Imagine opening your door to find a gaggle of your favorite YouTubers singing “Silent Night” on your stoop. That’s exactly what happens in this collaboration video, organized by the Mormon Church in celebration of Christmas.
Last year several Mormon and religious YouTubers banded together to perform the world’s largest nativity scene with 1,039 people. Posted on the Piano Guys’ channel and loosely associated with the Mormon Church’s #sharethegift campaign, the video garnered more than 10 million views.
“It was such a great experience for me and my family,” said Peter Hollens, who was involved in the nativity last year. “I was so thrilled to help them come up with this year's caroling idea.”
For 2015, the church decided to keep the Mormon momentum going even longer, teaming up with social media celebrities for a 12 Days of Christmas promotion as part of the #ASaviorIsBorn campaign. Each day a different celebrity posted a special Christmas video that also directed their fans to #ASaviorIsBorn, the church’s own holiday video, which has racked up 2.3 million views since the end of November. The series culminated with the caroling clip, posted on theShaytards’ channel to their 3.9 million subscribers, and featuring YouTubers like Hollens, Alex Boye, Tiffany Alvord, and the Gardiner Sisters.
“The whole point of the holiday season to me is coming together,” Hollens explained. “That's what I took back from doing the last video… The goal is to share light, not darkness. This time of year, there’s a lot of light needed.”
The majority of the Mormon YouTubers involved were musical acts, but prankster Stuart Edge also got in on the campaign with a heartwarming video where he surprises a family friend with Christmas decorations and the money to buy a memorial marker for her husband’s grave.
“When the church asked me to be part of [this] campaign, her family immediately came to mind,” said Edge, who’d previously bought the grieving family a new bed for their home. “It was a personal video to make. It was hard to put something out there so personal and share it with the world.”
With young people more and more engaged with YouTube celebrities, faith organizations are reaching out over social media to pass on their message through the voices of religious celebrities and help make the church feel more connected with popular culture.
“I think there’s a huge trend of people getting disenchanted with certain religions,” said Hollens. “If I was the Catholic Church, I think it’s obvious why they put in a very liberal minded Pope. They need that, because they're losing their younger demographic.”
Plus, getting a religious stamp of approval can benefit the creators as well. For Hollens, his Christmas video has been the fastest-viewed video by his audience of all time, jumping over a million in less than a week.
“I’m just honored to be a part of it,” he said.