Don't lose Jesus in all the other Christmas stuff!!!
This season of His birth should be all about waiting for Him expectantly and rejoicing in His arrival.
Whatever we do to celebrate Christmas it should be about adoring Him!
1. Get our your manger scene and turn a Bible to Luke chapter 2, the story if Jesus' birth. Give these a place of prominence in your home. You can download free manger scenes that you print out for children to move the characters as you tell the story of Christmas.
2. Establish the habit of meeting together as a family to do an Advent calendar of activities, or read scripture or Christmas stories each evening of as often as possible.
Our family did this before bedtime, all cuddled up on the couch by the tree. Even as teens and now adults they remember fondly the stories I clipped from magazines about selfless acts of service and Christmas miracles and still want to read old favorites. The Jesus Story Book Bible has a adding for each day, begin at the front and day 24 brings you to the Birth of Jesus, and God's great rescue plan for his people has arrived.
Togetherness is what matters here, as well as refocusing on the reason for the season.
3. Make your home an inviting place to be...inviting, not perfect, not magazine worthy, not spectacular!
You can decorate with very little..a tree perhaps, or even little trees from the thrift store, or evergreen branches stuck in bottles. Make handmade ornaments, put out favorites with lights. Part of the fun is seeing everyone's favorite ornaments again. We always chose an ornament that reminded us of a milestone in each child's life that year as a present ...a football player, a camper, ballerina, etc.
Shop for decor at your grocery store...put candy canes in mason jars along with other Christmas candy, have a big bowl of red and green apples, a glass container of lemons and limes. Have the kids stuff some oranges with whole cloves and place in a bowl with cinnamon sticks and pine comes. Shop for decor out your door...cut evergreen branches and gather pine cones for displays throughout the house. Shop your house..use thing in a different way. Put Christmas bows around stuffed animals in a wagon! Wrap your picture frames. Tie bows around your sofa pillows. Make a
"Snow village" with branches spray painted white, batting for snow and Epsom salt snow in mason jars with tea lights, or the snow spread on a tray with candles.
4. Make your family's favorite cookies and desserts. We have some cookies we only make at .Christmas...Reindeer Haystacks, which are chow mein noodles and melted chocolate chips and peanut butter. We do not make fancy cookies and neither should you unless you enjoy that! We do make a Jesus birthday cake, which I never dreamed would still be requested as it is only a jello poke cake with white cake mix and red and green jello, Who knew?
5. Cook ahead and freeze extra for busy days...chili, roast beef sandwiches, lasagna, etc. Have a stash of crackers, chips and dip for unexpected company.
6. Make your home smell like Christmas whether you bake or not. Collect peels from oranges and put in a small saucepan on your stove with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and some water. You can reuse this mixture several times.
7. Keep the grinch of consumerism and commercialism away...or it will steal your Christmas joy! Don't look at magazines, decor and fashions at the mall, or ads that urge you to spend more, and even make you discontent with what you have. This includes children.
8. Focus on giving..not "I want, I want". Have your children make a giving list and an acts of service list as their gift to Jesus!
9. Have a silent night. Sit together with just light from candles and of the Christmas tree. Play Christmas music and just ponder the wonder of Christmas in your heart. This is the way to truly adore Him!
10. Do less and enjoy the season more..your family will cherish memories you make together and you can enjoy the season. For too many years I tried to be the overachieving Mom and hostess, ending up frazzled and snippy with my family instead of relaxing and being present in the moment. I was thinking of the next items on my to do list and playing martyr because I has so much to do...a lot of which really didn't add me that much to our adoration of Jesus.
Let that be the funnel you sift activities through...do they help you worships Jesus and bring your family together or not?