What do you ladies do with your kids/family to keep Christ the central theme during Christmas?
I'd love to hear all your ideas, too!
Thus far we've decided to do just the three gifts (as just the three gifts were mentioned in the Bible) and talk about why just three gifts, etc. One of my friends does a birthday cake for Jesus and we might do that, too. We want to read the Christmas story every Christmas as well.
Jessica (32) and Ryan (31). Madelyn born August 5, 2009 and Malachi born December 23, 2010. Lost a loved baby 02/29/12, 05/14/12 and 07/05/12 all due a serious allergic reaction to fabric softener.
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right now we just read the christmas story and talk about Jesus' birthday. I like the idea of 3 gifts and the birthday cake!
it's tough because my extended family and grandparents are constantly talking about Santa and trees and the like.
We are doing a Jesse Tree again, Im excited I think Tristyn will understand more this year. We also do a lot of homemade gifts, Christmas eve (During the day while dh is still working) the kids and I make a sugar cookie nativity (I have a cookie cutter set), we attend church as a family, then have a drop in style dinner at our house and end with the Christmas story from the bible, and kids in bed. Dh and I exchange gifts after the girls go to bed and usually assemble some crazy toy that I bought for them.
Another Dec night when dh is home we bundle the kids up and drive a a neighborhood called "Candy Cane Lane" those people get crazy with the lights and house decorations, we usually get hot chocolate on the way home and so far Tristyn thinks this is the greatest night ever, she gets hot chocolate and gets to stay up 'late' in her mind
We have a book we read on Christmas Eve. Close to Christmas, we watch the movie, The Nativity, and usually sometime close to Christmas we also watch Luke 2.
This year it'll be great because Christmas is on a Sunday. We have church at 9:00, so we've decided to only let the kids open their stockings (which is usually a few small items like bath soaps, chap stick, small toy, candy) before church and wait until after-church lunch to come home and do their 'real' presents. So the focus of the day will really be on the savior.
We do most our secular-type celebrations on Dec 5 in Dutch tradition. That's also when we give any gifts to the girls.
On Christmas Eve we read the Christmas story in the scriptures and the girls usually rope us into acting it out with them. We sing Christmas carols and have what my grandma calls "the Jesus Stocking" where we put a piece of paper in it every year with what our gift to Christ will be for the coming year. We started this when I was around 9 or 10 so it's fun to pull the last 20+ years' gift slips out and read them.
Christmas day we go to my grandparents' for breakfast as a family and have a Norwegian lunch with a drop-in style remainder of the day. My grandparents give my girls a gift and a stocking and that's about it for gifts. Anything my parents give is done on the 5th with our stuff. This year having it be on Sunday will make it extra special to go and have a musical program in the afternoon.
I really like the idea of a "Jesus Stocking." What do you use for it? The only thing I'm picturing is like a red and white stocking for the mantel.
It's a rather large one, deep purple velvet with a little gold trim. I think my grandma made it because she couldn't find one that wasn't glaringly Santa and what not.
I love these, so far! We haven't set up many traditions yet since we are still a pretty new family. I think we are going to do the three gifts also, which I like because it will be a way to tie in gift giving with the Bible, and also because it will help reign in that urge to go crazy with gifts.
I would also like to do some kind of "birthday gift" to Jesus. We've discussed the idea, but not really sure how that will work out. I like the stocking idea. We discussed doing some kind of gift together as a family... a service we can do together, like doing something for a nursing home, or picking a family to bring dinner and presents to, or something. As the kids get older I think it will be fun to hear their ideas and plan out His gift together.
I know we will be reading the Christmas story from the Bible every year. I would also like to get a child friendly nativity scene. I would like something they can play with and act out, so we can play together and open opportunities to talk about Jesus' birth.
Since we are not doing Santa (I have NO problem with anyone that does, btw) it might be fun to do some kind of birthday cake or nativity cookie tradition, since we won't be leaving cookies and milk out. Will have to think on that one!
