What’s all this business about inappropriate wreaths? Well…you’ll have to check out the lesson to find out (hint: it’s very inappropriate).

It includes a fun opening game – Human Christmas Tree.

On a personal note…

Last Friday it snowed in our community. The last time it snowed in the New Orleans area was over 8 years ago. So, for us it was a big deal.

Although it only snowed a few inches, all the schools shut down for the day. Those who live in colder climates than us would have a good laugh at our city basically shutting down for the day because of just a few inches of snow and a ground breaking 32 degrees day.

It was my 3 kids first ever snow day. Pretty cool. I snagged this pic of them when the snow first started to come down:

From left to right: Emma (12), Ethan (16) & Joey (13).

Shorty after this pic was taken, enough snow fell on the ground to make a small snowman. I also found out after the fact that my 13 year old son slid down the roof of our house on a wheel-less skateboard and landed on the ground. Multiple times. Ha ha…gotta love it.

Okay, back to the Inappropriate Wreaths Christmas lesson….

The teaching part is pretty short, so you will have to add some of your own content to make it a complete message.

The main idea of the lesson is…

Jesus is concerned with what’s going on inside you, not how you look or how cool you are.


– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

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Bible: Matthew 23:27

Topic: Jesus is concerned with what’s going on inside you, not how you look or how cool you are.


Note: If you’re tight on time (or budget), an alternative to having a real wreath is to find pictures of some online, insert into PowerPoint or some other presentation software, and show to students.

Get a standard wreath (made of green branches) and place it on a table.

Also, get one that is made of a different material—something interesting, but not too unusual.

For example, one made of ornaments or twigs. Place this “different” wreath out of sight but near the teaching area.

In addition, make one or two “inappropriate wreaths” out of material that really should not be used for a wreath.

For example, make them out of bacon or doll heads or toilet paper rolls.

You can accomplish this by gluing the “inappropriate” material to a cardboard ring.

Place these 2 “inappropriate wreaths” out of sight, but near the teaching area.

Also, make a sign that reads, “IT LOOKS LIKE A WREATH, BUT IT’S NOT RIGHT.”

Place this sign out of sight near the teaching area.

Mark a Bible at Matthew 23:27.


Show the students the standard wreath and ask if anybody knows what it is called.

After getting the answer (wreath), Ask: What is it that makes something a wreath?

(Take responses and then show your “different” wreath.)

Ask: Is this considered a wreath also? (Sure)

Say: According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a wreath is either ‘something intertwined or arranged in a circular shape.’

Or ‘something having a circular or coiling form.’

According to those definitions, these are both ‘wreaths.’

Explain: I would gladly hang either of these wreaths in front of my house, even though they are made of different materials.

However, some materials just shouldn’t be used to make a wreath.

Look at this.

(Pull out one of the “inappropriate wreaths” and enjoy the students’ response.)

OR… How about this?

(Pull out the second “inappropriate wreath.”)

Ask: What’s the problem with these wreaths? I mean, they’re in the right shape, right?

They meet the definition of a wreath that we read earlier.

What’s the problem here?

(Take response, and then show your sign – “IT LOOKS LIKE A WREATH, BUT IT’S NOT RIGHT.”)

Say: On Christmas, we celebrate that God came to Earth 2,000 years ago as a baby named ‘Jesus.’

As Jesus grew up, he explained that He came to save the lost.

And, He desires to CHANGE us on the inside.

See, Jesus is more concerned with what ‘we are made of’ than how we look.

Listen to what Jesus said to some of the religious leaders when he was around 30 years old.

Read Matthew 23:27:

“How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You are like tombs that are painted white. Outside, those tombs look fine, but inside, they are full of the bones of dead people and all kinds of unclean things.’

Say: The same problem that Jesus saw with the religious leaders then, is the same problem that these wreaths have.

They are made of the wrong stuff.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to walk around DOING the right thing, but Jesus says, ‘No. It’s not enough to look right. You’ve got to be made right from the very core of who you are.’

(Hold up sign.)

I really hope Jesus doesn’t look at me and say, ‘IT LOOKS LIKE A CHRISTIAN, BUT IT’S NOT RIGHT.’

(Challenge students to look at themselves a little more deeply this Christmas.)

It’s not enough to DO the right things at Christmas time—come to Church, sing Christmas songs, etc.

What Jesus is really concerned with is what’s happening inside us.

What really matters is what we are made of.

This Christmastime when you see a wreath, think about what the wreath is made of.

And remember that when Jesus looks at you, he’s thinking about the same thing.


End Lesson.

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Youth Group Lesson: Celebrating Jesus’ Birth


  1. Ana S
    • December 9, 2017

    Thank you NIck. You have a lovely family. What a blessing that God helps other youth ministers from congregations that are just starting and can’t afford much, to be able to bless our youth at our small house church thanks to your creative lessons and games. They are great. It makes my hairs stick up on its end with some of the lessons I was finding online . Stay true to the word of God and the message of Jesus with your kids and the lessons.
    May The Lord continue to BLESS your ministry and you as you contine.
    Ana S.

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Becky Forkel
      • December 9, 2017

      Thank you Ana! We really appreciate you taking the time to send us such a heartfelt message.

  2. Michael Bartlett
    • December 12, 2017

    Great and too the point…I pastor the youth and adults so I may use it with both. Applies to all…..

    Thanks for being creative and grounded!


    Reply 1 Response
    1. Becky Forkel
      • December 16, 2017

      Thank you Michael! We’re glad that you can use the lesson.

      Have a Merry Christmas!

  3. Jerry Janson
    • December 3, 2023

    Do you have any Small Group Discussion Questions for “Inappropriate Wreaths?”

    Thanks for your service!



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