Each year, we work to fine tune our Christmas. It can be difficult to keep Christ at the center of our Christmas with impressionable children noticing every bit of commercialism that seeks to draw us in and drown us all. Here is how we keep Christ in our Christmas:
Worshiping and teaching at church during Advent (and all year, too). We just do it: get up and go without question. The Sundays we are not there, the children miss it and ask why.
Practicing and performing a Christmas program with the children’s choir. The CD is popped in the day after Halloween. The message from the program is repeated over and over and over!
Giving toys and visiting Santa to “lock in” the one gift request. I know, I know…. this does NOT sound like it belongs in this post. However, I must say that this really helps our children get the anxiety of “gift-getting” out of the way. We also give toys to charity at the visit. We do not enter into too many discussions with them on Santa and “getting” during the season. Moving on…
Displaying the nativity scene. The unbreakable play set is the first decoration to grace our home. And our special nativity is placed out by the family as the Christmas story is read.
Lighting Advent candles. For two years I have intended to find just the right wreath and buy the “correct” color candles. Last week, I let go of perfection and placed four tea candles on a white plate. The children were excited and it was finally there!
Decorating a Jesse tree. Father and son went out and clipped branches from an evergreen bush and I brushed off a flower pot empty of last summer’s flowers. My daughter and I glued ribbons to simple paper ornaments. Each night we read a devotion from scripture that points to Christ’s coming and take turns placing ornaments on the tree.
Having the children use their money, time, and talents on gifts. They used their own cash to purchase some gifts and I helped them make gifts for each other and for grandparents.
Unwrapping baby Jesus as the first gift on Christmas morning. Several years ago, we began gift-wrapping baby Jesus from our nativity the night before. Bright and early, we gather by the nativity scene for the children to open this present before the Christmas Day chaos ensues.
Giving the children money to give to charity. They will each be allowed to choose a gift from the Samaritan’s Purse gift catalog. (Thanks, Kristen!)