Christmas Day Service in Jammies? PeaceBang, Help!

Here’s a fun one for you, pigeons! I hope it’s timely enough to help anyone else who was wondering the same thing:

Merry Christmas and joyous holidays, Rev. PeaceBang!

I have created a pickle for myself and have a quick question if you get to
it. For our Sunday morning Christmas Day service, the worship team and I
made the choice to invite people to come as they are– pjs and all if need
be– so that families and kids could be encouraged to celebrate Christmas day in church but not have to stop everything to primp first. Cute. Fine.

Until someone asked about my pjs. I’d not intended to participate, because I am there as a professional and bearer of the Word (even if the Word will be borne by hymn-sing), but the person indicated that as one of the young
families in question (I have 2 kids), I should play along and not consider myself above casual. I don’t consider myself above casual, but think the office of pastor is. [PERFECTLY said, B! – PB ] Anyway, I’m usually a slacks (beneath my alb) kind ofgirl anyway, so dressing down isn’t a wide range! Is there something I could wear to communicate relaxed but not disrespect you know, the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord? Or shall I just tell my congregant that her
pjs are perfectly fine, but my choice to wear more professional attire is my way of celebrating Christ’s birth in this context and leave it at that?
Blessings, peace, and long relaxing bubble baths or whatever to you,

So then I said,

Ah, a truly new question! Love it!

Here’s what I would do. Get a long, generously cut white bathrobe that belts at the waist. Wear it, with a long white scarf fitted at the head like a shepherd. Voila! Funny AND pastoral. Literally pastoral. You can add a simple stole if you like. Then you’re in the spirit of the thing, and what you do is start the servicelike that, and take off the shepherd headdress after the first part of the service. Your people will appreciate your spirit of fun and you aren’t there in red pj’s or whatever.Never, ever, ever wear your own private sleeping garments in public to preside. It’s a psychic border violation between your home sanctuary and the church sanctuary.

Dork! But having fun with it. I wore this to help narrate our Christmas pageant last year. It is only out of my deep love for you that I put this hiddy photo of myself out to the public view.

And then our friend wrote,

Thanks, Vicki, and yes you may post this. I especially appreciate your
last line– yes, that blurring between the personally sacred and the
publicly sacred was exactly what was bugging me!


23 Replies to “Christmas Day Service in Jammies? PeaceBang, Help!”

  1. I would wear a nice, comfy sweater with slacks (and wear my alb, etc when presiding). Nothing too formal. This is a place where others in your congregation can take leadership in setting the tone.

    This is based on my tradition and my own comfort level – but it sounds like you have good instincts. Follow those!

  2. You have invited others to come in their pj’s….but whether they actually WILL is another story. You could bring the robe with you… and wait and see what others do. Parents may allow their children to wear jammies, but I would guess that most of them will put on real clothes. I like the idea of the robe over casual professional clothes, a nod toward the special intimate family atmosphere, but still with some professionalism. By all means, let your kids participate in the PJ tradition.

  3. I would also say that having kids is a great out–if you dress your kids in their PJs, then you are able to convey that you are on board and up for fun! I cannot imagine that most adults would come in their PJs only because most will primp and shower (at least a bit,weh hope!) and it feels foolish to put on your PJs again after a shower just to show that you are casual!

  4. Peacebang, there is a strange glint in your eye in the shepherd get up! Were you thinking of leading your sheep? What a hoot!

  5. If it were me, I’d probably come in workout-type clothes…yoga pants (not too tight), and a nice top…casual yet not sleepwear…

  6. PB, dollink, I gotta disagree that the photo of you is hiddy. You have such a gleam of fun in your eyes, and the headdress IS kinda cute. The poils just do so much for you…;-)

  7. We’re doing a “Come as you are” Christmas day service too, encouraging PJs or sweats or whatever you wear on Christmas morning. It’s the second time I’ve done this (the first 7 years ago, last time Christmas was a Sunday), and I never even considered dressing down. I wore my normal Sunday best, and robed, and plan to do the same this year. I did not feel the least bit awkward. This time, I have a four-year-old, and he will lead the way with his Santa in a Rocket Ship pajamas. Last time, we had lots of teens and kids in PJs, and lots of adults in sweats or jeans–it had a good, Christmas morning, casual, homey feel.

  8. I’ve actually had this situation! When I was an associate we did a pj-welcome service. Well, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. My senior pastor and I didn’t consult, but we both wore bathrobes – very nice ones, over regular clergy clothes. Never would i wear my own pjs to church. Most adults didn’t either.

