For many people Christmas is a season of shopping and hectic schedules. For all the talk that we hear of the spirit of the Christmas season, it is becoming a holiday that has lost its meaning.
As parents of two children, my wife and I try to keep the true meaning and spirit of the Christmas season alive in our home. That Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus is lost to many people. We have done many things to teach and to refresh the meaning of this season to our children.
Here are some great ways to keep the true spirit of the Christmas season alive in your home.
1. Buy an Advent book. This book will lead you through Christmas, explaining everything that many take for granted. We will read a story every night and then have a discussion about the topic. Kids will ask different questions every year. As they mature it doesn’t mean they have it all figured out, they just have a different perspective each season.
2. I built a wooden manger with my daughter and son out of scrap wood. They both helped to add straw and decorations. This was a way to spend some time with my kids, but to also create something that will last as the Christmas holidays pass by.
We also let the kids set up the manger scene each, placing the figures where they see fit. I like to ask why they go where they are each year, this gives them a chance to consider the manger scene and birth of Jesus.
3. To help keep the anticipation alive for the season we usually take a little while to put the decorations up. This keeps our kids’ excitement up, instead of putting everything up in one shot and then they forget about them, losing the spirit in the beginning.
4. Each year our family will try to make a new decoration for Christmas. Last year we built a large wooden snowman, attached lights to his outline and now he has a spot in front of our house. Many of these projects do not tie directly to the birth of Jesus, but the extra time that we can spend together as a family is the key. With this time we can further answer any questions they have about the season.
5. With the decorations that we set up each year, we will explain their meaning and how they belong in the Christmas season. The Advent book will aid a family with this as it helps with some of the explanations.
6. We like to emphasize helping others during the Christmas season. The season does not call for us to only take gifts, but to give to others. One thing to do is to have everyone give at least one thing that they would like to do to help others, that is their Christmas present back. Our family will go out during the year and feed homeless from our mini van. We will do this during the month of December and on Christmas night, the perfect time.
Whatever a family can do to better understand the meaning and history of Christmas is time well spent. So you can use these activities and hopefully add your own as the each Christmas comes.