8 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas
I love Christmastime! It has always been my favorite time of the year. There is just a feeling in the air that makes me feel peaceful and happy. I love the sights, smells and how my kids light up at every little thing that has to do with Christmas. And more than anything I love that the holiday season gives me a chance to think about the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth and life of Jesus Christ. As much as I love Santa Clause and the spirit of giving this time of year, I want my boys to understand that Christmas is about so much more than treats and new toys and here I’ve listed 8 of our simple family traditions that help my kids to keep Christ in Christmas.
1- Nativity Advent Calendar: We have a special Nativity Advent Calendar that I purchased when my oldest son was about a year old and that we have loved ever since. Instead of a countdown to the night that Santa comes, it actually allows kids to open a door and add a magnet to a manger scene until Christmas Eve when the scene is complete.
My boys take turns each day adding a new piece to the set and it is a simple, yet memorable way to remember what we are really counting down to.
I have also seen other Nativity Advent Calendars like this that I would like to eventually add to our Christmas Decor.
2-Nativity Sets for Children: There are several different Nativity Sets for Children. We have the Little People Christmas Story Nativity and I always clear off a low bookshelf and set it up where my kids are able to reach it and play with it. It has provided a lot of fun over the years and I love that they can imagine the manger scene and act it out without me having to worry about my nice sets getting broken.
My favorite sets I have seen are the Little People Christmas Story Nativity , Kurt Adler Hand-Carved Child’s 1st Nativity Set, Melissa & Doug Nativity Set and the Playmobil Nativity Manger with Stable. So cute!
3-Christmas books for children: We have a tradition that every year for Christmas Eve I give my boys pajamas and a new Christmas book that is related to the birth or life of Christ. I have found that the week after Christmas you can find Christmas books for children for half price pretty much anywhere and I always purchase mine a year in advance and save it for Christmas Eve. We are getting quite the collection and I love to pull them out for bedtime stories.
Some of my favorites are:
One Baby Jesus: A New Twelve Days of Christmas
The Legend Of The Three Trees – Picture Book
O Little Town of Bethlehem
This Is the Season: Beloved of the Year
My First Story of the First Christmas
4-Christmas Scripture Chain: This is a new tradition for our family and I am loving it. Instead of a typical paper Christmas chain, write a scripture about the birth and life of Jesus Christ and each day when you tear one off, read those scriptures as a family. Such a simple thing to do but very memorable.
5-Nativity Christmas Movies: We have a short animated Nativity movie that we watch every Christmas Eve. It is only about 20 minutes but with all of the excitement about Santa coming, I like to have my boys stop and have a short movie (since that is all you can get out of them on Christmas Eve) about the Nativity. We also have a few other Christmas movies that are about that first Christmas night and I love taking a break from The Grinch and Elf, to put in a true Christmas movie.
6-Act out the Nativity as a family on Christmas Eve: My husband and I both had this tradition in our families growing up. He had quite a bit larger family than I did and I’m sure it was easier to fill all of the rolls in the Nativity story but I only had 1 brother and two sisters and as sisters we had to take turns being Mary or Angels and my brother would play the roll of Joseph, shepherds, wise men and one year he even played the donkey. 🙂 I have so many fun memories of acting out the Christmas story in our bathrobes and homemade costumes and I’ve continued that tradition with my boys. You don’t have to have a large family to make large memories.
7-Attend a Live Nativity: Check in your area to see if there is a live nativity that you could attend as a family. These are put on by actors who play the parts of the manger scene and most even include live animals and narration to go with the story.
8-Other Christmas Decorations: Every year I have tried to purchase a different nativity set or Christmas decoration to have in my home for Christmas. My boys have their own nativity set in their room and I love these Christ ornaments we made one year to add to the tree. They are a subtle reminder of what we should be thinking about at Christmas.
And my favorite new addition to my decor is the Hallmark Children Angel Choir that my parents gave me for my birthday. These are seriously SO cute and I love watching my baby’s face light up as he watches them sing. They each play two Christmas songs about the true meaning of Christmas and if you turn them on together, they will sing as a choir. Seriously the cutest thing I have ever seen!
And just in case you’re wondering, Yes, my boys are very excited for Santa to come. I haven’t removed that part of Christmas from our lives, I just try and find simple ways to help them remember the true meaning of Christmas since they are naturally excited about Santa, Elves, Reindeer and presents.
What are some of your family traditions that help to keep your Christmas focused on the really meaning of Christmas?