What is the first thing you remember about your childhood Christmas celebrations? Grandma baking pies in the kitchen? Dad stringing lights around the tree? Caroling with a church or school group?
Odds are you have some stand out memories from your family’s yearly holiday gatherings. And chances are your kids will too.
But knowing kids lock away lifelong memories also puts on a little pressure. How do we make sure that the memories we leave them with are warm and grace-filled rather than busy and hectic?
Celebrate the Christmas story.
The joy of Christmas goes much deeper than a gift wish list. Help your kids engage with the real meaning of the season by lighting candles, displaying nativity scenes, or decorating the tree with special ornaments that symbolize the Christmas story.
Create quiet moments to be together.
Make a point each night to turn off gadgets, turn down the lights, and cuddle up for some family time under the light of the Christmas tree.
This is a great time for families to bond over popular holiday topics like what kids want for Christmas. But it’s also easy to use these moments to talk about how grateful your family is for the blessing of Christmas and for the events that inspired the first Christmas.
Read the good news of Christmas together.
During the original Christmas, the angels announced they had good news of great joy for all people: a baby had been born! Take a minute to join in this spirit by reading the good news of the Christmas story with your kids.
Read the story directly from the Bible, from the second chapter of Luke, or find a brightly illustrated, kid-friendly version of the story like The Story of Christmas that makes it even easier for your little ones to engage. (Sign up for a chance to win The Story of Christmas at mops.sparkhouse.org).
Make sure to connect the original story to your child’s own story and to the story of your family. In the back of The Story of Christmas, for example, there are questions for reflection as well as activity ideas that help your child reflect more on the meaning of Christmas.
Reflect on what Christmas means to you today.
Even the everyday mundane can serve as a place to experience the Christmas spirit. Offer prayers of gratitude for your daily experience as a family, for Emmanuel, God with Us, and for the hope that Christmas allows you to carry through life.
Invite your children to reflect on how God gave the gift of his son during this special time of year, and to in turn, look for ways to give to others.
Talk about how God’s generosity toward humankind has been passed down from generation to generation and how we too can continue to live the Christmas spirit in a way that brings hope to others.