For the last few years, I’ve been on a mission to redeem Christmas.
Not from over-commercialization or de-Christianization, but from bad memories.
For me, the Christmas season carries a heavy load of memories about arguments over tree toppers, disappointments because I didn’t get someone “the perfect gift,” and general ill-feelings that I’ll never measure up.
I’d venture a guess that some of you may struggle with fully engaging the Christmas season, too.
After I shared my hesitance about Christmas, a gentle friend spoke these healing words to my heart:
“You may have bad Christmas memories in your past, but you can change all that. Starting right now, with your own little family, you can create Christmas traditions that will redeem this season. You can give your children the gift of fond memories and, in the process, your heart will grow to love the season once more.”
So that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Today, I’m sharing with you a selection of activities from my upcoming Advent Devotional that you can do with your family to infuse Christmas with more meaning and joy starting RIGHT NOW:
- Act out the nativity story with your family members (pets welcome).
- Write a Christmas verse on an index card and stick it on your fridge or mirror to memorize throughout the week (see beautiful Scripture Art here).
- Participate in Advent to teach your children the real meaning of Christmas.Unwrapping the Names of Jesus (my new devotional coming out November 26) includes a weekly family devotional that focuses on our reason for hope, preparation, joy and love at Christmas.
- Decorate the Christmas tree while you listen to Christmas carols. Work as a team and make it an expression of everyone’s creativity. (No domineering perfectionism here.)
- Consider buying gifts from non-profit organizations that offer hope to third world countries (see ideas on our Gifts that Give More Pinterest board).
- Don’t stress about things that really don’t matter this season. Identify what makes this season meaningful to your family, and feel free to say “no” to the rest.
- Make Christmas cards for a local hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
- Buy an angel tree gift for a child whose parent is in prison.
- Write a letter to Jesus, thanking Him for coming into our world and sharing what’s on your heart.
- Hang paper snowflakes throughout the house with names of people to pray for; as you pass by, pause for a moment to pray for that person.
- Watch DVDS like Why Do We Call It Christmas? and The Nativity Story together as a family. I’m all about bringing home the story of the real Christmas.
- Carol grandma and grandpa (the more off-tune, the better). Also, ask them to tell you stories about what Christmas was like when they were children.
- Dance to international/ethnic Christmas music (try this playlist to get you started).
- Set up a hot cocoa stand near a freeway pass or somewhere else where homeless people conglomerate and give hot cocoa out for free.
- Run/walk in a Holiday Family Fun Run to benefit a good cause. (This will be our 3rd year participating in our town’s Rudolph Run. Oh, such fun!)
- Write a note to each child sharing your favorite Christmas memory with them; tell them how lucky you are to be their mom and how grateful you are that they were born into your family.
- Make the Nativity interactive with tools like What God Wants for Christmas (from the creators of Resurrection Eggs).
- Volunteer to help decorate your church for the season (and/or take down decorations after Christmas).
- Host internationals for a Christmas brunch. Call a local college campus and ask them to connect you with students who can’t go home for winter break; offer to host a pancake breakfast for a few of them. (Or all of them! Several of my college friends raved about how loved they felt when professors had invited them into their home to share in the holidays.)
- Read Luke 2 together on Christmas morning after unwrapping gifts.
- Have a late-night hot chocolate date with your husband; rub his shoulders or feet and thank him for the many ways he serves you and the family.
- Deliver a food basket to a local homeless shelter.
- Go Christmas caroling at the local burn victims ward.
- Learn about the symbols of Christmas and talk about them as you see them pop up throughout the season.
- Read a daily personal devotion that unwraps the meaning of Christmas. There are so many good ones out there, but if you’re looking for a deep read that will draw you deeper into the character of Jesus, check out “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.“
How do you make Christmas meaningful? What are your favorite Christmas family traditions?
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