The real meaning of Christmas can get lost in the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and decorating. These 10 suggestions will help you and your family focus on Christ and also help you share His message with people who need to hear. You’ll have a lot of fun in the process too!
- Christmas card prayers – At the dinner table or at bedtime each night, pray for the families you received cards from that day. Use a basket or some other kind of container to hold the cards and keep it on the dinner table or nightstand.
- Play the Christmas story – Use a toy nativity set to act out the story of Christmas with your children or grandchildren. I bought a cloth version for my grandson at a craft show. Fisher Price has a really cute one too. Available at Family Christian Store.
- Gifts for needy children – Help your children experience the joy of helping others. Connect with a faith-based charity through which you can help provide for children in need at Christmas. Efforts like Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan’s purse and Angel Tree by Prison Fellowship are two good choices!
- Hang The Christmas Nail – Years ago someone gave our family “The Christmas Nail.” It’s a six-inch sturdy spike with a red ribbon through a hole in the top. Here’s the short poem that accompanies the nail:
This is the Christmas Nail. It is to be hung on a sturdy branch, a branch near the trunk, a branch that will hold such a spike without being noticed by well-wishers dropping by to admire one’s tinseled tree. The nail is known only to the home that hangs it. Understood only by the heart that knows its significance. It is hung with the thought The Christmas tree but foreshadows the Christ-tree which only He could decorate for us, ornamented with nails as this.
You can purchase your own nail here. I have also made nails – using spikes I purchased at a hardware store and red ribbon – to give to friends and neighbors for their own trees. Make hanging the nail a meaningful event. Gather the family around the tree and decide how the “hanger” will be chosen. For example, it could be the youngest or oldest. Pray and contemplate Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.
5. Bread of Life for the neighbors – A yummy Christmas gift can double as a message of life. Gather the family in the kitchen and make an event out of baking small loaves of sweet bread. If the family doesn’t enjoy cooking, you can do the baking and then the family can help wrap the loaves and go together to make the deliveries to the neighbors. Wrap the bread in pretty cellophane and add a tag with John 6:35. “Jesus is the bread of life.” I have a recipe for Pumpkin-Cranberry bread that everyone loves. It’s festive and can be doubled or even tripled!
6. Musically spread the Good News – We have at least one caroling group stop by our house every year. However, I’ve noticed the groups sing mostly secular Christmas songs. You and your family can share the real reason for the season with your neighbors. Make caroling a festive party by asking a few Christian friends to join you. Gather at your house first for a quick practice session. Make sure your carols spread the Good News by including songs like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” After caroling in your neighborhood, serve hot cocoa and goodies back at your house for the carolers.
7. Birthday party for Jesus – last week, Patti shared about hosting a children’s birthday party for Jesus. Read more about this outreach event.
8. Read the Christmas story – We read the entire Christmas story on Christmas Eve. However, if your children are young, break the story up over several nights. I found two great downloadable resources at FamilyReadingBible.com you should check out. One is a Christmas story reading plan that lists readings from December 13 through Christmas Day. The other is a Bible story reading booklet to print!
9. Watch “The Nativity Story” – The biblical Christmas story comes to life right in your living room when you watch this beautiful movie with the family. Rent it at your neighborhood video store, Netflix, or iTunes, or buy it at Amazon to watch every year!
10. Celebrate the advent – Anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ arrival by adapting traditional advent activities for home. Focus on the Family has some great resources.
I’d love to know how these work for you. Also, feel free to share your suggestions for meaningful activities with us!