Meaningful Christmas Tradition Ideas for Your Family
Christmas traditions can really bring meaning to the time shared at Christmas. Traditions build a family identity but also help to focus attention on what matters. These “5 Ways to a Better Christmas” are really suggestions for how to establish meaningful traditions in your family.
1. Introduce an Advent Tradition
Prepare for Christmas by remembering the Savior through the Advent tradition. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, it involves a short devotional reading each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas morning. With each reading, there are associated Bible verses, a candle lighting, and a song. The topics are usually organized like this:
Week 1: Hope
Week 2: Preparation
Week 3: Joy
Week 4: Love
2. Give a Pig or Goat
For a very different tradition, buy a pig! There are many ways to give to those more needy than ourselves. Organizations make it possible now to give to people all over the world. Donating animals to the needy can have a large impact on their lives.
To give a pig or a goat to a family in a third world country can help to sustain their income for many months throughout the year. Mix things up by giving “fair trade” gifts for Christmas and support the livelihood of the poor around the world. Check out these giving opportunities:
3. Give to a Needy Child
If you really want to take things further, you can give, as a family, to bless a needy child. Project Angel Tree offers the ability to be a blessing to kids whose parents are incarcerated. Opportunities abound for giving to needy children at Christmas time. Here are some possibilities:
- Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child (November)
- Prison Fellowship – Project Angel Tree
- Salvation Army Angel Tree
- Toys for Tots
4. Serve the Poor in Your Area
Find a way to serve the poor in your city or state. You can serve at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Donate non-perishables to organizations that feed the needy. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of benevolence organizations, you can check out Charity Navigator, a website that will help assess how transparent, efficient, and legitimate charity agencies are.
5. Don’t forget Jesus
Take the time to read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas day. When the kids are young, it can an abbreviated part of the story. But make a point to take time out on Christmas morning to focus on the first Christmas. Remember the reason for the season.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, carve out quiet times (when the kids are in bed), dim the lights, grab a hot drink, and meditate on the Christ-child and the events surrounding His miraculous birth. Share Christmas memories with a loved one. Slowing down to commune with God and fellowship with loved ones can restore peace and reduce stress in this hectic season.
Remind your family that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Highlight the fact that the greatest gift the world has ever known was the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Instill this in your family from the time that kids are young. If the kids are older, start this year. Either way, keeping Jesus in your Christmas celebration will help keep the main thing, the main thing.