Warmth, memories and meaning are created through family traditions. Traditions are something we do year in and year out. What makes them meaningful is the anticipation and the certainty that they will take place! If you are in search of a new tradition here are 7 ideas for creating Christmas traditions.
1. Read the Christmas story before opening presents.
Every year on Christmas day we get together with my extended family. Before the presents are opened, we read the story of Baby Jesus to the children. Each year we try to be creative. One year we used a birthday cake. Another year we used a poster and stickers to tell the story. Last year we did a skit. Though we did not use costumes, each child had a role and even some of the adults were innkeepers turning away Mary and Joseph.
Here are our little actors getting warmed up!
Another tradition is for the paparizzi to show up!
Count them…that’s 5 cameras capturing this moment! lol!
2. Spread the love of Jesus while driving around looking at Christmas lights.
Every year before we leave the house to go look at Christmas lights, I have the children color 5-10 pictures of baby Jesus. (click here for coloring pages to print)
Then as we drive we search for homes that are displaying the nativity. Each time we find one we clap and cheer. Then we roll down the back window and allow the children to take turns putting their picture in the mail box. I write on each picture “Thank you for displaying the reason for the season.” We hope it blesses them as they have blessed us!
3. A Jesus Stocking.
A long time friend of mine from Jr. High, Erin, hangs an extra stocking for Jesus and each time someone in the family does something for Jesus they write it down on a slip of paper and place it in the stocking. On Christmas Eve they read them all together! I LOVE this idea!
4. Put the baby in the manger on Christmas Eve.
Another idea came from Heather. She sets up her nativity without baby Jesus and on Christmas Eve they have a special moment as they place baby Jesus in the manger.
5. Cookies for the shepherds.
Dorothy leaves cookies out for the Shepherds on Christmas Eve – along with cookies for Santa!
6. Some traditions come in the form of foods. Growing up we always had pizza and shrimp cocktail at my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve. My pastor’s wife used to let her kids have sugar cookies for breakfast on Christmas morning (my kids sure would like it if I adopted this tradition!). I read of another who always has Fondue on Christmas and another has orange sherbet! Whatever the special food item is – if you have it year in and year out it will create a tradition and fond memories!
7. Special story books. One of my dearest friends from high school, Holly (a missionary to the Ukraine) says: “We read the book “One Wintry Night” by Ruth Bell Graham. It is 11 chapters, so we read a chapter a day, starting 11 days before Christmas so that chapter 11 falls on Christmas. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a beautifully illustrated picture book which tells the story of Christmas from creation to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each chapter is very short with breathtaking pictures. We usually read it right before bed and then read the last part on Christmas day. It’s powerful!
I hope these ideas inspire you. I’d love to hear what traditions you do with your family. Please share them in the comments section!!!
Walk with the King!