I am blessed with the fact that my husband is a bit of a freak about Christmas and that he is an amazing Christian man who desires to teach his children about the real meaning of Christmas and wants them to grow up with family traditions and great holiday memories. In order for you to understand what I mean about, "a bit of a freak", here are some examples: He has 15 hours of no-repeat Christmas music on his Zune. He bakes, cuts out, and frosts (with the children) approximately 8-10 batches of decorated sugar cookies during the month of December. He spends a day at the end of Novmeber decorating the entire house including bedrooms. He spends another day at the end of November putting lights on the outside of our house.
Okay, so you get the idea.
We have created some family traditions but this year I am yearning to create more. Our boys are four and are really into Santa and presents. I am not wanting to completely take away from that but feel the need for them to really know what God did for them, what that amazing, perfect gift that was given to them really means.
I am reading a book called, "Redeeming the Season". There are three areas that it talks about that you should focus on when creating those traditions. The first is, "Sanctify Your Family" and includes such things as a Momento Tree, Keepsake Christmas Cards, Family Nights, and shopping together. The second is, "Season Your Surroundings", and includes a kids Caroling Night, Treasuring Teachers, and giving gifts to people in retail stores. The third is, "Savor Your Savior". It gives ideas about Thank-You Jesus Cards, Attribute Ornaments, and Navity Central.
In this time of rest that our family is in we are very focused on good, quality, purposeful time together. So we are creating new ideas and using some of these to make the Christmas season meaningful to our family which includes a 7-year old and two 4-year olds.
Here are some ideas of how to make Christmas be about Christ when you have little ones at home:
Do a little Christmas devotional or advent reading at dinner each night.
Put on Christmas music that fills up the house.
Act out the navity story with the little figurines from your manger scene.
Act out the nativity story with the children as the actors.
Watch the movie "The Nativity Story".
Send a Christmas gift to a child in a third world country or to a friend that is a missionary a long ways from home this Christmas.
Make a night out of shopping for each other - giving each child a bit of money to spend on each other.
Make tree decorating a time to reflect on what Christ did for us as well as memories of Christmas's past.
Organize Christmas caroling with a group of your kids and their friends.
Send your child's teacher a Christmas survival kit at the beginning of December.
Send notes to people you know who might love to have help-that your family would love to come help them with wrapping or cleaning or baking or shopping and schedule a time.
Volunteer as a family at a soup kitchen or local food pantry.
I think the most important thing is whatever you do to help your family get it - to understand what a gift Jesus was to the world - you need to involve the whole family. Help them understand that because God gave us His son Jesus, we should show others his love through our gifts of time, talents, and treasures.
What do you do in your family to help your little ones "get it"?