Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Three Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas with Children

As promised in my last post on how I am struggling with the Christmas spirit, I wanted to share some of the special traditions Tharin and I have talked about creating with our children to keep Christ in Christmas.

1. Reading the Nativity Story

If you know me, you know I love books. We have at least five different versions of the nativity story.

So when Tharin shared with me that he wanted to get the kids this book to count down the days of Advent with the Christmas story, I was totally on board.

Every night, Tharin will sit down with Jerome and read the portion of the story for that day of Advent before Jerome gets to eat his chocolate from his calendar.

Afterwards, Jerome will hang it on his own little tree, and I find him looking at the little books often.

So far this has felt like a really meaningful way to journey through Advent.

2. Putting a Christian Spin on Things

Instead of the Elf on the Shelf, Tharin and I have talked about the tradition of the travelling wisemen. Moving the wisemen from our nativity scene to different places for the kids to search for each day.

This would help to spark conversation about the journey the wisemen made to find baby Jesus, as well as the journey we are making towards Jesus during Advent.

We have also talked about having a stocking for Jesus or preparing the manger with kind deeds. In both of these traditions, children are encouraged to be kind and generous throughout the Christmas season, and these deeds are recognized as gifts for Jesus.

I like this tradition as it makes sense to focus on gifting Jesus on his birthday.

This year we built a pretty impressive gingerbread Nativity and think this would be a fun and easy way to add a Christian aspect to a fun holiday tradition.

3. Seperating St Nicholas From the Commercialized Santa Clause

I'll admit that one of the reasons I have such a hard time with Santa Clause is because we did not believe in Santa Clause in my house growing up.

A huge part of why I feel incapable of creating a belief in Santa Clause for our children is that I never did believe in him. The idea of so elaborately lying to my children, when I am trying so hard to be honest and respectful of them otherwise, feels completely unnatural to me.

While I agree with the importance of letting our children experience the joy and magic of childhood, I do not feel this is the place for it.

Besides, it is already far to easy for kids to place too much importance on the gifts and materialism of Christmastime, and feel that the Santa figure society has created does nothing to help. I want to raise generous and thankful children, and do not feel that perpetuating the Santa Clause myth lends itself to this.

In fact, I feel it shifts the focus of Christmas to being good so that you get something. 

Instead of Santa Clause, I would like to celebrate Saint Nicholas on his feast day by packing shoe boxes, donating toys, putting out a shoe for the children. Celebrating December sixth with treats and a little party for the generous saint is the kind of childhood I want for my children.

I know we will discover many other important and beautiful traditions as our children grow. I have loved reading about and seeing some of the ways other families are staying true to the meaning of the season.

What are some of your favourite ways to celebrate Christmas with a focus on Christ?

Thank you for reading, and I hope you'll come back next week!

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

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