I was just telling a friend today how I haven’t been in a very festive mood this December.
It’s not that I don’t like celebrating, it’s just that my kids have come down with a pretty hefty case of what I like to call “The Christmas Gimmies” and it’s making me both sad and worried. Looking around our house, I can’t help but shake my head at all the stuff we have accumulated over the years. We’ve been blessed beyond measure, and the last thing any of us need is more stuff to clutter our lives. Christmastime isn’t about stuff; it’s about celebrating the birth of our Savior – and that needs to be the message my kids hear this holiday season. So I’ve plotted and I’ve done some simple preparations. Christmas this year will be intentionally Christ-focused. We’re doing activities and carrying on traditions that are fun for the whole family in hopes of creating lasting memories for my children for years to come.
A few simple ways we’re keeping Christ in Christmas this holiday season:
The Advent Wreath – Keeping Christ in Christmas Idea #1
Our church starts each Sunday service in December with the lighting of the advent wreath. I’ve decided to take this tradition home with us, and each night after dinner we’ll clear the plates and say an advent prayer around our own wreath complete with candles. Nothing too complicated, just a really beautiful and simple way to end our family meal.
Nativity Set – Keeping Christ in Christmas Idea #2
When my husband and I were married, my mother-in-law gifted me with a beautiful olive wood nativity set from Jerusalem. Because of its sentimental value, it’s never seen the light of day. This year, it’s coming out of its dusty box – and we’re going to carefully play with it. Talking about all the “guys” (my 4-year-old calls all figurines “guys”) and their role in the story of Christ’s birth.
Keeping Gifts Simple – Keeping Christ in Christmas Idea #3
In order to take the focus off “The Christmas Gimmies”, my children will be getting four modest gifts from me and my husband this year: something they need, something they want, something to read, and something to wear. Basically, my 9-year old will be getting a new backpack (need!), a potholder loom kit (want!), a book she’s been wanting to read, and a pair of pajamas (wear!).
Clearing the Calendar – Keeping Christ in Christmas Idea #4
Christmas should be a time to slow down and prepare for the coming of Christ. This year we’re choosing just a few things to attend, and building in intentional family time to be together at home.
Bedtime Stories – Keeping Christ in Christmas Idea #5
Right before Thanksgiving, I went to the library and requested a bunch of Christmas-themed children’s books. At bedtime, I let my boys (ages 4 and 2) pick out a book to read from our special Christmas pile. It doesn’t take overly elaborate cookie decorating parties or complex crafts to communicate that you care; simply make sure to involve the whole family and let the love flow! I’m trying my hardest to stay consistent with my intentions, talking about how truly amazing it is that baby Jesus was born in a manger to save us from our sins. Because that, my friends, is a reason to celebrate Christmas if I’ve ever heard one.