas lights and fake snow. You can add glitter to the fake snow for extra sparkle.
For a beautiful, simple float that walking parade participants can easily follow, try a float that represents the Star of Bethlehem. Cover the float and all its props in black paper, then mount a large star at the head of the float. You can make a star out of various materials like cardboard or plywood, or you can buy one ready-made. Be sure to make the star as sparkly as possible, with spray paint if necessary, and wrap it in Christmas lights to make it shine.
Christmas Parade Walking Ideas
Some church members want to participate in the parade but aren't able to commit to building a float. By simply handing out electric candles to those walking in a Christmas parade, you'll create a beautiful and memorable sea of light. Real candles are gorgeous but can create a fire hazard and may get blown out as the parade progresses.
If you have a Star of Bethlehem float, parade pedestrians can follow that float just as the shepherds followed the star in the Bible. They can wear street clothes and carry candles; or, if they're feeling more adventurous, they can dress up as shepherds to echo the story of Christmas. This is among the most meaningful church parade ideas.
A church choir or marching band makes a beautiful and moving addition to a Christmas parade. If you do not have a choir, parade pedestrians can still sing familiar Christmas carols, along with the audience.