Merry Christmas, y’all!
This year we were blessed to have 4 experienced moms share their family Christmas traditions with us. They shared some educational traditions, some easy traditions, and even some tradition fails! Above all, they each reminded us to give ourselves grace. Don’t stress. The best traditions are simple and short, especially if you want to keep your littles’ attention. Here’s a quick overview of the traditions they shared and a few extras, too. Take a moment and share your favorite traditions with us on Facebook!
Every Day Traditions #everydaytradition
25 Pockets with the Names of Jesus: 25 pockets made out of fabric or paper, displayed around the house or mantel, each with a different name of Jesus (and sometimes a surprise). The Word, Lamb, Savior, Light of the World, Prince of Peace… Age to start: 1 or 2 years old.
Once a Week Traditions #onceaweektradition
Family Advent Wreath: A wreath with 5 candles. One for each of the 4 Sundays before Christmas and then one for Christmas Day. Maybe keep it on the kitchen table or dining room table. Here is an example of one family’s Advent Wreath from the Houston Moms Blog. Age to start: 1 or 2 years old.
One Day Traditions #onedaytradition
On Christmas morning, talk about the reason we get/give gifts. Gifts symbolize God’s greatest gift – Jesus and how he leads us to eternal life. Have each child pick one gift that they receive and unwrap on Christmas morning, to give to a family in need. This gives you the opportunity to explain to children that we don’t just give away our leftover, used toys that we don’t want anymore, but also our new and highly-desired toys, because God doesn’t give us His leftover blessings – He gives us His best; He gave us His only son. Age to start: 3 or 4 years old.
Simple Traditions that Your Kids Will Remember #keepitsimple
Decorating the Christmas Tree on a specific day (like Saturday after Thanksgiving). Any age!
Our Jesse Tree (or make one with your kids). Any age!
Christmas Tradition Fails (but, hey, maybe these will work better for your family!) #traditionfail
Prophecy envelopes: make 25 envelopes, each holding a piece of paper that has an Old Testament prophecy on one side and the New Testament fulfillment on the other side. Then make your family sit and listen to one each day! What could go wrong? (Apparently this only lasted one year!)
Christmas Nail: Making a Christmas ornament out of a really big nail, like the one that would have been used to crucify Jesus, and linking Christmas to the crucifixion. A little intense, but true. Maybe for older kids?!? One of our 4 experienced-mom speakers, Carrie Runn, said her own daughter called this a tradition fail. But she remembered it, and that’s the point, right moms? (If your nail is still missing, Carrie, you can buy one here for just $4.99!)
Advent Activities #adventactivity
Finding Treasure (Age to start: older preschool)
Supplies (per kid):
- Tin can painted/covered in black (“Can of Darkness”)
- Small treasure boxes (example: shoe box with Dollar Store prizes)
- Flash light (“The Light of Christ”)
Instructions: At night, hide treasure boxes in the house. Turn off all the lights. Hand kids the “can of darkness.” Tell them to use the can to find the treasure. When they can’t (because all the lights are off and the dark can doesn’t help you see in the dark), hand them each a flashlight which will help them see in the dark to find the treasure. Moral: Darkness doesn’t take you to the treasures of heaven, only the light of Christ does.
For more advent activities, check out James Dobson, Christ in Christmas book including activities and songs.
Budget Traditions #budgettradition
When I was growing up, there were a lot of years that my mom and I didn’t have extra money at Christmas time. Being a savvy single mom, she incorporated some traditions that were easy on the wallet.
Epiphany Gifts: One year she told me we were exchanging gifts on Epiphany (Jan 6, also called Three Kings Day) because that’s when the Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus. Turns out her actual motivation was hitting After-Christmas Sales!
Santa Brings the Christmas Tree: When my mom was growing up with 8 siblings, they were also tight on money. Their tradition was that Santa brought the Christmas Tree, which meant my Grandpa could get one on sale on Christmas Eve! He and my Grandma must have stayed up all night decorating it!
So what are your favorite Christmas traditions? Which ones have you tried with your littles this year? Did you have a #everydaytradition that turned into a #traditionfail sometime around December 7? Or December 2? Share with us on Facebook in The Ridge MOPS private Facebook group using the above hashtags!
Above all, remember the tradition your kids will cherish the most is a non-stressed mom who rests in the love of Christ knowing the perfect Christmas has already happened. It’s not in the perfect presents, or perfect decorations, or perfect meal. The perfect Christmas already happened when Jesus was born.
Merry Christmas. We’ll see you back on Thursday, January 7, 2016! (Don’t forget to register!!)