Do you feel like Christmas gets more and more about Santa and less and less about Christ each year? To be honest, I know I contribute to this feeling because one of my favorite things about Christmas is GIVING gifts. I think about gifts all year round, starting my shopping in May and June, scouring garage sales and thrift stores for great steals, and starting projects in the summer when I have more time. Then, as Christmas nears, I can’t wait to wrap presents and I get so giddy about giving them on Christmas day. I can hardly wait. So I can understand when my kids get excited about GETTING the presents I’ve been so excited about GIVING.
But that’s not what I want Christmas to be about. Christmas is about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. It’s about service. It’s about giving. It’s about serving others. It’s about love and light. It is not about getting gifts, or Santa coming, or whether we can bribe our children to be “nice” for one month out of the year. Yes, those things add to the magic of Christmas, but I don’t want them to be the focus in our home.
Don’t get me wrong. We build up Santa BIG in our family. My two year old is in love with the big man. She talks about him year round. While she refuses to sit on his lap, he comes close to being her favorite person. So our Christmas isn’t DEVOID of Santa, it’s just heavier on Christ. At least we try to make it that way.
I’ve loved reading online other blogger’s ideas of having a Christ centered CHRISTmas. I love their ideas. I love Heidi’s post about the service count-down chain. Here are some things we’ve done in our home this year to keep us focused on Christ:
First, our decorations. I’ve tried to keep Santa out of our decorations as much as possible. Our main decorations are our nativities which sit in our most used room: the dining room.
We talk about them often and use them as props to explain the Christmas story…over and over and over. We even have this excellent wood and felt set that is great for kids that they can play with in the playroom. It is really simple to make and fun to have.
I also just finished making this wonderful advent calendar. I love counting down the days to Christmas, but I want the countdown to have meaning. This advent calendar is simple, but the pieces you put on the tree each day are elements of the nativity scene. I love that! These pieces are made from shrinky-dinks…can’t beat that! It was so fun to remember using shrinky-dinks as a kid.
Finally, I made our stockings to reflect the Christmas story. It flows in order, so the first is my husbands: the scriptures being opened to Luke 2. Mine is the angel appearing to Joseph in a dream and also to Mary, telling them they would be the parents of the Savior of the world. Next comes Joseph and Mary’s travels to Bethlehem. Then they are told there is no room in the inn, so Mary delivers Jesus in the stable. Next, there are shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. We’ve made 4 more for the children we hope to have that will show the angels coming to the shepherds, the wise men coming, and then finally the manger scene with angels, shepherds, and wise men adoring the holy family (yeah, I know it’s not historically correct). I love looking at them and having the story predominantly on our wall.
We have been reading the parts in the New Testament that recount the different elements of the Christmas story, like in Matthew chapter 1 and 2, and Luke 2. The girls don’t listen too well, but at least we’re trying, right?
Each Christmas Eve growing up was the most spiritual feast about Christ and Christmas in the season. The entire thing was focused on our Savior, be it thru song, scripture reading, service, nativity reenactments, etc. I love doing that and really drawing on the power of the spirit at such an important time.
And finally, this year we’ve started a list of Gifts of Service to our Savior Jesus Christ. I want my girls and my family to be looking for ways to serve others. My oldest is loving this and looks at the list daily (though she can’t read all the words) because she knows that she has done some of the things on the list. She’s looking for more and more ways to serve. I love that.
There are hundreds of other ways to bring Christ into CHRISTmas. These are just a few that we’ve done this year. I hope to add more and more each year.