Marking off the days on an advent calendar, slipping into brand new pajamas Christmas Eve, and singing carols around the neighborhood may be a few of the family traditions you resurrect each Christmas. This year, add another tradition to the holiday mix. This list is a compilation of new ideas and old traditions my family has enjoyed for years.
New Traditions to Do with Your Family
The Traveling Nativity
Set up the manger from your family’s nativity scene in the same room as your Christmas tree (or the main living space in your house). Then, put the shepherds and their sheep, Mary and Joseph, and the wise men in different places around your home. As Christmas draws near, move the pieces closer and closer to the manger. It’s a great visual way to count down the days to Christmas and teach your children about Christ’s birth at the same time. Each year as a child, I’d rush to find where the shepherds, the wise men, and Mary and Joseph, moved that day.
Adorn Your Bedroom Doors
You’ve seen office and classroom doors decorated for the holidays. But, have you ever thought about bringing that creativity home? Get the kids involved in decorating the house this Christmas by giving them crafts and lights to adorn their bedroom door. It’s a fun way for them to express love for God and the reason we celebrate – His Son, Jesus Christ.
Give Christmas Away
Teach your children to be givers by providing for a family in need, a military family, orphanage, or widow. Buy a small tree, some twinkling lights, and enough food for a good meal for Christmas day. Pack the food, decorations, and lights in a box, along with a Christmas card that shares the season’s Good News. Then, drop the tree and packed box off at the family’s home without them seeing you. This will teach your children that it’s not about having your gift noticed, but about giving to bless others and honor the Lord.
Gingerbread House Decorating Party
Invite friends and families over for an informal holiday party to decorate gingerbread houses. Buy a kit (or be adventurous and create a house from scratch) and decorate it with your kids and company. This party idea is especially fun for families with young children. They will love helping make their gingerbread house ready for Christmas. When you’re done, you have a wonderful memory and centerpiece to enjoy the rest of the holiday season.
The Christmas Walkabout
Embrace the light extravaganzas in your city. Grab some hot cocoa and your scarves and gloves and stroll the neighborhood for the best spots to see the Christmas lights with your family and friends. It’s a chance to gawk at the lights, but also to meet the neighbors.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Celebrate our Savior’s birth at church. Many local congregations have Christmas Eve services. If yours does not, find a local church that does and join them. Take your family, but also be sure to invite family and friends who wouldn’t usually attend a service. Introduce them to the Reason for the Season.
Christmas Cookies for Cops (Firefighters, EMS…)
As we’re enjoying our family time, let’s not forget about those who are on duty Christmas day. Plate a bunch of Christmas cookies you’ve made with kids and take them to your local police precinct or fire station house as a family. Before you get to baking though, check with the precinct or station house to make sure they can accept your homemade delights.
Source: www.cbn.com; Hannah Goodwyn; 2013.