Christmas Family Traditions
Gratefulness & Family Memories

Christmas Family Traditions makes our Christmas day celebrations valuable and meaningful to our whole family. The hustle, bustle and commercialism of Christmas in the stores makes it tough for us to keep our kids focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Every year we try to come up with some new ideas to help our children remember gratefulness for what we do have and to know why we celebrate the Christmas season.

We love super stuffing every family member's stockings for Christmas morning, having great food and spending time together, singing on the couch in front of the Christmas tree decorations in our 'Christmas room'.

The Christmas that really impacted our children the most was after they received their stuffed stockings in the morning and they entered our 'Christmas room'. They saw that there was only 1 present under our tree and our tree displayed 4x6 pictures of children less fortunate than them: sick, poor, undernourished, living in garbage and the piles of gifts usually under it were not there. This year we wanted to teach our kids gratefulness for all that God has blessed us with. We were curious how they would react. After their initial shock, disappointment, even surprise, then acceptance that this year there weren't any piles of presents the children started to look at all the pictures hanging on our tree. We then had them each take down a picture to talk about what they saw in 'their' picture. After discussing the pictures, we opened up the single present. The present had a love letter from Jesus to them and 2 books 'The Candymaker' with candycanes for each and 'The Three Trees'.

It was wonderful to see that our kids were satisfied, grateful and content with their Christmas stocking and their 1 shared present. We then unlocked our dinning room for breakfast and they were completely surprised to see the dining table covered with presents for them.

Christmas family traditions of value can get tricky but this worked for us this year in replacing the 'gimme more stuff' attitude that had been building up in our home. We want to aim each year at getting to the heart, thinking beyond ourselves and teaching core values during our Christmas celebration time that will reach past the commercialization we face and pull our kids and our family back to the real reasons that we, as believers in the resurrected Christ, celebrate the Christmas season.

Here's our Christmas family traditions idea for 'What to do on Christmas Day' that made a difference and made it real for our kids.

Advance Preparation
  • Christmas cookies and cake
  • Special wrapping paper chosen for each family member
  • teaching gratitude & appreciation for what we have
  • Give hints that our family needs to be more thankful & grateful
Stockings
Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch
Christmas 'Room' Set-Up
  • Let kids see the single present and pictures hanging on the tree
  • Choose pictures of sharing, caring, toys, health, family & friendship
  • Open together the single card & wrapped present from Jesus
  • Read together: card--Love from Jesus, book--The Candymaker
  • Look at pictures: underprivileged, poor & hospitalized children
  • Each family member takes one picture for heartfelt discussion
Picture by Picture Discussion:
  • What do you see? Are they Happy?
  • What do you think they feel?
  • What do they have? How are they living?
  • Are they grateful? For what are they grateful?
  • what is the hospitalized child thinking? What about their family?
Application To Our Life
  • We have so much yet we complain about all of our toys
  • They have nothing yet are happy with each other
  • Children are starving every day
  • Sharing 1 piece of fruit between 3 friends
  • No toys to play with--they use mud, rocks & live at the garbage
Go to Eating 'Room'
  • Invite whole family into the eating room for a meal together
  • Eating room filled with 1-2 presents per child & family member
Our kids saw they had lots to be happy, grateful & thankful for--we even saw tears of joy. A great start to building new Christmas family traditions.
Present Opening
  • Take the presents to the Christmas 'room' for opening
  • Make it special, get cozy and be excited with each gift they open
  • Open 1 present at a time 1 person at a time: make it valuable
  • Carry over to the next day--it doesn't have to be a one day deal
Games Time
  • Color, build & play games together
  • Board games, trivia, cards & party games--Have Fun Together
Turn It All In
  • Get to bed at a decent time, well rested for tomorrow

This was a great start for us in making Christmas family traditions that have a real impact on the hearts of our children and their attitudes.

We live in such excess that it was refreshing to see our kids enjoy each other and the true meaning of Christmas. We have already begun plans for next year's celebration to make an impact for our family.

Christmas Day, a great place to use Christmas ideas to build Christmas family traditions that last and teach core values. Our christian Christmas is about keeping Christ in Christmas.

Jesus always loves you and cares for you. Have a 'Merry Christmas'.

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