I wanted to post some ideas for you and your family to do together, during the month leading up to Christmas. As you wait for the celebration of God breaking into history, take some much needed time together and try one or two (or all!) of these activities. I’ll try to mix up the involvement levels, but always keeping the focus where it should be…
1 – Try A Variation of the Nativity Set!
You could put a different figure in front of a family member’s plate at dinner. That evening ask each person to share what that character gave at Christ’s birth (i.e., Joseph gave Jesus a home, the angels gave good news announcement and a song of praise).
2 – A family I know buys just 3 gifts for each member of the family – one for each of the wisemen (okay, I know we don’t know how many there were…but we typically think of three). One gift is clothing, one is educational (book or game…) and one is just for fun. This keeps the budget down, and allows the focus to be taken off the pile under the tree.
3 – The first candle on the Advent wreath was Hope…the hope that we have through Jesus, the hope of God’s Kingdom coming soon…Elizabeth hoped for years that she would have a baby, and God answered that prayer. To remind ourselves of the hope:
Write the word HOPE in the centre of a paper plate, be sure to use a white crayon(another colour won’t work). Be sure the letters are large and thick. Then gently mist the plate with a spray bottle of water. The plate should be damp, without any puddles. Then using red, yellow and blue paint (if it’s poster paint, thin it with water), drop the watery colours onto the damp plate and tip it so the colours run together and form all the colours of the rainbow. See how the word HOPE shines through. Decorate the plate with ribbon or glitter and add it to your deorations.
4. Spend one night of the Christmas break sleeping on the living room floor. Be sure to keep the tree lights on (at least until the kids are asleep). Put on some Christmas music, or listen to the all Christmas radio station in your area (97.3 in Toronto). Take the time to talk about Christmas,and what each family member is most happy about. Then take time to remember all that God did for your family during the year that is ending. If you have a journal, record each family members thoughts. If you decide to make it a tradition, it will be a great thing to look back at each year…pray together, and thank God for being faithful for yet another year.
5 – I don’t know any family who doesn’t get a lot of Christmas cards. Most of us collect them in a basket or some other container. What if, when Christmas is over, we don’t just put them in the recycling. Find a nice low basket or other holder, and place the cards on your dinner table. At least once/week draw a card from the ones you received, and pray together for the household who sent it to you. Then, have the children make a card, and send a note telling that family what you did. It’s a great way to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for longer than New Year’s.
6. Ride around and look at Christmas lights. Discuss how Jesus came to be the Light of the World.
7. Make a birthday cake – or cupcakes and celebrate Jesus birthday.
8. Put on a Christmas Carol CD and sing along with it…even make up actions. It’s amazing how quickly kids remember the words to a song, when they have actions to go with them.