062: Kids: A More Meaningful Christmas
What is the reason for the season? To celebrate the birth of Christ
- Have a birthday party for Jesus
- Look at Christmas lights together as a family
- Reflect on the symbols of Christmas and how they all bring us back to Christ
- Decorate your home with nativity scenes
- Read “A Christ Centered Christmas” by Emily Belle Freeman and learn more about each character of the nativity followed by a simple, festive activity that correlates with that character.
- Enjoy fun activities together as a family such as sledding, watching a Christmas movie, or playing games at home.
- End the day with thoughtful and sweet Christmas stories to help put the family in the right frame of mind for Christmas, that of giving and sharing love with others.
- Talent show – sing, play instruments, do a Christmas reading, puppet show.
Simplify to just three gifts per person, in remembrance that Christ received three gifts too from the wise men. Again another way to draw focus back to Christ.
If this is something you are just starting, it may take a year or two to transition from lots of gifts to the more meaningful three gifts.
Mitchells give one gift the receiver WANTS, one gift the receiver NEEDS, and one MEANINGFUL gift. The meaningful gift could be homemade, or an experience gift like piano lessons, a pass to the local zoo or kids museum, or a family day of skiing together.
For kids who LOVE the magic of Santa, you could do the three gifts plus one more from Santa.
When the kids realized they were only getting three gifts, it toned down the gimmies as they evaluated what they really wanted the most.
Also encourage children to buy gifts for others.
Worldwide Service Projects
Mitchells helped another local church put together shoeboxes of gifts to send to orphanages around the world for Christmas. It was a great experience for their family as they focused on others with less, knowing how much it would mean to them. It also helped them realize how much they had to be grateful for.
Mitchells have some family friends who host a Backyard Winter Party every December. Before the event, they choose a local charity, then call them and ask for a list of specific items they are in need of at that time. They pass on that list to all those invited to their Backyard Winter Party. At the Backyard Winter Party, the hosts provide chili, scones, donuts and hot chocolate and a place where people can come visit and enjoy being together. In exchange, they ask those attending to help with their selected charity cause that year and donate something off that list. That is a fun way to help a local charity.
Local family in need
When one of the Mitchell children was in preschool, her teacher selected a family in need at Christmas time, found out what each family member needed, then put that list on little tags and hung them on a mini Christmas tree by the preschool door entrance. She then encouraged the kids and their families to pick a tag, buy the item, and then return it to deliver to this family in need. Mitchells let their preschooler select the tag depicting what gift to buy, took her to the store and let her pick the item to fulfill the needs on the selected tag, helped her wrap the present, and then let her deliver it back to her preschool teacher. It may have taken longer to involve her in the process, but it was a lot more meaningful for her.
Service for your family
Many families have a little empty wooden manger that can be filled with straw each time there is an act of service done in the home. When a family member performs a good deed, they follow up by adding one piece of straw to the manger. Eventually that bed is soft and padded in anticipation of the new baby Jesus to lay in.
Meals on Wheels
When the Mitchells spend Christmas at the grandparent’s house in Wyoming, they spend part of their Christmas day delivering meals to elderly and the homebound. The grandkids love this tradition of helping others who can’t help themselves, as well as providing a holiday break for those who deliver meals every other day of the year.