Advent and Christmas 2020

First published 26th November 2020

Christmas is going to feel very different in 2020, but there is still lots of comfort and joy to be found, from Advent windows to outdoor carols, virtual services and celebratory films.

We will be gathering a selection of events and services here - due to these uncertain times, for in-person services and events, please check the details with the church before attending.

Quick links 

Outdoor events
Christmas church services
Online services
Other events
The Church of England Comfort and Joy resources

Outdoor events 

Carols by Window-Light, Bristol
Throughout December 

Carols by Window-Light is aiming to spread some of the joy of Christmas carols through the windows of homes in our communities in Bristol this December. Visit the Carols by Window-light Facebook page to find out more about decorating your windows in the theme of your favourite Christmas carol, for inspiration and for playlists of Carols.

We would love to see any of your creations - please do share your photos with the Diocese on social media using the hashtag #carolsbywindowlight

CARols are back on track! Castle Combe 
Sunday 20 December 4pm (gates open at 3pm)Illustration of drive in carols

The Bybrook Churches and Chapels are excited to announce that in association with Castle Combe Race Circuit, they are running a Drive In Carol Service in 2020. Find out all the information here and register your interest by emailing

Please note the event is subject to current Covid restrictions and all attendees are required to come in cars. 

Advent Trail, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol
Throughout December

During Advent 2020 there are 24 stars decorated by children from local primary schools and community groups displayed around the shops, business, schools, churches and community areas of Westbury-on-Trym.

Each star on the map has a section of the Christmas Story – follow the stars to follow the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Visit the Holy Trinity website to find out more.

Drive in Carols, Yate Parish Promotional image for Yate Carols

The churches, council, and shopping centre in Yate have worked together to create two special Christmas drive-in Carol Services being held at the riverside car park in Yate Shopping Centre.

Everyone will be able to park up in front of a screen, to sing along to well-known Christmas carols and readings in the safety and comfort of their own car. Donations will go towards St Peter's Hospice. Tickets essential:

Outdoor Services, St James, Iron Acton 

Outdoor Christingle Service on Sunday 13 December at 4pm, and an Outdoor Crib Service on Christmas Eve at 4pm. Please remember to wear a face covering and keep socially distanced in your family Christmas bubbles.

Family Nativity Trail, St Mary Redcliffe Churchyard, Bristol
Wednesday 23 December

Visit the website to find out more about the trail and other festive offerings, also including music from the Salvation Army Band in the churchyard on Tuesday 22 December. Ticketed events.

Eco Stable, Christ Church SwindonImage of the Eco Stable

This eco-stable, made with wood from discarded fencing panels and local rubbish sites, can be found in the church yard at the front of Christ Church Swindon. All are welcome to call by anytime and are invited to bring a recyclable symbol which expresses their longing this Christmas without using words. Families may like to dress up as Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, the Kings, or the animals to have a photograph in the stable and people are invited to sit on the straw bales inside the stable for some quiet reflection. The stable will be lit up after 4.30pm.

You can also combine your visit by calling in to Christ Church for personal prayer from 9am-5pm. A face covering must be worn for visiting the inside of the church.

Drive-in Carols and Christmas Float, Stoke Gifford

St Michael's Church in Stoke Gifford is running a drive-in carol service on 20 December in the Sainsbury’s car park in East Filton - spaces are filling up fast. They are also sharing comfort and joy through the area with their Christmas float. Visit their website for more information on both events. 

Christmas Trail, Downend
21 December - 24 December 

Join Christ Church's Christmas Trail to search the High Street shop windows, find the Nativity characters, scan the QR code and watch videos of the Christmas story. Visit their website for more information and to download a map.


Christmas church services

Please note that Covid-19 restrictions will apply and services are subject to change - please contact the church you are planning on attending for further information. 

Bristol Cathedral

Please visit this link to register your attendance at one of the Cathedral's Christmas services:

St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol 

St Mary Redcliffe are planning on offering these services in church this Christmas. Please note that space will be extremely limited, so all services in the church and churchyard will be ticketed, with a small number of seats available for people who come on the day, on a first come first served basis. 

St Anne's Church, Oldland

St Anne's Church in Oldland are running Christmas services - please book in advance - and also a Christingle service on Christmas Eve which will be in a different format this year - visit their website to find out more. 

Christ Church Clifton, Bristol 

Christ Church Clifton are offering a number of ticketed services, many of which will also be live streamed for everyone on their YouTube channel

Fromeside Churches

Services will be taking place across the churches this Christmas - find out more details of dates and locations here. Please note that for the Music and Reflections for Christmas service, seats must be pre-booked. 

St Nicholas Church, Bristol 

St Nick's Carols on Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 December at 5pm and 7pm - tickets essential: save your seat here: or join live online (Sat 7pm & Sun 5pm).

Christ Church Downend 

Christ Church are running a range of Christmas services - please note that booking is essential - find out more here.


Online Services

Church of England Online Services Comfort and Joy Logo

The Church of England will be partnering with a range of national charities and individuals for online services throughout Advent and Christmas. You can find a list of all of the dates here

These services will all be broadcast on the Church's YouTube channel and Facebook page and will also be available on the Weekly online services page.

Carols for Bristol

With COVID-19 restrictions meaning that many people who would normally attend carol services in churches across Bristol won’t be able to do so this year, a group of church leaders and volunteers across the city have brought together a diverse range of voices in this virtual service, which will be first shown on YouTube at 7pm on Friday 11 December, and then available there afterwards. You can join the Facebook event page here.

The Joy of the Angels: an accessible online advent service

An accessible advent service created by Deaf and disabled people and their families, friends and carers from around the Diocese of Bristol is available to watch on YouTube.

Light in the Darkness

St Paul's Church in Southville put together a special video service with carols, readings and a message of 'Light in the Darkness' which premiered on Sunday 13th December. You can watch it again here.

St Michael's Church, Stoke Gifford - online services 

St Michael's Church in Stoke Gifford have three different online services for 2020 - find out more details on their website.

Carols in the Barn from Fromeside Churches
20 December from 3pm, online

Join in online with your mulled wine and mince pies! Visit


Other events

Treefest - online 
12 December - 2 January 2021 

View the gallery of entries here

Treefest is a spectacular festive display of Christmas trees normally held within St Mary Redcliffe. This year due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic Treefest has gone online, displaying the trees in a virtual exhibition on the St Mary Redcliffe Treefest website. The charities being supported this year are Treeaid and St Mary Redcliffe Community projects.

The Way to the Manger, Bristol Cathedral

This Christmas, experience the journey to the manger with an exciting, immersive journey around a darkened Cathedral. Availability is limited - find out more


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