1. Celebrate: December is always an incredibly busy season with the end of school year, finishing work projects, buying presents, family gatherings and buying presents. But for Christian families this can be a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas, celebrating the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ. So make Christmas not just a busy season, but an important time of celebration for the family that put the focus on Jesus.
2. Christmas songs: Listen to Christmas songs and carols that talk about Jesus’ birth. Children can easily learn song lyrics which help them to remember biblical truths. Traditional Christmas carols are a good place to start. But consider listening to other children’s Christmas songs such as Colin Buchanan’s King of Christmas. You might also enjoy our City Kids and Youth Christmas Spotify playlist.
3. Christmas podcasts: These can bring to life the story of Christmas and provide opportunities for discussions as a family about the events surrounding Jesus birth. Faith in Kids have several Christmas series. These podcasts are brilliant for family car trips. The podcast act out the biblical narrative and include questions to discuss as a family.
4. Give to others: It is very easy for children to largely see the joy of Christmas as a time to receive presents. Of course Christmas is a special time for children to enjoy gifts. But it is also an opportunity to model giving to others. Grace City supports those in need by collecting food, toiletries and toys for our Christmas Hamper Appeal. Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful charity which gives gifts to children in developing countries. Families can pack a shoebox full of gifts that are an incredible blessing to the recipient and includes a booklet about the good news of Jesus Christ.
Involve your child in the process of giving to others, whether that be donating to a local charity or buying a present to give away to those in need. It is important to explain to children that God has blessed us abundantly and that everything we have belongs to Him. Therefore, being generous to others with what we have pleases God.
5. Santa as fantasy: Many Christian families celebrate Santa and this is a very special part of Christmas for their children. But it is important to make sure that when you talk about Santa it is in the realm of fantasy. Children need to know that Jesus was a real baby born in Bethlehem and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven. It can be confusing for young children if they perceive both Santa and Jesus in the realm of fantasy.
6. Elf on the shelf: Many preschools, daycares and primary schools will celebrate Christmas with Elf on the Shelf. Use this Christmas tradition to point children to Jesus. Like with Santa, be careful in how you convey the difference between fantasy and reality. This resource includes a letter and 24 bible passages to hide with the elf each time it moves. If you have Elf on the Shelf in your family, make sure children know it is a game but the birth of Jesus was not a game, it was a real historical event.
7. Names of Jesus: As a family talk about the different meanings and names of Jesus, particularly when they come up in the bible. You can even make them into Christmas Tree decorations using this resource. If you are unsure of some of the meanings, use this as an opportunity to explore the Bible as a family. Use the search function on Bible Gateway to find the origin and meaning of the name.
8. Read the bible: In the lead up to Christmas read the story of Jesus as a family. Consider reading a gospel account of Jesus’ birth before opening presents on Christmas Day. It is ideal if you can read from a children’s bible where the language is age appropriate. But if you haven’t got a children’s bible, don’t let this be a barrier. Reading from an adult bible can provide an opportunity to discuss and explore the Christmas story as well. Just make sure you stop to explain unknown words or concepts to your child as you read together.
9. Go to church: Attending a Christmas service is a wonderful way to model to children the importance of celebrating Jesus’ birth. If you are travelling and unable to attend the Christmas service at your home church, look online for a local church with a children’s program.
10. Pray as a family: Spend time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day praying as a family. Be specific in your prayers thanking God for sending his son Jesus to be born as a man so that he could then die for our sins. For younger children use copy prayers where you say part of the sentence and they repeat back. For older children encourage them to pray their own prayers by giving prompts or sentence beginnings.
Please note that some ideas in this article have been adapted from material written by Kidswise (Sandy Galea).