I wrote a post similar to this last year but I thought it needed to be re-vamped and discussed in greater detail! So here are my 10 ways to Keep Christ in Christmas (at your house) For Kids!
I hope this helps those of you who are often battling with the excitement of Santa Claus but wanting to teach the true meaning of Christmas and Christ's coming!
1. Teach kids about the real St. Nicholas by celebrating St. Nicholas day in early December. This year St. Nicholas day was held on December 6. You can start by telling your children about St. Nicholas, the man who enjoyed helping others. On December 5th, have children put a shoe or hang their Christmas stocking outside their bedroom door. They can also leave a carrot or apple for his horse and a cookie for St. Nick. After the children are asleep, you can put a small simple gift in their shoe or stocking for them to receive on St. Nick’s day. Keep the gift small and simple.
For more history and ideas on St. Nicholas day you can click here.
For prayers to St. Nicholas, click here.
There are also some great kids movies about St. Nicholas called: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. There are two versions… 1985 excerpt & 2000 excerpt.
2. Make 25 ornaments with different names of Jesus. Have your child hang one each day in the month of December leading up to Christmas! This is a wonderful idea. You can make some like in the picture or check out some printables and a tutorial here.
3. Visit a live Nativity scene. Many churches will host these and some even allow the kids to pet the animals, which can be fun for the little ones. Just google “live nativity scene in (your city)” and I’m sure you’ll find one.
4. Have a Birthday party for Jesus! Make a cake with the kids! And save a place for Jesus at the dinner table. At this party, you could even... Read the Birth Story of Jesus from the bible (Luke Chapters 1 & 2).
5. Send your kids a letter from Santa about the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus' birth. This is a really neat tradition. I don't know if it is something you should do every year but it would be cool for trying to incorporate Santa and Jesus. Here is a great free printable example of what I'm talking about!
6. Watch some Holiday movies about Christ & Listen to Christmas songs about Christ. This one is pretty simple. Even though, there are plenty of Santa Clause movies, there are a few holiday movies that include the story of Jesus. Here are some I recommend: A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Small One, Veggie Tales Christmas Collection, The Prince of Peace and The Nativity Story. The Nativity Story actually is not a cartoon. It came out in 2006 and is pretty good. I believe adults would like it and it's rated PG so it's okay for kids too.
Christmas songs about Christ are always my favorite. We own the WOW Christmas CD which can be picked up at any Christian Books Store! Love Love Love it. But here are a list of a few that I love: O Little Town of Bethlehem, The First Noel, What Child is This, Silent Night, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Mary Did you Know, O Come All Ye Faithful... and many more!
7. Decorate with religious decorations! My little man is still a baby but I do have some nephews and a niece. My brother's sons are 4 and 6 and they love to ask questions! Decorating with religious decorations will definitely spark interest in kids and open the conversation to talk about the true meaning of Christmas! We always have a Nativity scene set up and some religious ornaments as well! I would like to start incorporating an advent wreath too. Each week you light a candle to prepare for Christ's coming, which is practiced in the Catholic church! Another cool tradition that I just recently heard of is the Jesse tree!
8. On Christmas morning, Hide the baby Jesus from your Nativity set and wrap him. Let him be the first gift unwrapped on Christmas morning! I've heard a few variations of this one. You could also hide him and the first kid who finds him, gets a small special gift! I like him being the first gift unwrapped though. It makes it extra special that Jesus has arrived on Christmas morning! He is what Christmas is all about so it seems extra special that he is the first gift unwrapped.
9. After unwrapping gifts, have your kids donate 3 of their old toys to a homeless shelter/toy drive, or Do some act of charity. There are so many ideas out there but to keep Christ in Christmas, I believe it is important to teach your children that Christmas is not just about receiving but also about giving. I've heard of some children giving three of their old toys to a toy drive, children's home or homeless shelter. After all, they did receive new toys at Christmas and this keeps them giving to others and involved in the Christmas spirit.
There are other acts of charity that can be done too.. such as visiting a nursing home, children's hospital, or helping out at a soup kitchen! Plenty of charity to be performed on the holidays! I hope we can incorporate this in my house in the future!
10. Attend a Church Service together as a Family. Growing up, my family always went to Catholic mass as a family on Christmas and we still do this to this day. It instilled in me the importance of Christmas and Christ's coming. If you are Christian and believe/celebrate this special holiday, than going to a church service together is a great idea!
These are just a few of my ideas on how you can incorporate Christ in your child's Christmas celebration and festivities! I'm going to try to work on a way for adults to include Christ in their Christmas festivities in a special way too! Coming soon! I'd love to hear if you have other ideas that I didn't mention!
What the special way that you keep Christ in Christmas, if you do so?