Are you looking for a way to bring Christ back into Christmas? There is so much competition out there with Santa, Elf on the Shelf, and what gifts to buy everyone for Christmas. By the time Christmas hits, you are so exhausted from all the preparations and shopping that you realize the whole reason for the season has been completely forgotten!
Even if you feel like a crazy South Pole elf right now, I’ve got you covered! Let me help you finish the season in a meaningful way!
A Christ-centered Christmas is certainly possible for your family! To make life a bit easier, I’ve compiled a list of meaningful Christmas traditions to help your family keep their focus on the Savior. My hope is you’ll find a fun, new Christ-centered Christmas tradition today!
Christ-Centered Christmas Traditions
1. The Savior’s Stocking
When you bring out the Christmas decorations, don’t forget to set out a stocking for baby Jesus! At the beginning of December, gather your family and talk about the gift of the Savior and explain the reason we give gifts at Christmas. The best gift you can give the Savior is to follow His teachings and live as He lived. Have each family member decide on a special gift they want to give to the Savior this Christmas.
Some examples for gifts to give the Savior could be:
– Learning more about Him and His life from the scriptures
– Prayer. Talking to the Savior daily in prayer improves your relationship with Him and helps you remember Him!
– Perform kind acts of service for each day in December.
– Make a special effort to be kind to a certain sibling (especially if you’ve got some sibling rivalry goin’ on in your house!)
Write down your gift and place it where you can see it often to remind yourself! On Christmas Eve, gather your family again and talk about experiences you’ve had as you tried to be a little better and a little closer to the Savior over the past few weeks. Put your “gifts” into His stocking.
2. Play Secret Elf
This is not to be mistaken with Elf on the Shelf. When you play “Secret Elf”, everyone gets an opportunity to help, serve, or show kindness in a fun way. I’ve also heard this idea referred to as “Kindness Angels”, which I love!
There are so many ways to carry out this tradition!
Feel free to find what works best for your family and run with it!
Draw family names.
Everyone gets an opportunity to be a secret elf to a parent or sibling. Each day you find something kind to do for your person without them knowing it was you! You can leave a special gift you made, a picture you drew for them, a kind note, make their bed or do another chore when they aren’t looking. Kids have SO much fun sneaking around doing acts of service. The best part? Practicing service and kindness strengthens those special relationships within the family!
I found it was better for us to draw names daily, although you certainly could do this weekly instead. We just made it part of our breakfast routine. (My kids weren’t too sneaky and they found out who their elf was on day 1!) An upside to drawing names more frequently is everyone gets to serve more family members. This is especially true if you have a large family!
Be Secret Elves to Your Neighbors
Join together as a family and be sneaky, helpful elves to your neighbors! I love this activity so much! It’s so good for your children (and you!) to look outside yourselves and find ways to help friends and neighbors all around you! I imagine the Savior intentionally went about doing good. He blessed the lives of so many because He actively sought out opportunities to serve.
You can teach your family to intentionally go about doing good as the Savior did! Shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk. Bring in their trash can from the curb. Bring a festive treat. If you know a family is struggling, bring Christmas to them if you can! There’s so much you can do if you look for it. Pray for those opportunities to serve! I promise you, they will come!
Secret Elf is my absolute favorite Christmas tradition. I love that it encourages charity, the pure love of Christ. When you strive to live as the Savior would, you begin to see others through the Savior’s eyes.
3. Life of Christ Scripture Advent
This could look like a simple verse, a story, or even an entire chapter.
There are 24 chapter in the book of Luke, so you could read one chapter each night beginning on December 1st and ending on Christmas Eve.
4. Family Christmas Devotional
Our church holds a church-wide Christmas devotional the first Sunday in December every year. It’s a wonderful way to bring the true spirit of Christmas into our hearts. Most of my kids are little, so we’ve decided to hold a family Christmas devotional the first week of December especially geared toward them.
Here are some ideas to make your family Christmas devotional special….
- Read the Christmas story
Let the kids dress up and act out the nativity while you read. We always go with Luke 2 🙂
- Read another Christmas story or two (not with Santa!)
Choose stories that encourage giving and demonstrates the love of Christ. I found an awesome list of Christ-Centered Christmas Books from Kingdom First Motherhood.
- Plan a service project
Get the kids’ input on ways you can help those around you! When they help plan it, they get so much more out of it!
- Sing a few Christmas carols
Song is a prayer! I love Christmas carols. Nothing brings the spirit of Christmas into your home faster than Christmas carols! Our favorites to sing together are “Silent Night”, “The First Noel”, and “Away in a Manger”.
- End with PRAYER and a fun activity
Time for some family fun! These are our favorites!
Make Gingerbread houses
Decorate Sugar Cookies
Play board games
Make a fun Christmas craft (This can double as a gift for grandparents, teachers, anyone!)
5. Christ- Centered Christmas Story Night
I’m talking about Christmas books, not the ones with Santa or elves. Read books that share the true meaning of Christmas. Books that share examples of people giving, sharing, and showing kindness to others. Why not build a blanket fort while you’re at it?
6. Family Service Ideas
Nothing brings the spirit of Christmas faster than intentionally going about doing good…just as our Savior did. I don’t think there’s anything the Savior would want more than to see you and your family following in His footsteps.
And remember, no service is too small! So if you have an idea, that is likely the Spirit talking, so act on it! Don’t talk yourself out of doing something good!
- Christmas Caroling
- Christmas cards for elderly, nursing homes, grandparents
- 12 Days of Christmas to a neighbor or friend
- Make gifts or bake something for teachers, neighbors, police, or fire-department
- Operation Christmas Child (Fill a shoebox)
- The Giving Manger
7. Read Luke 2 and Act Out Nativity
8. Family Christmas Talent Show
Everyone has a talent! Whether it is something you share on stage or a Christlike quality you have, it all should be shared at Christmas time!
Here are some examples of what you could do:
- Write a poem or short story
- Draw or paint a picture
- Sing (This is a great way to encourage your kids to practice a Christmas carol!)
- Play instrument
- Christmas craft
- Short skit (Nativity story maybe?)
- Writing down or reflecting on gratitude or acts of kindness
- Sharing a testimony or your Faith
9. Carols and Cocoa Night
Set up a hot chocolate bar and prepare some Christ-centered carols.
Our favorites are “Away in a Manger”, “Silent Night”, and “The First Noel”
Other ways to help Children Focus on Christ:
Are you looking for more activities that will help your children focus on the Savior this Christmas? Add some of these ideas to your Christmas list!
- Little People Nativity set
- Nativity brick set (like legos, but the off brand)
- Puzzles (Like THIS ONE!)
- Here are some fun alternatives to Elf on the Shelf