1. Start a family tradition of reading the Christmas story together. The story of Jesus birth can be found in Luke 2 and reading this story together as a family is a great way to make sure you’re focused on the true meaning of Christmas.
2. Involve the entire family in setting up the Nativity Scene. You could even do this while reading the Christmas story as a family. And if you’re worried that your children are too young to handle your antique Nativity set passed down from generation to generation, you can find kid friendly nativity sets at your local Christian bookstore and in many toy sections of department stores. Fisher Price even makes one that can be found here.
3. Attend a Christmas worship service together. Christmas is a time when we should focus our minds attention and our hearts affection on Jesus. Don’t let the busy-ness of the season rob your family of spending quality time worshipping together.
4. Play Christmas music in your home that focuses on the reason for the season. Sure, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer is musical genius. But be sure to include Christmas music in your home that communicates God’s gift to us in his son Jesus.
5. Give to others. If you know a family or child in need this Christmas, adopt them and shop for them as a family for Christmas. If you don’t know anyone personally who might be in need this year, then check out your local Angel Tree, or something like it, and adopt a child for your family to provide for.
6. Give alternative Christmas gifts. Let’s face it: Uncle Johnny doesn’t want that ugly sweater you’ll buy at the last minute anyway. So check out ministries such as World Vision, Advent Conspiracy, or Charity: Water and give a meaningful gift in someone’s honor. Then use this opportunity to talk with your kids about the difference between compassion and consumption.
7. Adopt a new strategy for giving your kids gifts. Nothing sends more mixed signals to our kids than when we say Christmas is about Jesus, but then turn around and make it about how many presents they can get and how much we can go in debt doing it. Come up with a better plan as parents to use even your gift giving as a way to teach your kids the real reason for the season. A strategy I heard recently that I really liked was a couple who give their kids four gifts: “Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, and Something to read.” Love it.
8. Visit your local nursing home or an elderly neighbor who is shut-in or might not have family close by. Take some cookies or a basket of fruit and give the gift of your time and presence to someone who might be alone this season. Christmas is all about God making himself present among us through his son, Jesus. As a family, practice presence this holiday season by being present in the life of someone who may be overlooked by others.
9. Have a birthday party for Jesus. On Christmas day, before anyone opens gifts and begins to play with that new toy or video game, begin by focusing on the best gift of all: God’s gift to us in Jesus. You can even go all out with a cake, candles, and a family sing-along of “Happy Birthday to Jesus.”
10. As a family, make gifts and cards for friends and other family members. What better way to promote giving, family, and togetherness than to make gifts and cards for your friends and family. You’ll save money, your gifts will mean more because they’re from the heart, and your family will grow from the time spent together.
Regardless of how you choose to teach your children and teens about the true meaning of Christmas, be sure that you at least do it. Don't be reactive in teaching you're kids what Christmas is all about. Be intentional. Be proactive. Use this incredible opportunity to let your kids see God's message of hope: that He loved us so much, He sent his son Jesus. That's what Christmas is all about. And as parents, it's our responsibility to make sure our kids know the real reason for the season.