It’s a question I know the answer to but one I’m asking myself every day around this time of year. As the kids are growing, my heart wants so much to keep the craziness out of the season and to welcome a sense of peace and awe instead.
The simple story of Christmas is so profound, so beautiful and so humbling.
And it’s often so absent from the holiday entirely.
Before I say ‘so’ again, I just wanted to share a few ways we are trying to be deliberate about keeping the focus on the Gift that was given and hope that you will share any ways you’ve done the same!
- Last year we hosted an Operation Christmas Child shoebox filling party. It was last minute, thrown together and small. But as we sat and watched the DVD they sent us of children in poverty around the world opening their Christmas boxes filled with the simplest things – it was precious. We were all blessed and it was a poignant reminder that even though many in our country have less than we’re used to, we still live in great abundance.
- We participate in an Adopt-a-Family program where we have gift specifics for a family in our community who can’t manage the basics of Christmas gifts. The last two years Rylee and I have delivered these gifts together.
- We do the bulk of gift opening on various nights with family before Christmas and keep Christmas day sacred and simple. There is no gift opening frenzy but there are new toys around. I’ll write another post about this day specifically.
- With no TV, our kids don’t really know what they want. When I asked them to help me with a list for them, honestly they had trouble. They aren’t saints, they simply play with what they have, don’t go to toy stores and don’t see commercials every day for the latest thing. While you could argue they are deprived, we’d disagree and say that it works for us!
- To make room for new things and to maintain the ‘others mentality’, we have the kids choose one thing each (at least) to give away to someone who would enjoy it. Something cool and in good shape, not something destined for the trash.
If you have time and want to participate, the Operation Christmas Child organization is wonderful. With one click on their website you can order a ‘party pack’ (mailed to you for free!) with all sorts of fun supplies, including a very moving DVD, coloring sheets, stickers and pictures of kids with their boxes.
I also read this post on simplemom that had some great ideas on helping your kids focus outward during Christmas.
These are some favorite books that have helped us to focus and mold our own traditions for Christmas as we have established our family.
- The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel
- Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper
- The Story of St Nicholas by Cheryl Odden (a book for children that tells the actual story of St. Nick)
- The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (we have the DVD of this, there is a book as well, very sweet story)
- Frank Peretti’s Wild and Wacky Bible Stories Christmas audio CD (we have this book and it is very captivating if you can deal with the superfluous text that makes it more story like-I have heard awesome things about this CD series)
Any ideas or traditions or books you would be willing to share on this topic?