Once all us kids were old enough for my parents to feel like we would, as a group, be a help on such a situation we started switching off Thanksgiving and Christmas Day at a soup kitchen. One year it would be one of the holidays and the next it would be the other. And we would come home and literally have PBJs and apples for our own dinner rather than a large traditional dinner. My Grandma would tell us about growing up as poor as she was and what they usually ate for holiday dinners and about how our service and sacrifice was a selfless gift not only to those we were helping but also to our Lord. I think that's something John wants to do when our girls are a bit older. He spent many holidays at the soup kitchen as a patron because of how he grew up and he feels like it is just natural that he give back.
Nativity Scenes-Fisher Price and Playmobiles both have some for kids. We have the Playmobile one and we get it out at Thanksgiving and let the girls play with it through to New Year and then usually again at Easter just because without the Christmas story we wouldn't have the Easter story. They love it and get so excited to play with it each year. When they were younger I had chunks of 2x4 that I had done rub-ons of the different characters in the Nativity story and you would have thought those were the most high-tech toys they owned!
We have done a birthday cake on Christmas day for Jesus for the last couple years, but I think maybe we will move that to Christmas Eve. I like the idea of doing it on Christmas Eve instead of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa (we don't do Santa here).
We also go to this First Assembly church out here that does an AMAZING play. They tie everyday life into the story of Christmas and the true meaning. It's 90 mins long and my kids have sat through it everytime. It's so entertaining and just beautiful. They have the 3 wise men come down the aisles of the church on actual camels. They have angels flying above you from the ceiling. It really is awesome. I can't wait to go this year.
We will be reading the Christmas story from the bible and then we will read it from their little kid Bible.
I really like the idea of the 3 gifts. I saw something about the 3 gifts...just a different version. 1 was a Christian gift (like a Cross necklace or jewelry of some sorts, or maybe a new bible, etc.). 1 was a need and the other was a want. I am going to talk to DH about this.
I love hearing all these ideas. Thanks everyone!!
We also get the kids each 3 gifts, since that is what baby Jesus got. Each kid gets one larger gift and then the other 2 gifts usually go with the bigger one. They also each get a stocking with the same items in it each year (2 small toys, an ornament, toothbrush, underwear, and chocolate). They get one present to open on Christmas Eve, which is always their Christmas jammies. On the way home from our church service Christmas eve we drive around and look at Christmas lights. Then we get home, open their jammies and read the Christmas story from the bible.
We also do Santa to a small degree. We don't talk much about him or visit him, but the kids still get one gift from Santa. As soon as they start asking questions about Santa, we will come clean and talk about how it is just something fun to do. I am actually surprised my 7 yr old had not yet asked if he is real...
We put our Nativity scene out at the start of Advent (minus baby Jesus of course ). Then after mass on Christmas Eve we place baby Jesus in the manger. My mom gave me the Nativity that we had growing up. I love that my girls get to enjoy it now.
Jesus birthday cake
And this year we are going to do the symbols of Christmas and their meaning
We have nativity scenes up, read lots of "true story of Christmas" children's books that I got from the library, do a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas. We also have an advent calendar where you can put something in each day - I put a hershey kiss & a bible verse in each day.
And(my favorite) we are doing an advent wreath this year with the 5 candles - one for each week of advent & then the Christ candle in the middle. Every night after dinner we light the candle(s) for that week and read a passage of Scripture, then sing a Christmas hymn, then DD blows out the candles. She's only 2, but she LOVES it! And she can now tell you what Emmanuel & Advent mean
We've always made Christmas eve a night for worship and family. We go to church and then meet back our home for chili, oyster stew and many other kind of goodies. After everyone has gone home Jim and I do the last minute odds and ends.
In the morning the boys usually get up at 6. I put the breakfast bake in the oven and get everything ready so we can eat and enjoy opening presents and start another day of celebration and eating.Midday we have ham, turkey and all the other goodies.
That is how we have spent our Christmas in the past. This year will be different, with my job and not knowing if I work both days. I'm really not to worried. I would enjoy being with my family but there are so many people at our facility that won't get to be with theirs or have none at all. Last night one of the ladies aked me what I was going to do for Christmas.. I told her " I would probally be here, I'll wear reindeer antlers and we'll have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS . She gave a big smile. She has MS and no family. As always family is who you make them and even if I'm not with Jim, the boys on Christmas eve or all of christmas day. I'll be with my residents. So,I'm happy either way