Here are 10 super simple ways to teach your kids the real meaning of Christmas! There are so many fun things to see, do and prepare during the Christmas season, but sometimes I find the real meaning gets lost in all of the busy-ness. Let’s bring CHRIST back into Christmas, shall we?!
1. The Gift of Prayer
Christmas is about encountering Jesus, right? So take a gift bag or box and each night have your child share the name of someone who they pray encounters Jesus this Christmas. Write it on a slip of paper and put it in the box. Keep the box from year to year and continue to pray the gift of Christmas reaches their hearts.
2. Care with Cookies
Decorate (not bake, remember, I said, super simple!) so cookies and share them with neighbors, friends, teachers and coaches. Invite them to your Christmas service at church. If you can, find Nativity cookie cutters and share with them who the cookies represent. One year when my kids were getting ready to make cookies, my son pulled out a skull cookie cutter from Halloween. My daughter insisted he could not make skull cookies for Christmas. He put his chubby three year old hands on his hips and emphatically declared, “YES you can, because if you don’t know about Jesus coming at Christmas then you’re just flat out dead!” Needless to say, I realized we had some discussions that needed to take place before we delivered our cookies.
3. The Road to Bethlehem
Once we put our nativity scene out, we keep Mary, Joseph and Jesus out of it. We put them at one end of the house and each night we move closer and closer to Bethlehem. As we take our 5 or 10 steps each night, we thank God for the gift of Christmas and name 5 or 10 things for which we are grateful.
4. Hide & Go Seek
An alternative to #3 is to move Mary, Joseph and Jesus throughout your house in the middle of the night and have your kids search for them in the morning. Have they made it to Bethlehem yet? You can put them in silly places that make your kids laugh- like the bathtub- and talk about how they had to travel across a desert landscape where there was very little water. You can shelf the creepy elf that requires mess making Shenanigans and play hide and go seek instead!
5. Visit a farm
Kids love animals, but would they want to sleep in a barn with those messy stinky animals? This opens up great conversations about why the God Who created all the earth would choose to come as a baby and be born in such lowly conditions.
6. A Santa Solution
Truth be told, I had a hard time with the Santa thing. I grew up with Santa and it was a great tradition in our home. Of course I figured out Santa wasn’t real and realized my parents had pulled off a colossal charade for the first 8 years of my life. I didn’t want our kids being the Santa naysayers on the playground at school, but I also didn’t want Christmas being all about him either. So….we watched the Polar Express and talked about the little boy in the rubber boots who only got one present for Christmas. We told our kids that since they got SO MANY presents from their grandparents, we told Santa to give his gifts for them to a little boy and girl who were only going to receive one. My daughter, always thinking ahead says, “Well, can you ask Santa what he is planning on bringing me because I might want to trade one of my other gifts with him!” Yeah, I have my work cut out for me over here!
7. Operation Christmas Child
This is such a great organization and truly a super simple way to teach your kids about the real meaning of Christmas. Every year my kids look forward to filling their shoeboxes! Visit Samaritan’s Purse for more information.
8. Give and Get
After Christmas is over, I have our kids count up all of their gifts. How many did they receive? Then we go into their bedroom and choose some things to give. Toys they no longer play with. Clothes that are too small. We talk about how blessed we have been to have been given so many things. Christmas is about giving though, not getting. Now we must give.
9. The Christmas Story
Before our kids were born, I started collecting children’s books about Christmas. When they were little I would wrap up the books or put them in gift bags and each night they would take turns choosing one. We would read the books at bedtime. There are so many wonderful children’s books that focus on the real meaning of Christmas! B Is For Bethlehem, The Christmas Story by Max Lucado, and You Are My Miracle are a few of our family favorites!
10. Remind Yourself
This may be last, but it’s certainly not least! As parents, the number one way we teach our children the real meaning of Christmas is to remind ourselves of the incredible truth of Immanuel, God With Us! Having trouble? Join me on my Advent VLOG Series where we press pause for ten minutes and refocus on Jesus! Plus you can win some free books too!
Erica Wiggenhorn is the author of An Unexplainable Life & The Unexplainable Church. She is a regular guest speaker at women’s events and loves to encourage young moms. You can find out more about Erica’s books and events at www.ericawiggenhorn.com
Photo Credit: Sarah Hoag Photography