25 Christ-Centered Christmas Traditions

by Melissa
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Good Deeds Manger- A Christmas Tradition

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25 ways to keep Christ in Christmas with these easy family Christmas traditions. 

christ-centered-christmas-traditions

25 BEST CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS TO HELP YOU FOCUS ON CHRIST

I love Christmas traditions and the magic that comes with the holiday season. There are so many fun Christmas activities and favorite Christmas recipes to make like delicious English Toffee.

But we try really hard to keep Christ as the focus of our Christmas season and have lots of fun Christian Christmas  traditions that keep Him as the center of our celebrations. 

Here’s 25 easy & meaningful Christmas traditions ideas that will help you keep Christ in Christmas. 

1. DECORATE WITH NATIVITIES 

Decorating with nativities is an easy way to remind your family about Christ! That doesn’t mean you can’t have Santa and reindeer, too.

Our family loves getting a new nativity when we travel to a new place. Now we have a collection of nativities from around the world that help us focus on Christ and remind us of our fun travels. 

Related: 14 Kid-Friendly Nativity Sets That Won’t Break Or Break The Bank 

2. SEE CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS BOOK 

This beautifully illustrated Christmas book talks about 12 symbols of Christmas and how they help us see Christ. A sweet poem for each symbol makes this book a great read-aloud with children.  The illustrations are so pretty, too. 

Adding this book to your Christmas book collection will be a fun way to teach your kids about symbols of Christ. 

Order your copy here. 

symbols-of-christmas

3. GIFTS TO JESUS BOX

Another Christian Christmas activities is a “Gifts to Jesus Box.” Everyone writes down a gift they will gift to Jesus. They wrap it up and put in under the Christmas tree. The following year, open up the gift and see how well everyone did on their gift to Jesus. 

4. 12 DAYS OF CHRIST-MAS

Instead of giving the normal 12 Days of Christmas, give the 12 Days of Christ! Each day talks about a name of Christ with a scripture verse of where that name is. There is also a fun coordinating gift that goes with that name. 

For example, Christ is the Shepherd. For this day, you would give a box of candy canes. There are also companion cards that go along with each tag that describes why Christ is called that name.

 

12 Days of Christmas Idea-Christ-centered Christmas Idea-3

5. COUNTDOWN TO BETHLEHEM ADVENT CALENDAR

My all-time favorite advent calendar was our Countdown to Bethlehem. Each day, Mary and Joseph move closer to Bethlehem. On Christmas Day, they reach the manger! 

This is a great visual way to help children see what is happening on the days leading up to Christmas. 

Related: DIY Bethlehem Advent Calendar & Free Pattern 

FELT-ADVENT-CALENDAR-BETHLEHEM (4)

5. 25 DAYS OF CHRIST SCRIPTURE ADVENT

Starting December 1st, gather your family and read a few scripture verses that talk about one of Christ’s character traits. The verses are short and sweet and can be read in under 5 minutes. By Christmas, you will have a greater appreciation for Christ, His life, His miracles, and His Atonement.

Get the full 25 Days of Christmas Scripture Advent details here.

25 Days of Christ- Scripture Advent Calendar- Keep Christ in Christmas- Christ-Centered Christmas Traditions

6. CHRISTMAS EVE BETHLEHEM DINNER

Step back in time by doing a Bethlehem Dinner on Christmas Eve or sometime throughout the season. Hang up tablecloths from the ceiling and set out the food in baskets.  Serve typical food like: chicken and pepper kebabs, oranges, pomegranates, artisan bread (that we broke with our hands) and lentil soup. Eat on the floor and dress up in costumes if you like.

bethlehem dinner

7. GOOD DEEDS MANGER / GIVING MANGER 

We had a wooden manger growing up and throughout December, we would get to put a piece of straw inside whenever we did a nice deed. The goal was to make the bed nice and soft for Jesus by Christmas.

This tradition motivates us to do good deeds and serve, but also helps us remember why we are doing those nice things.

You can see a simple DIY Hay Manger tutorial here.

The Last Straw is also a book about this very tradition if you want a cute way to kick it off!

Good Deeds Manger- A Christmas Tradition

8. SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JESUS 

Christmas is Jesus’ Birthday after all, so you could make a cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day.

9. MAKE A CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST

Jingle Bells and Here Comes Santa Claus are fun Christmas songs and all, but don’t forget to listen to the Christmas songs that talk about Christ. 

