Making Christmas Matter

I know we haven’t had Turkey-day yet, but since I saw Christmas decorations in Target mid-October, I’m gonna assume it’s okay to start talking about it.

We’ll be moving in a few weeks and when I look up from the boxes, December will be staring me in the face. So Andrew and I are revisiting previous Christmas traditions and discussing how we want to do things this year. Some of the activities take planning and preparation that need to be started now.

Our goal is to make sure that Christmas MEANS something to our kids, that they see the truth of the Gospel in this celebration of Christ’s birth.

Here’s my “to-do” list (I’ll be checking it twice) for Christmas this year: (links to further discussion are highlighted)

1-The Vitafam doesn’t exchange gifts within our immediate family. But we’re not Scrooges, I promise. And I’m going to go ahead and admit that it’s hard not to shop for my people this time of year. I could FILL my Amazon cart at a moment’s notice. But in this case, the sacrifice is worth it. Really.

2-You better believe I’ll be hunting down a new nekkid Christmas tree just as soon as I plant my feet on the new front porch for good.

3-I also need to stock up on more candles for December dinners by candlelight. (Even if I’m not entirely surely where the table will reside come December 1.)

4-I made sure the Christmas boxes were pulled out of the attic and I’m going to watch them go on the truck so hopefully I can lay hands on our Jesse Tree Ornaments as soon as we unpack. If you haven’t bought yours yet, NOW IS THE TIME. I got mine here and I LURVE them.

5-For the gifts I do purchase, I’ll be using the Home for Christmas list. I’d like to update it for 2012, so if you’re selling something to raise money for your adoption, let me know this week.

I don’t share all these because I think we’ve got it all figured out. We tweak this a little every year and we’re always evaluating and hunting for more ideas.

To that end: I’d love to hear some of your ideas for keeping the Gospel in your Christmas. Toss ’em at me!

Linking up with the Parenthood!



  1. Those are the exact Jesse tree ornaments I ordered. Great minds…..

  2. We do exchange with immediate family. We have instituted the three gift tradition. The thinking being that the wise men brought three gifts to Jesus. It seems to work well with little ones.

  3. I’ll be doing Truth in the Tinsel again with my kids this year. My little one will be 2 the week of Christmas, so maybe he’ll be old enough to listen to some of the Bible story and help us craft! We’re also wrapping 25 Jesus-centered Christmas books and opening one each day of Avent. I really look forward to their excitement about unwrapping one each day and reading it together! I think their daddy and I are exchanging Kiva gift cards and World Vision-type gifts this year. I hope they’ll see that we’re excited about helping others in the world!

  4. We instituted a 3 gift tradition (a want, a need and a book) a few yrs back. We’ve never really done Santa either…no problem w/ him just want to keep the focus on Jesus instead. I usually try to buy (or make) gifts for our extended family that have a special meaning. I love the idea of the advent candles at dinner…my work schedule is different this year and we may borrow the idea!

  5. Some wonderful ideas. My husband and I grew up with quite different Christmas traditions, so we often revisit what we’ll do at Christmas. Space is limited, though and we often don’t have room for a tree. Last year, I pinned a tree made out of felt to our wall and we decorated it with stickers and handmade ornaments. I used a few pins for the special ornaments we have for each child’s first Christmas. Hope your packing and subsequent move go well!

  6. Hi there : ) Some new traditions I have been thinking about are a “paradise tree” and star path. A Paradise tree (just some apple decorations, probably crabapples for me, on some bare branches from my yard) is decorated on Christmas Eve in honor of Adam and Eve and invites a discussion about why Jesus came/is coming… this is a tradition from the Eastern European beleivers. My other big idea is (instead of an advent calendar) to do a star path (a card-stock cut out star, or any kind of star medium that suits you, for each day in advent) for Mary and Joseph to travel that leads to the manger and a nativity scene. We move Mary and Joseph a little closer to “Christmas” every day… another variation is to have an angel that travels the star path down to the nativity scene- or you could do both I suppose! … At this point, these are neat ideas in theory, seem fun, and require minimal work or preparation, but I have not implemented them myself… yet.

  7. love this post! We love trying to think of new ways to keep Christmas all about Christ as well as repeating our ole faithfuls. In the beginning, with our oldest littles, I remember there being way too many presents!:) Even though we always endeavored to have it be Christ focused we have scaled back so much in so many ways and it really does help keep things simpler. This year I have felt the desire even more than usual to slow down and enjoy each holiday before face planting into the next one.:) So we are really trying to enjoy Thanksgiving and then will plunge headlong into Christmas. We are decorating a Thanksgiving tree this year courtesy of http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/11/a-christian-family-thanksgiving-activity-the-thanks-giving-tree-free-printable/ and http://www.papercoterie.com/blog/a-jar-full-of-gratitude/ Of course, mom and dad have to think about Christmas traditions before Thanksgiving is over but we are trying to keep our sweeties focused on it even amongst the premature Christmas decorating that started…wow, it really was October! Some things we are doing this Christmas: Sing along Messiah! http://riverchaseumc.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=34137&PG=Events&CID=1293580&rDate=2012-11-18 ,Walk thru Nativity http://briarwood.org/special-events/walk-through-nativity/ , caroling. We have found it so encouraging to our children that when we say “no” to a particular way of celebrating there is so much to say ” yes” to! We typically celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. How we do this: Read the legend, give each a stocking, talk about how he gave in secret serving Christ, we do some act of service or gift in secret if possible trying to focus on serving without recognition. Some of our yearly traditions include, our nativity advent calendar, sock scripture calendar(i know, a bit calendar happy…they love to do these in the morning) , Jesse tree in the evenings. Love all the wonderful ideas! We have a nativity scene but would love it to have a separate baby Jesus to keep out of the scene till Christmas. We love giving gifts “to Jesus” either through the World Vision catalog or other charitable giving. So many great ideas! Thanks for the inspiration! blessings, jen

  8. We do a couple of different Advent calendars, watch “The Nativity Story” with our kids, and give gifts to the children we sponsor from the World Vision Catalog. We are cutting back on gifts — just giving one big gift to each child and then giving some little cheapo things in their stockings. Like you, every year we tweak a little and as the kids get older, we can talk more with them about not collecting stuff and being generous. It’s a work in progress.

  9. Love all of this. We try to keep things simple too and emphasize the true reason why we celebrate but I look forward to starting some true family traditions! I don’t know if it would fit in with the Home for Christmas, but I am going to make our Africa sugar cookies (that I blogged about a week or so ago) to sell online as a fundraiser and we may have t-shirts soon?!


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