First of all, I can’t figure out who painted that painting but it is beautiful and I want it! So if anyone knows, please tell me!
Second, Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year! I love all of the festivities and the spirit of giving that takes place. I love giving (and let’s be honest, getting) presents, but I also really love that Christmas is a time to remember Christ. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house with a wonderful Mom who not only spoiled us on Christmas, but made sure we had plenty of opportunities to reflect on the wondrous birth of the Christ Child during the Christmas Season.
Christ is the true meaning of Christmas, and I know that when He is the center of your celebrations Christmas is much more meaningful, joyful, and miraculous. That is why I wanted to share some of my favorite Christ-centered traditions.
1. Fill the Manger:
Once a week throughout the month of December, have your family members draw names. Make sure everyone keeps their name a secret. Set out a miniature manger somewhere in your house with a bag of straw next to it.
Throughout the week, every time you do an act of service for the name you drew you get to put a piece of straw in the manger. Your goal as a family is to have the manger nice and full for Baby Jesus when he arrives on Christmas morning. (I loved doing this as a little girl!!!)
2. Reenact the Nativity:
Every Christmas Eve my Dad reads Luke Ch. 2 while us “kids” (we’re now ages 19-26 and I make us still do it) reenact the nativity. (This year I will hopefully have my baby boy by then so he can be baby Jesus!!)
3. Countdown to Mary and Joseph Reaching Bethlehem:
Put a twist on the classic “count down to Christmas” by having it count down to Mary and Joseph reaching Bethlehem. My Mom has one similar to this one that allows you to move Mary and Joseph closer each day.
4. Scriptures by Candlelight:
To make reading our Scriptures in December extra special, my Mom would have us read by candlelight.
5. Your “Gift” to Baby Jesus:
Before we’d go to bed on Christmas eve my Mom would have us write on a piece of paper our “gift” to baby Jesus, meaning a habit we’d like to give up, something we’d like to do better at, a spiritual goal we’d like to have, or something along those lines.
Then she’d keep it in a little stocking, and the next Christmas you’d get to read what your gift was last year to see if you actually did it.
6. Three Gifts Representing Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh:
This I heard from one of my friends in High School. Under the tree they each get three gifts that somehow represent Frankincense, gold, and myrrh to remind them of the gifts given to Christ.
7. Visit Temple Square:
If you live in Utah or nearby, Temple Square is a wonderful place to visit during the Christmas Season. They decorate the trees with lights and fill the area with nativity scenes from all over the world.
8. Christmas Book:
At the start of December my Mom usually gives us a new Christmas book that somehow has something to do with Christ. She then keeps them in a basket on the mantle with the books from previous years so that we can read them throughout the month.
9. The Story of the Candy Cane:
A candy cane can be a really inexpensive way to remind people of Christ at Christmas time. This is a link to the story and a printable poem.
10. Nativity Gingerbread Houses:
Instead of doing a classic gingerbread house, give it a little more meaning by creating a nativity scene!