  9. I think if it were me, I would wear slacks and a cozy comfy sweater, like a belted cardigan or one of those delightful shawl collar/crescent hem ones they’re making now (SO flattering!). I’d add my regular daytime makeup and some fun jewelry and flat shoes and call it done.

  10. How ironic that clergy in essence have to cajole their “flock” into putting down the prezzies long enough to come to church for all that tedious birth-of-the-savior stuff.

    “You don’t have to dress up! It’ll be casual!”

    [No one is cajoling anybody. You don’t get it. These pastors are having fun with a happy day, recognizing that it’s a magical time for children and a tiring time for the adults who are making the magic. We love being together as a community — that’s what Christians (and UUs) DO. The pajama service is a way of gathering in warmth and affection in the spirit of “Come As You Are.” – PB]

  11. you are so clever Peacebang- I love the bathrobe shepherd outfit and it’s perfect however the adults and children in the congregation arrive

  12. I’d love to come to church on Christmas day, but the trouble with getting the kids dressed and out the door (even when I allow them to dress however they please) is part of what has kept me away previous years. I think its great to make it comfortable and laid back.

  13. Great idea! I assumed that our Christmas Day service would be mostly for the Lonely Hearts crowd that doesn’t have a place to go, or people to be with. Suits me FINE, if that is who comes, but it would be fun to see if this would entice some families.

    BTW, I actually did come to church once with my bathrobe. (Gasp!) We were trying to move the early service to 8:45 and there was serious balking that it was too early, I can’t get up that early, etc. I got up in the pulpit with my bathrobe over my dress, and when the crowd reacted, I looked down and said – oh, sorry. Wrong robe! And switched to my preaching robe. Folks may either tell me such shtick is a hoot or an abomination unto the Lord. Your choice!

  14. Rev. Gidget, you make me laugh! As you know from earlier this week, I think it’s great when preachers have a little fun —

  15. Since I usually wear a geneva gown I find that it takes less time to dress for a normal Sunday than for a “casual” day.

    Regular Sunday it’s a remote control no stress sort of thing

    Slacks ..check
    oxford shirt…check
    tie…. check (yep I am a guy)
    shoes and socks… check

    add the geneva and a stole and let’s worship…

    Last summer I was a guest preacher where the pastor never wears a robe or a coat and tie. I was expected to dress the same way. I spent more time thinking about what to wear for that Sunday than in a month of normal Sundays.

  16. Where I attend services a “come as you are” service that included adults would be altogether too much information and could prove to be quite frightening for all of us (the good Lord from whom no secrets are hid notwithstanding). For children younger than 12 it might be OK.

  17. I choose to bill our Christmas Day worship as “informal” rather than “come as you are” to avoid the B’s dilema. Lots of good advice here and I’ll file it away for the next time Christmas is on Sunday. Thanks!

  18. We have a 4:00 p.m. Pajama Mass on Christmas Eve. It’s a service dedicated to and directed by children from the congregation and from the community. We have a very cool combination of the very elderly, who don’t like to be out late, and the very young.

    It’s very much theatre of the absurd, but in a very fun way. Most everyone who attends wears their pajamas, myself included. However, they are heavy flannel pajamas with the appropriate foundation garments. Usually I wear a bathrobe as well, but not always.

    The other services I do Christmas Eve are very, very traditional, and I dress appropriate for that one. But the focus of the 4:00 p.m. service is for the children. Most all the activity takes place in front of the creche (which is the back of our altar flipped around) and the children take the lead with some gentle guidance from me.

    It’s a lot of fun, it’s very casual and we get more calls each year to see if we’re going to do it. The size has grown each year to where we are looking at 50+ participants this year, more than half of which will be children.

    Have fun!

  19. The highlight of my Christmas morning was a two and a half year old in green footie jammies with penguins and candy canes on them, crowing “Alleluia!” at random moments from the back pew.

    The organist has already decided that we should continue to do Christmas morning Lessons & Carols even when Christmas isn’t a Sunday, so perhaps we shall also institute the tradition of the Pajama Service!

    I will wear alb, stole, and chasuble as per usual, however. My four-year-old can wear the jammies.

  20. We had a Christmas in PJ’s this year. Not only did the children show up in PJ’s, but also many of the adults. The pastor bought me footie pajamas that matched hers, and I even wore foam rollers in my hair. Everyone had fun, and it was casual. No one wore anything inappropriate, nor did anyone think less of the pastor, musicians, or anyone else for their attire. The adults probably had more fun with the pajama idea than the kids did!

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