30 Ways to Make Christmas Meaningful

Our world makes it challenging to keep Christ in Christmas.

Anyone else notice that?

Don’t get me wrong: I love this season. The lights and festivities. I’m a Christmas baby and I find this time of year magical. I love experiencing it with my kids…the excuse to wear Christmas pajamas days on end, reading holiday books, sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies for lunch

But more than anything, I want to make it meaningful. I want Jesus to be the focus. I want my kids to know what the day and all the celebrating is really about. They won’t hear it at school or see it in the sales advertisements. They will know because we will show them.

Here are some ways we make Christmas meaningful (and a few ideas we plan to implement):

  1. Set up a Nativity and make it a focus in your home. [We put ours front and center on the entry table in our home].
  2. Hide baby Jesus and “seek” Him Christmas morning before opening gifts. [I did this first thing this year. Here’s how I found it half an hour later. Turns out Mary had a little Snowman. I love little kids].
  3. (or) Gift wrap baby Jesus in your nativity and let this be your first unwrapped gift Christmas morning.
  4. Take a cue from the Magi and limit the gifts and reminding kids it’s not their birthday, it’s His.
  5. Have a daily family devotion that unwraps Christmas, here’s ours for this year. [This is perfect for families. It offers a verse for each day and a question or two that will hopefully lead to a meaningful discussion. You can get it for 30% off now with code SUPER30].
  6. Participate in Advent. Last year, we did the Jesse Tree Advent. And I love this Advent ebook for little hands.
  7. Light an Advent wreath each day leading up to Christmas.
  8. Have a birthday cake for Jesus or go all out and make it a birthday party! I love this Happy Birthday, Jesus! Celebration Kit. (Also 30% off with code: SUPER30)
  9. Watch DVDS like Why Do We Call It Christmas? that help you tell the real story of Christmas.
  10. Give your kids the gift of giving: Have them shop with purpose. This year we are giving our kids money to shop from the Compassion gift catalog.
  11. Or buy something that blesses twice and changes lives (Mercy Shop). Ahem.
  12. Don’t stress about things that really don’t matter this Season. I have been a Christmas hoarder in the past. Last year, I had two newlywed couples come and dig thru my decorations. I saved two boxes of things I value most and gave the rest away. It’s simple this year and I like it.
  13. Make the Nativity interactive with tools like What God Wants for Christmas. I’m really excited to try this out! It’s from the creators of Resurrection Eggs.
  14. Do something for someone else on Christmas Day. This will be our fifth year to visit the NICU (with treats) that saved our daughter’s life five Christmas’ ago.
  15. Talk with your kids about giving God a gift. What does He want from us?
  16. Hang a stocking for Christ. Fill it with notes just for Him.
  17. Invite someone to share Christmas dinner with your family. This is a goal for us this year.
  18. Shop for an impoverished child (Angel Tree). Our community group from church has adopted a family with five kids. We are so excited to shop for the kids and DELIVER a the gifts and a Christmas meal on Christmas Eve this year with our close friends!
  19. Don’t participate in the excessive commercialism. Enough said.
  20. Watch The Nativity Story together as a family. We started this tradition two years ago. I think this PG movie tells the greatest story ever told very well.
  21. Help your kids shop for their siblings.
  22. Talk about the symbols of Christmas.
  23. Be generous as a family at Christmas-baking, giving, doing.
  24. Hold a Yule log party: it’s an old European custom to bring in an enormous log on Christmas Eve and it in the fireplace (or fire pit) and say prayers. Today, Yule log cakes and eggnog are served. You can sing carols, read Scripture, tell stories, pray for the new year, and have good fellowship.
  25. Bake, make or buy a special gift for your Pastor. We did Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls year before last. What a gift!
  26. Cherish traditions with your family. Start a new one! Like the next one:
  27. When preparing your Christmas meal, set a literal place for Jesus, your honored guest.
  28. Attend church on Christmas Eve. This is a highlight for our family!
  29. Read Luke 2 together on Christmas Eve or morning. We’ve been doing this since before we had kids.
  30. Leave a Nativity out all year long. I did this last year and it was really special.
How do you keep Christ in Christmas?
[This post contains referral links]


