I sometimes wonder how I can make a Christmas holiday focus more on Jesus Christ and less on Santa and getting presents. Although I like the tradition of Santa Clause, I don't want my children to grow up thinking that Santa bringing them presents is what Christmas really means.
I thought about some ways to celebrate Christ's birth that would not be stressful or complicated and that anyone could do, no matter their budget.
Focus on Christ - what Christmas really is and why we have the holiday.
- - Read the Nativity Story - The most popular reading of this beautiful, beautiful story is in Luke 2, however, it can also be found in Matthew 1 (and the wise men come in the next chapter!) Meanwhile on the American continent Samuel prophesies of Christ's birth and gives the people signs of his coming. (Helaman 14.) Later, in 3 Nephi 1 Is their account of the birth of our savior. It is So beautiful.
- -Read stories of Christ - Whether it is his birth, life, ministry or resurrection, the Biblical and Book of Mormon accounts of Christ and his teachings are amazing. If you read with a heart open to the Holy Ghost, you will learn and you will be edified every time! This is one reason why I love the scriptures.
- -Act out the Nativity - One of my favorite traditions from my husband's side is that on Christmas Eve, Father reads the nativity from the Bible and the children dress up as the characters and act it out as he reads it. A fun way to do this is to use scarves or scraps of cloth or bathrobes so everyone gets to dress up for the part. Adding props is fun - gifts from under the tree or a jewelry box or bag become gold, frankincense and myrrh. Use other household props or keep it simple and enjoy the purity of the account that way. Sometimes the actors like to play their roles silently and sometimes they like to read their lines. Do what works for your family!
- -Color the nativity - Make the best picture you can or print a free nativity! (Or carefully trace it. Like really carefully so you don't hurt your compy.)
Free coloring page from LDS.org
- -Talk about what you would do if you were supposed to go to the Christ child on that holy night. Or, who you would have liked to have been on that holy night. If you are not the kind of person you want to be, or would want to have been then, what are some ways that you can start working on or toward your own spiritual progress? Make a goal or 2 and have someone to be positively accountable to.
- -Watch nativity videos - The Nativity Story is a full length video made in 2006 about the coming of Christ's birth. It is beautifully done. I definitely recommend it. Other shorter clips that helps us think of Christ or learn of his birth can be found here. I love these little clips. They are so touching. I think you will enjoy this free little library of inspiring short videos. This is truly a wonderful resource. You can also find some more at at www.mormon.org/christmas
- -Find a way to give to someone in need. Serving someone at a soup kitchen, singing to or visiting with a lonely neighbor or family member, taking a meal or treat to someone, etc... Any way you can let someone know they are loved and remembered will be a good service. Whoever you visit is just like you; a child of God. How To Give Gifts To Christ (For Youth)
- -Use an art medium to create a nativity scene. - Traditional or nontraditional mediums. Just get your creative juices flowing and add beauty to your home with whatever you imagine. Need ideas: pinterest and google. There isn't really much I need to say on this one, is there? BUT I will say that truly beautiful art will add much to any place.
- -Gift box for Christ - Make a gift box, jar, or other item that can hold slips of paper and that you will not mind sitting in a prominent or highly visual place in your house. Everyone in your family writes (or draws) what they will give Christ this year. Throughout the year, review your progress and update your goals as needed.
- -Let your baby type on the computer. Like this: l.
|A little historical note I found at a museum|
(That was a joke...)
Connect with your Family -Past-Present-Future
- -Read or tell Christmas stories or experiences from your life, your parents, grandparents, or anyone in your family tree
- -Read inspirational Christmas stories - Growing up we loved to hear about my great grandmother's Christmas. I could almost quote the whole thing just from hearing it every Christmas. Amelia's Christmas by my Aunt Mary. She wrote it in elementary school, I think. "The closer it got to Christmas, the more secrets there were..."
- -Watch a Christmas movie together - Frosty the Snowman, Miracle on 34th Street, The Nativity Story, Cricket on the Hearth, Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, etc... There are so many I can't name them all here and still keep the purpose of this post. You know what to do.
- -Read/tell the stories of the original Santa Clause - I went to a museum and saw a Christmas display. 1/3 Santa 2/3 Nativity. It was so fun to go see all the nativities!! (I'm sidetracking) The only thing about Santa Clause that really caught my attention were these little stories of how we got the Santa Clause tradition in the first place.
Oh, yeah, and there was a gingerbread room. That was kinda fun - to see all the gingerbread houses. My favorite was a replica of a church from (Switzerland?) that the artist's grandfather had attended.
- -Sing Christmas songs - Around a tree, outside, around your table, in your living room, wherever. It doesn't matter where. It will lift your spirit. Music is powerful. One of my favorite activities with my family is singing. At Christmas time we love to sit around the tree and sing Christmas carols together.
- -Make a fun meal together. It doesn't have to be fancy. Pancakes - add red OR green food coloring and suddenly they are Christmasy! Try drizzling the pancake batter in Christmas shapes. Look on google or pinterest for fun, easy, festive food ideas.
- -Make Christmas or winter crafts - google this if you don't have any ideas. There are a billion and one things to do out there!
- -Play with your children - the gift of time and attention is so valuable. Your children may or may not remember the exact experience, but they will value the relationship you build with them and that is more important to remember. Your children/teenagers may not act like it is cool, but they will know you love them.
- -Go do something together - go to the movies, go sledding, build a pillow and blanket fort, carol at a nursing home, play in the snow, do a snow dance if you don't have snow but want it, anything! Just go do something with your family. Let your family members know you love them and love to spend time with them.
- -Sit and talk together - about anything. Make up stories, tell why you love each other, talk about school, work, play, home, build plans together, talk about your dreams and wishes, etc... Listen, too. Part of having a good conversation is being an engaged listener.
- -Make a new Christmas treat together - Peppermint bark is really easy and delicious! All it takes is white chocolate and candy canes. Melt the chocolate, crush the canes and mix. Let it dry and voila! yum. (It's not an exact science, but 1/2 pound bark to 12 candy canes is a good starting ratio.) Caramel or candy popcorn, fudge, whatever tickles your fancy!
- Christmas Pin Art - If your child is old enough to do this on his own, great. If he needs a little help, great. Sketch/draw a Christmas (or not Christmas) picture on a paper. Put it on the carpet or other soft place. Using a pin, paperclip, pen, or pencil... poke holes through your outlines. When you are finished, hold it up in front of a light or lamp and see the picture shine! (Really, all you need is outlines. If you feel really inadequate drawing, print or trace a picture on white paper and put your dark paper underneath before you make the holes.)