I received some Christmas Items from DaySpring to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that Christmas isn’t like it used to be. As a child, I remember seeing a lot more nativity scenes, hearing people talk about the reason we celebrate Christmas, and actually hearing “Merry Christmas”. Now, I see more emphasis on Santa Claus and hear “Happy Holidays”. In some places, you are given weird looks when you greet someone with “Merry Christmas!” I live in south Alabama (the Bible Belt), and if things have changed that much here, I can imagine it’s even more of a change throughout the rest of the country. If you’re like me and want to keep Christ in Christmas, here are some ideas for you and your family to do this Christmas.
7 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas:
1. Put Up a Nativity Scene.
This is, perhaps, one of the easiest ways to keep Christ in Christmas. Put up a nativity scene in a prevalent place in your home. Get creative and set it up as a center piece, on top of the mantle, or another place where it can be seen every day. Additionally, if it’s in a place that can be seen every day, your guests will more than likely see it as well.
2. Do a Project to Give Back Together as a Family.
I don’t know about your kids, but some years my kids can be. . . well kids, and only talk about the gifts they will receive. I don’t want my kids to think of gifts when they see Christmas decorations, listen to Christmas music, or even hear talk about Christmas. I want my kids to think about the greatest gift ever given to us-Jesus being born so He could die on the cross for our sins. Since Christmas is all about celebrating Jesus Christ, I want my kids to experience giving something that a price tag cannot be put on. The easiest way to teach my children about giving back is to do a project with them, and talk about why you are doing a project together.
Family Project Ideas:
- Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box.
- Volunteering in the Soup Kitchen/Homeless Shelter.
- Go shopping together to purchase a meal for a family in need.
- Buy Christmas Gifts for families who cannot afford to do so.
- Buy and donate toys to Toys for Tots or another organization.
- Ring the bell for the Salvation Army Bucket.
- Sing Christmas Carols at a nursing home.
- Sponsor a child in a third world country.
- Send your sponsored child a gift.
- Visit a children’s hospital and read books and/or play games with some of the children.
- Do yard work for an elderly neighbor.
- Take a hot beverage to service workers who work in the cold (police officers, utility workers, etc.).
- Bake cookies and deliver them to your neighbors.
3. Do a Christmas Family Devotional.
I know it is hard for my family to sit down long enough to do a devotional together because of short attention spans. I recommend The Shepherd on the Search 25-Day Family Devotional Advent Book. It’s a great devotional and is designed to read together as a family. It goes through the Christmas Story during the 25 days in a way kids can understand.
4. Read the Christmas Story Together.
When I was growing up, my parents made sure the Christmas Story was included in our Christmas Celebrations. Each Christmas Eve, we would sit on the couch or around the Christmas Tree and my dad would read the Christmas Story out of Luke. This is a fond memory I have, and it’s something I have continued with my girls.
5. Send Christmas Cards with a Bible Verse.
An easy way to keep Christ in Christmas is to send Christmas Cards with a spiritual message. I’m not talking about writing out the entire Christmas Story, stuffing a sermon down anyone’s throat, or by being dogmatic. A simple card with a verse on the inside or at the bottom is a good way to show others what your family believes. DaySpring has a lot of really cute cards to choose from, and they are big enough to include a current picture of the kids.
6. Attend a Christmas Service Together.
There is always a long line to see Santa Claus, sold out performances of the Nutcracker Ballet, and no open parking spaces at major retailers during December. This conveys busyness and can lead to stressed out parents. Attending a Christmas Service together can be stress free, uplifting, and it’s such an easy way to keep Christ in Christmas.
7. Dump the Elf on the Shelf.
The Elf on the Shelf tradition quickly took off a few years back. Kids seem to love the magic of the elf that flies back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa Claus on the child’s behavior. While this can be a fun tradition, it’s focusing on Santa Claus instead of Jesus.
Instead of doing Elf on the Shelf this Christmas, try The Shepherd on the Search. It’s like Elf on the Shelf, but it focuses on Jesus. Instead of the elf reporting to the North Pole each night, the shepherd hides in a new place. The object is for one of the kids to find him first each morning. On Christmas Eve, the shepherd will be placed next to the manger and his search will be over. It’s a fun way to remember the reason of the season and to keep Christ in Christmas. (The Shepherd on the Search costs about the same amount as the Elf on the Shelf.)
In addition to The Shepherd on the Search Kit (comes with the book and shepherd), there are other Shepherd Items to keep your kids focused on the reason for the season. My girls really enjoyed the Children’s Activity Book, and it is just $3.99!
Be sure to check out DaySpring’s Christmas Preview. They offer a lot of activities to do with your family, decorations, cards, and so much more! Be sure to go ahead and order your Shepherd on the Search Kit so you can start this new tradition with your family.