Can you believe it—Christmas is just around the corner. The days will pass in a flurry of activities; but what if you and I could be intentional over the next few weeks to make Christmas meaningful?
What if this Christmas could mark your family’s hearts as a season of celebrating Jesus? Not sure how? I gotcha covered.
1. Begin Advent.
- Print an Advent Reading List have your kids read it in the car on the way to school, at breakfast or before bed each night.
- Create your own advent calendar or use mine. P.S. Click here for Printable Advent Calendar.
2. Play Hide & Seek – If you have younger kids, play hide and seek with Baby Jesus from your manger on Christmas morning before opening gifts.
3. Read stories about Christ’s birth as a family. Have each child read a verse.
4. Start a devotional together. We read Jesus Calling for kids. It’s on sale at Christianbook for $7.99! Ebook is $5.99!
5. Begin journaling prayers or thoughts about this season as a family. Purchase spiral bound notebooks and teach your older kids how to use S.O.A.P. You can click here for printable journal pages. For the little ones, have them color a picture or write one word about Jesus. When my kids were little, we used the word JOY: Jesus, Others, You.
6. Make the Nativity Scene the central focus of your home decor.
7. Cut back on all electronics except for the designated purpose of watching movies about Christmas, Christ’s birth or movies where the characters are God’s hands and feet. In our home, all devices are shut down and are out of the kids hands at 4 p.m. This gives us time to focus as a family and what is really important during this season.
8. Make a birthday cake for Jesus and have a party. My kids love this one. Even though they are 9, 11, and 18 they still love this tradition. Who doesn’t love chocolate cake and celebrating the meaning of Christmas.
9. Give your kids the gift of giving: Have them shop with purpose. This year we are giving our kids money to shop from the Compassion gift catalog or World Vision. My kids are each giving up one gift so we can purchase a small flock of animals for a family through World Vision this year.
10. Volunteer at one central place where you and your family have a chance to make a lasting impact. This could be a soup kitchen, Jubilee Center, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or nursing homes. Another thought is helping with set up and tear down at your church if they are putting on a Christmas production.
11. Hang your stockings and add one for Jesus. Throughout the next few weeks, fill it with notes about thankfuls for Jesus. After your advent time or supper time, have each child write out a note.
12. Talk to your kids about God’s gift to us. You can even use What God Wants for Christmas for your little ones. We used it for 4 years! It’s on sale at Christianbook.com
13. Volunteer to help deliver gifts for ministries like Angel Christmas Tree; a ministry for children whose parents are in prison. We love delivering the gifts because we get to impact a family and bless their day—actually, it blesses us more. Click here to find one in your area.
14. Open your doors and invite people over for dinner throughout the season. Click here for ideas to host without feeling like your home needs to be perfect. Invite a person over for Christmas dinner who can’t be with their family. We live in a college town and have a plethora of kids to invite over.
15. Attend Christmas productions with your family and invite friends. My husband was came to Christ this way and I am forever grateful for that Production.
16. Attend Church on Christmas Eve! This is our favorite. Our church combines with others in the community and we light candles as we rejoice!! My kids are generally jumping up and down on the pew.
17. Consider being a foster family or praying for one.Granted this is a big commitment. But imagine kids in the foster care system who are in need of good homes. Discuss and pray about it this season with your family. Pray for children in the system and how God wants to use your family.
18. Have a Yule Log party. In the past, Yule Logs were brought over on Christmas eve and burned in the fireplace. While the massive log burned, prayers were said. You can create a yule log party and serve hot chocolate, egg nog and cinnamon rolls.
19. Talk to your kids about the symbols of Christmas. What does the tree represent, it’s colors and so forth. Click here for a 12 page downloadable book of the Symbols of Christmas.
20. Make a game of St. Nick. Whether you teach you kids to believe in Santa or not (no judging little mama!!), talk to your kids about why Nick gave hand carved gifts to kids. And compare to the gift of Jesus and those of the Wise men. Search for The Legend of St Nick: A Christmas Story of Giving.
21. Have a marshmallow & hot chocolate party. Roast marshmallows over your fire place or stove. Add candy canes and talk about the colors with your little ones.