  1. 2


    I’ve produced a play-pack for our little ones (aged1-5, one of whom has special needs) which has simple interactive stories, play ideas, craft activities, recipes, a make your own nativity and and Christmas song. It’s free to download here:


    I love your list – I’m keen to keep things simple this year and try to focus on Jesus – it gets so frantic doesn’t it?! Thank you so much for sharing your traditions and ideas.

  2. 3


    Oh Kristen, thank you! We do lots of the things you mentioned but plan to incorporate more of your ideas. I hope to share your blog post on my blog. Thank you for taking the time….

    I love love love this time of year!

    Much love

  3. 4

    Melissa D says

    Love the baby Jesus snowman! It actually reminded me of something from when I was in high school. My friend’s mom had a shelf along the top of her wall around the whole living room and kitchen. One year, she had a nativity set and along the shelf leading to the nativity were all of her Barbies (she collected them) and various little figurines, like one big parade to Bethlehem. It seemed silly at the time, but now I think that is how it should be – all of our decorations should lead to or point to the nativity.

  4. 5

    April says

    Thank you for this list! You are such an inspiration for how you are raising your Children to be God-honoring and God-seeking individuals. I love following your journey. Although I do not yet have children, I am looking for ways to make Christmas more meaningful and to be present in everyday to focus on the true reason for Christmas. I plan to use some of these suggestion for myself and store the rest in memory for when we have children!

  5. 6


    Thank you for this!! What a blessing. My husband and I are so thrilled (and a little daunted) at the prospect of starting family traditions together. Your family is a huge inspiration to us.


  6. 9


    Kristen, I’m curious, where is your nativity set from? I really liked one of the sets offered by Dayspring, but a friend says that the quality is surprisingly poor (she’s also a fan of Dayspring) and that their store has had to send several back to the warehouse because of quality issues.

    • 9.1

      kristen says

      I got it at Sam’s Club years ago. I think they sell them every year though. It’s really held up. Except baby Jesus is a missing a thumb. But that’s because my 4 year old kidnapped him for awhile :)

  7. 11


    Love your let, and the idea of wrapping up the baby Jesus. We do several of the other suggestions. We have a Jesse Tree and love it. Great reminder to do something for our pastor.

  8. 13

    jackie says

    Thank you for this! I was just talking to my husband about how I want our kids to grow up understanding the true meaning of Christmas; not just to tell us everything they want. Yes, like you, we love all of the “fun” that goes with the season and I still love buying gifts and seeing my kids eyes light up but I also want to make sure we remember that Christ is the reason for the season; and giving is so important. Thank you for these ideas!

  9. 15

    Eva says

    I think setting a literal plate for Jesus is a bit much… maybe set a plate for Jesus, box it up, and drive downtown and hand it to the first homeless person you see. I think that would mean more to Jesus than setting a plate of cold food for Him… I mean seriously. What do you do when it’s cold and everyone is finished? Feed it to the dog?

  10. 16

    jessica says

    thanks for this my kiddos are little (almost 2 and 4) and we are trying to balance helping them experiences the magic and joy of Christmas centered around Jesus with out making them feel like they are missing out i figured if we start young it will just be how we do it and they will love it because its just what our family does. We do advent each night and started that tradition when our oldest was 18 mo and last year he was sad when it was time to put the candles and all away and he insisted we leave out the middle Jesus candle “because you dont put Jesus away” and it has become a nice tradition in our house and it sits on our table all year now

  11. 18

    Paula says


    This is a great website! I just found it.
    Could you please tell me where you got that incredible wall hanging that is over your fireplace in the picture? I LOVE it! Did you make it? I would love one.


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