Using Voting Brackets
You're probably familiar with March Madness brackets, but did you know that you can create your own bracket for anything?
For years, I've been doing a Christmas Song Bracket with youth, the week before Christmas. This year, I've moved that bracket entirely online and so I thought I'd share it as a fun resource on Banner Blue. You can also come up with lots of ways to use a voting bracket beyond Christmas Songs. For example, you could have people vote on there favorite hymn in general, or favorite Bible story, or Bible character, or Bible verse, etc.
Creating the bracket
For my bracket I am utilizing a free resource called polltab. I'm using it's bracket poll creator. The site allows you to create a free voting bracket with up to 32 things to vote on. The number of things you include in the bracket determines the number of voting rounds you'll have.
For my Christmas Song Bracket, I'm using 32 songs which means I have five rounds of voting. The site allows you to pick a specific date and time for when each round of voting closes. For my sample bracket, I'm having it close at 12pm on December 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, 2020. That means the final song will be selected on Christmas Eve.
The place on the site where I enter the songs is labeled as "Participant." 32 is the maximum number of songs, or "participants," allowed. Please note, by "participants" it does not mean the people who will be using your bracket. You are able to have more than 32 people vote.
The site allows you to determine the security setting of "Cookie" or "IP Specific." Choosing "Cookie" means that people will be able to make one vote per round per web browser. In other words, each device you have will be able to make at least one vote. Choosing "IP Specific" means that you will be able to make one vote per round per IP Address. In other words, each household will be able to make only one vote from home. I prefer using "Cookie" so that everyone in a family can potentially vote.
Once you like the way everything looks, click or tap on "Create Bracket Poll!" Your bracket will be live and your shareable link to the bracket will appear as your web address. YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO MAKE CHANGES ONCE YOU CREATE YOUR POLL.
In addition to the shareable link, you can use the icons on the bottom to share your bracket on Facebook, Twitter, or to embed it on your website.
I've given you a list of the songs I like to use for my bracket. It's a strong collection of classics from the church world and secular world. Feel free to use your preferred songs!
Be sure to include instructions on how to vote for your people. The youth I've done this with have always, on their own, decided to vote based upon what they felt was the true meaning of Christmas. We sometimes call our winner the most Christmasy of all Christmas songs.
In this bracket from Christmas 2020, O Holy Night emerged as the winner of the "The Most Christmasy Christmas Song" after nearly 400 votes.
Here's a simple tutorial for using polltab.com to create your own bracket.