As Christmas approaches, it is important to keep the focus on family and Jesus’ miraculous birth. As a young child, I remember the month of December as one of the most exciting times of the year. There is anticipation in the air and it can make a child wide eyed with wonder.
I love it when kids have the same excitement and wonder as their friends, not for Santa Claus nor presents, but for the greatest gift – the birth of Jesus.
Talk with your children about why we celebrate Christmas. It is equally important to focus your Christmas activities around the birth of Jesus.
Eight Ways to Center the Holidays around the True Meaning of Christmas
- Set up a Christmas manger.
I always looked forward setting up our family’s Christmas manger with my mom. As we brought it out, she would tell me the story of Jesus’ birth. Setting up a manger with your children can become a tradition they will remember for years to come. At our home, Jesus didn’t appear in the manger until Christmas Eve when we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
- Bring out the craft supplies.
Celebrate by making crafts and decorations with your kids. Again, use the Christmas story as inspiration. Share their creations with family, friends, teachers and neighbors. Display them in your home. Keep them as reminders of when your children were young.
Teach your children about giving and sacrificing for others. Donating new and used toys to kids in need. Non-perishable food items to local shelters. Lightly used clothing to schools and churches. Make a family dinner, bake for neighbors or even just have your children make their own Christmas cards to cheer up friends and family. Sending cards to the troops who cannot be home with their families or to people in the hospital during the Christmas season is a great way to have your children bless others.
- Read Jesus’ story.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, read the story of Jesus and His birth before you open presents. This will help your children remember to be grateful for the true blessing of the holiday. Perfect time to place Jesus in the manger.
- Sing out loud.
Go Christmas caroling. This is such a fun way to unite people during the holiday season.
- Make a gift.
Show your children that the best gifts are from the heart. Have them create homemade gifts for their teachers and friends.
- Hang an Advent wreath.
Another tradition my family had was to hang an advent wreath. The word “advent” means “the coming”. The circular shape of the advent wreath represents eternity. On the wreath, there are five candles. Each Sunday, you light up one more candle on the wreath until on Christmas Eve when you light the last one. If your children are old enough, have them light the candles.
- Write a thank you letter.
Rather than or in addition to having your children write a letter to Santa, encourage them write a thank you letter to Jesus. Tell them to include why they are grateful for His birth. Saving these letters in a scrapbook is a wonderful way for you to look back years from now. That can become a Christmas tradition in itself.
Christmas is a time to enjoy your family and friends and most importantly celebrate Jesus. There is no present that can compare to that gift.