There is no other time of year that is more filled with beauty and wonder than the Christmas season. Every year I promise myself that I’m going to spend more time reflecting on the meaning of the season and drawing my family into a less commercialized celebration of Christmas. Every year we strip away a little more of the fluff and draw a little closer to celebrating that moment that changed history forever. I would like to believe that one day we will all truly “get” it.
If your looking for ways to make Christmas more meaningful in your family, I hope this post encourages and motivates you.
Keep it Simple
-I get so excited about Christmas that I want to fill this whole month up with magical things that delight my family. I want to take them to every play, musical and Christmas cantata that I can find. If there is a live nativity then by golly we are going to go and pet a camel! But in an effort to make memories with our children we end up just feeling tired and worn out. Where is the magic in that? Choose one or two activities for the season and enjoy them to the fullest.
-Who doesn’t like to decorate for Christmas? Actually I know a few, but most of us love putting up the tree and turning our home into a Christmas wonderland. In fact a recent study was released that said putting up Christmas Decorations actually makes us appear friendlier, and who doesn’t want that? But if dressing up your house for the holidays causes you extra stress- throw up that Christmas tree and hang a wreath on the door and call it done! I promise you, your neighbors will still think your friendly.
-Every year I agonize over Christmas cards. Do I send a traditional card? A picture card? Do I need a family newsletter? One year I just forwent it all and did nothing, it was freeing. Maybe this is the year you throw caution into the wind and skip it as well. Or maybe a nice e-card will do for you. A relative of ours once decided to just call everyone on their list and chat instead of sending cards.
2. Don’t make it all about the Gifts
Let’s not get too crazy. It would be hard to do Christmas here in our happy first world country without some gifts or expectations of them. But maybe, just maybe, we can gift a little less this year with tangible gifts and perhaps we can give more of our time and talents.
Consider ways you can serve your community, your church, your neighbor and even your family. There are so many ways that you can make this a part of your Christmas traditions.
- Visit a senior center or nursing home, if you have a child that plays an instrument or sings have them play for them.
- Volunteer at the food bank, sorting food or putting together baskets
- Choose a child or a family to sponsor for Christmas
- Invite a neighbor over for dinner
- Participate in Operation Christmas Child
- Spend the month doing kind things for those around you. (Grab this blessing calendar)
3. Celebrate Advent
I’m ashamed to say that we only started celebrating Advent in the last few years. I never really understood what it was all about until recently. It’s simple really, advent is a time to prepare our hearts for Christmas. This can be done by:
- Lighting Advent Candles and discussing the meaning of each one
- Doing a Jesse tree and reading the verses that go along with each ornament.
- Having morning or nightly devotions and prayer
4. Make Memories and Traditions
Your family may not remember what you gave them for Christmas, but they will remember the things you did and how they felt during it. If you don’t already have Christmas Traditions, choose a few things that would be fun and meaningful to everyone and make it happen.
- Gather your friends and have a gingerbread bread house decorating party
- Make Christmas cookies and deliver them to neighbors
- Go Ice skating
- Purchase the Shepherd on the Search
- Have fun with the Elf on the Shelf, but for the love of the season, please don’t make him naughty!
- Make hot cocoa and go look at Christmas Lights
- Have a Birthday Party for Jesus
- Have a Christmas Movie Marathon
- Make snowmen together (no snow? have a paper snowball fight)
- On Christmas eve, wait until midnight to put Jesus in the manger
- Act out the Christmas story and record it every year. Watch the previous years recording.
However you decide to celebrate this season, whether you are an all in kind of gal or you just want to throw up a tree and call it done. Keep the main thing – the MAIN thing.
What are you doing this year to have a more meaningful Christmas season?