With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s not surprising to see Christmas decorations going up in stores. While I think it’s a little too early, it has its intended affect on me. I start to get excited. And for young children and many adults, a long period of preparation and build up only leads to disappointment. So here are a few things that might help.
1. Find a good Advent reading guide and spend 10-15 minutes each evening reading Scripture as a family.
2. Discover Christmas traditions from other countries and pick one to try.
3. Find out how to say Merry Christmas in 10 other languages.
4. Look up where the word holiday (holy day) and Christmas (Christ mass) come from and discuss their meaning.
5. Learn one new Christmas Carol. Here is a link to my favorite new one. It’s especially poignant since my divorce. That’s Christmas to Me
6. With older kids, decide on one way to contribute to those in need not just at Christmas but all year long. Suggestions include tutoring younger kids, reading at the local library or to seniors.
7. Wrap baby Jesus from the nativity and unwrap him Christmas Eve while reading the Christmas Story. Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-14, Luke 2:15-20, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 2:14
8. Start a tradition of playing your favorite game on the Saturday nights in December.
9. Bake cookies, make fudge, a cake, a pie whatever reminds you the most of your own childhood Christmas and pass it on.
10. Invite “strays” for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. There any many people, including me, who may have nowhere to go to celebrate.
11. Write down a blessing each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Each family member). Place them in a jar and read them on January 1st.
12. Find and go to a holiday concert or play. Many high schools have free concerts and community theaters may offer a low cost alternative to seeing a professional production. There are also community orchestras which are less expensive.
13. Find the best Christmas light displays in your community and make a photo scrapbook.
14. Hold a potluck and invite your friends to a Christmas Carol sing-a-long.
Whatever you do, share it with those you love and most importantly know this: it’s not how many gifts your children receive or how expensive they are. What they will remember are the memories you make together.
My girls in 1991 in dresses I made for them.