30 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas

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):

  • 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].
  • Hide baby Jesus and “seek” Him Christmas morning before opening gifts. [I did this first thing last year. Here’s how I found it half an hour later. Turns out Mary had a little Snowman. I love little kids].

  • (or) Gift wrap baby Jesus in your nativity and let this be your first unwrapped gift Christmas morning.
  • Take a cue from the Magi and limit the gifts and reminding kids it’s not their birthday, it’s His.
  • Have a daily family devotion that unwraps Christmas. We are loving The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas.
  • Participate in Advent. Anticipate, count down to Jesus’ birthday.
  • Light an Advent wreath each day leading up to Christmas.
  • Have a birthday cake for Jesus or go all out and make it a birthday party!
  • Watch DVDS like Why Do We Call It Christmas? that help you tell the real story of Christmas.
  • 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.
  • Or buy something that blesses twice and changes lives (Mercy Shop).
  • 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.
  • Make the Nativity interactive with tools like What God Wants for Christmas. It’s from the creators of Resurrection Eggs.
  • Do something for someone else on Christmas Day. For the past few years, we’ve played Secret Santa for a family in need. It’s one of my favorite traditions.
  • Talk with your kids about giving God a gift. What does He want from us?
  • Hang a stocking for Christ. Fill it with notes just for Him.
  • Invite someone to share Christmas dinner with your family.
  • Shop for single mom. This year playing secret santa and dropping off gifts for a single mom!
  • Don’t participate in the excessive commercialism. Enough said.
  • 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.
  • Help your kids shop for their siblings.
  • Talk about the symbols of Christmas.
  • Be generous as a family at Christmas-baking, giving, doing.
  • 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.
  • Bake, make or buy a special gift for your Pastor. We did Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls a few years ago. What a gift!
  • Cherish traditions with your family. Start a new one! Like the next one:
  • When preparing your Christmas meal, set a literal place for Jesus, your honored guest.
  • Attend church on Christmas Eve.
  • Read Luke 2 together on Christmas Eve or morning. We’ve been doing this since before we had kids.
  • Leave a Nativity out all year long. I did this last year and it was really special.
How do you keep Christ in Christmas?
[edited repost]


  1. 1


    What a beautiful list. We have an advent calendar and count down to Christmas with a hymn each night. On Christmas Eve, we focus only on the Savior. Christmas morning, is more about family and fun. I love this time of year, but it is so important to keep Christ in our lives all year round, not just December. Of course, it is evident from the things you write that you know that already! :) Have a Merry, Merry Christmas from Janine@mylampisfull.

  2. 2


    Love this list!! So many great ideas, and realistic ideas. Sometimes I get too caught up in doing meaningful things that it becomes too complicated, too time consuming, and not fun. This Christmas we are doing the Jesse Tree and just trying to do that one thing every day well. Appreciate your heart, and I hope you have a merry Christmas too!

  3. 3


    This year we started advent, with the Scripture readings and lighting candles. And we’re trying to limit presents. I love what you tell your kids, that it’s not their birthday, but Jesus’. Thanks for the thoughts!

    • 3.1

      Denise Johnson says

      Lol. This is tricky for us as we actually have a daughter who was born on Christmas Day. We celebrate Christmas from Christmas Eve until noon on Christmas Day. After that it’s only Abby’s birthday.

  4. 5


    Thanks for this list. We do many of the things on it as a way to keep Christ as the focus of this holiday season but you’ve certainly given me some ideas to consider.

  5. 6

    Meg says

    Love these ideas! We are starting a 3 present rule with our baby’s first Christmas, my thought is that if Jesus only got three presents then that should be good enough for him:) question: I love the secret Santa for a family in need! Could you elaborate? How do you find or pick a family? What do you do?

  6. 7

    Denise Johnson says

    In addition to the regular Christmas tree, we have a smaller Christmas tree that is our “Jesse Tree.” Each night the kids unwrap a “present” that is a symbol representing an important person in Salvation history. We read about that person, read a scripture and end with a short prayer. Then the kids hang the symbol on the Jesse tree. Opening a present every night helps the kids keep from fixating on the opening of Christmas presents as they’re doing it all through Advent. Another thing we do is wait until a couple days before Christmas to put presents under the tree. This is partly because I don’t want them to play with/break other people’s presents. However it has the built in bonus of “Out of sight, out of mind.” We use the book “The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to prepare for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas.”

    We also keep an Advent wreath on our table all throughout Advent. Each Sunday night, we turn out all the lights and light a candle on the Advent wreath. After a short prayer we eat ice cream or other Christmas treats by candlelight. The kids LOVE this!

  7. 9

    Heather says

    We are all wrapping an actual present for Jesus this year. We will put our gifts on the mantle for the rest of the year. I’m wrapping up a picture of an orange rhino as I’m taking the orange rhino challenge to stop yelling so much. It will be really neat to see what the kids and my husband come up with.

  8. 10


    My mom always started Christmas morning – before any gifts unwrapped – with reading Luke Chapter 2, and it is a tradition I have continued with my own children. And our Nativity is on our fireplace mantel because that is the focal during winter season in our home. We also go to church on Christmas Eve. Sometimes the kids are in pj’s – but we get there!
    I like a few of these other ones. I think I’ll share with hubby and we will pick some new ones to add.

  9. 12

    Stephanie says

    We have a Christmas present box for Jesus with a slit in the top. Every night in December leading up to Christmas the kids put change into Jesus’ present. After Christmas the present is put into the offering plate at church.

  10. 13

    Bethany says

    I think I have the same snowman ornaments as what was in your nativity picture! This is definitely something we need to work harder at. I struggle with wanting to buy them so many things (gotta keep up with the Jones’s) that I think we haven’t reached them with what the season is truly about. My oldest at 4 knows its Jesus’ birthday, but I don’t think she comprehends the extent of what that means because she’s so spoiled with presents through each of our families. This has some great ideas, things I want to look at at start implementing by next Christmas…we need to work at making the holiday what’s its meant to be and not the commercialized holiday my husband and I grew up with.

  11. 14

    Sandi says

    Like a couple of other commenters, we also have a Jesse Tree each year. I love it because it tells the story of the Lord Jesus starting at the beginning of creation – including why He needed to come in the first place. We started out with paper ornaments, but over the years I’ve collected real ornaments to use, which feels like a family legacy to me, something I’ll hand down to my son someday. I hope doing a Jesse Tree with his child(ren) will be the best part of his Christmases as an adult. It definitely is mine.

  12. 15


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