22. Have Christmas music playing in your home when the family is gathered. Pandora and Youtube can help create the perfect mix of worship, mellow Christmas songs.
23. Go Christmas caroling to places like the burn unit, nursing homes, friends and so forth. Your children will love being able to make someone smile with their voices.
24. Make homemade gifts like:
25. Write letters as a family and make the personal. Include what God has done this year and not just accomplishments.
26. Set up a hot cocoa stand near a freeway overpass or anywhere else homeless people congregate in your town and give hot cocoa out for free. Or set it up in the parking lot of a local shopping center or mall.
27. Put up your lights this year – it’s an altruistic gift to others who see the lights and are better able to get into the mood and spirit of the holiday.
28. Pay it forward: pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant or when in line for coffee, pay for the person order behind you.
29. Add a meaningful note to lunch boxes: In your spouse and kids lunchboxes, add a note about what you are grateful for this Christmas season about them.
30. Watch The Nativity Story together as a family. We started this tradition two years ago. I think this PG movie tells the greatest story ever told very well. Encourage your tweens and teens to invite friends.
31. Make Sunday dinner for your co-workers if you work Sundays like I do. I bring crock-pot of soup with all the fixings including homemade bread. My husband is an amazing cook and helps prep all the goodies the day before. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be all homemade. Need ideas? Check out My Recipe List.
32. Prepare a place setting for Jesus at the table.
33. Mentor a mom: I’ve been blessed to be mentored by a wonderful woman. We meet one to two times a month. In turn I mentor single moms. These mentoring moments have turned into deep friendships for which I am so thankful for. These women add depth to my life. Consider mentoring someone.
34. Adopt an International Student. I love that my church does this. Consider opening your home to international students for the season or commit to a longer period. Bring them over for movie nights, family nights or outings. Any time they spend with your family as you engage in holiday traditions creates meaning for them and they begin to understand Christmas. In turn it will bless your family and give your family a new perspective on a new culture.
34. Let your child become Santa. If your child has figured out that Santa isn’t real, inspire them to be “Santas” to other children in need. Let them pick out the gifts, wrap it and pray over the gift.
35. Make meals for a busy mom or single mom. Several mamas I know are slightly frazzled this season. Consider gathering a few girlfriends and make meals for one mom or a homeless shelter. Nothing comforts the soul like homemade food.
36. Give to a missions. Give outside the norm this year if your budget allows. This year. Even though we are sacrificing our budget, we are cutting back in other areas so we can give to a mission family we know.
37. Write a letter to a missonary. This idea is dear to my heart because I spent. Many missionaries are unable to travel home for the holidays, so Christmas can be a very lonely time for them. Write a special letter to a missionary of your choice and thank them for giving their life in service to the Lord. Trust me—it will mean more than you can imagine.
38. Declutter and Donate: I keep a tote in each child’s room. As they grow, I put new and gently used items in these boxes and then I ask my kids to donate toys they rarely play with that are gently used. These items then go to places like a homeless shelter or Crisis center where families have little to nothing. It opens our children’s hearts to the fact that Jesus gave so much for us and my home is de-cluttered!! It also makes room for new gifts too.
40. Send out cards. As a family, let your kids write out why they are thankful for someone. Consider adopting a solider too! This year I am focusing on my older brother with special needs. We will be sending out one card a day until Christmas.
41. Consider making homemade ornaments or give your kids their own tree to decorate. My kids have little trees we purchased from Menards for $9.99! Each year, they decorate the tree how they want and use things from around the house that they are thankful for.
42. Leave the nativity manger out all year long. We did this when my son was a toddler. My older daughter and son played with the manager more than any other toy over that entire year.
43. After Christmas: Spend this time individually or as a family. Reflect on the central themes that emerged for your family this year. Then seek God and ask him for what he has for your family this coming year.
I truly hope you find something in this list that stands out and grabs your heart. Keep in mind we don’t want to fill our season with busyness but only doing something that will create meaning and depth to this season. Celebrate life, create joy-filled moments and love your family as you reflect on how to make your season central to Christ and Christmas.