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.