10. ACT OUT THE NATIVITY 

Pull out those robes and stuffed sheep and act out the Christmas Story! This fun tradition is perfect for all ages. Acting out the Christmas story will reinforce what happened that special night.

11. READ LUKE 2

It’s tradition to read Luke 2 on Christmas Eve for many, but why wait until Christmas Eve to read it? Try reading the story throughout the month to keep Christ in your mind all month long.

12. CARVE NATIVITIES OUT OF SOAP

Spend a night carving nativities out of soap or make gingerbread manger scenes.

These are from a date night my husband and I had before kids. Carving soap nativities is best for older kids and adults!

Soap Carving Nativities

13. LIMIT GIFTS TO 3

Have you heard of children getting 3 gifts to represent the 3 Gifts the Wise Man brought to Jesus? Implementing this gift rule will reinforce Christ’s birth and help you have less shopping to do. Double win.

14. GIVE CANDY CANES TO VISITORS

I came across these cute tags from Happy Home Fairy and think they would be a great addition as you hand out candy canes! Candy canes represent Christ in so many ways– J is for Jesus, the shape is like a shepherd crook (Jesus is our shepherd) and the red and white represents his atonement.

For a fun tradition, keep candy canes on your tree and whenever a guest drops by throughout the season, let them pick a candy cane from the tree!

We also love the book: The Legend of the Candy Cane  because it reinforces the symbolism of the Candy Cane.

15. READ “I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS”

There are so many thoughts about Santa at Christmas time. Some are completely against it and others don’t think twice about Christ. We are somewhere in the middle. We like to celebrate the magic of Santa, but make sure we have plenty of Christ-focused activities and reminders.

For this reason, I absolutely LOVE the book, I Believe in Santa Claus. We read it early on in the season. It reminds us that all the symbols of Christmas and Santa can remind us of Christ. If you haven’t read it, add it to your list.

16. GO TO A LIVE NATIVITY OR CRECHE DISPLAY

Spending some time at a live nativity or creche display will help you focus on Christ. Plus, many of the displays feature Nativities from around the world. It’s so fun (and cultural, too!) to see different country’s representations of the nativity.

If you live in Utah, you can check out this List of Nativity Displays on The Complete List of Utah Christmas Activities.

17. SERVE OTHERS 

Christ lived a life full of service. Choose some ways your family can serve others. 

18. CELEBRATE ADVENT SUNDAYS 

One of our favorite traditions is celebrating German Advent. I was introduced to this spiritual tradition when I lived in Germany and ever since, we’ve incorporated it into our festivities.

Don’t know what German advent is? Read all the details here! Basically, it’s a chance to slow down, focus on Christ and family and enjoy being together. Love it!

In a nutshell, we celebrate the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas by singing Christmas carols, playing hand bells, and eating European Christmas goodies.

19. LIGHT THE WORLD 

Christ is the Light of the World. By serving and emulating Christ’s example of service and love, we can light the world one act a time. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a really neat initiative going on where each day throughout December, there is a simple way to light the world by participating in a small act of service.

Want to join in? Here are some resources for you: 

The more we serve, even in the smallest ways, the more meaningful our Christmas season will be!

20. CHRIST-CENTERED DECOR 

There are many fun and free printables on the web that you can use to decorate your house with. This pin here links up a bunch of free Christ-centered printables you can use this year !

christmas-printables

21. THE LITTLE LAMB FROM BETHLEHEM 

Does the Elf on the Shelf visit your home? We don’t have the Elf come, not that we are against it, but it just seems like one more thing to do! So for now, not having the Elf is one way we have simplified our Christmas season.

But, if you like that concept, I recently heard of a Christ-centered option called The Little Lamb from Bethlehem. This is not a sponsored post and I have not read the book myself, but the idea seems similar to Elf on the Shelf but with Christ and service as the focus. Maybe a fun option? If you have it or try it, let us know how you like it!

Little_Lamb_Box

22. WHITE STOCKING 

Similar to the Gifts to Jesus box, you could hang a white stocking in addition to your family’s stockings. Place your gifts to Jesus in the white stocking on Christmas Eve. Then pull out the gifts the following year and see how you did!

24. WATCH NATIVITY MOVIES 

 

25. PRAYER OF GRATITUDE

Before you open any gifts on Christmas morning, gather as a family and say a prayer of gratitude for everything you’ve been blessed with and especially of the most wonderful gift: the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. 

 

What are your favorite Christ-Centered Christmas traditions? Leave a comment below! 

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Kathy Lopez November 30, 2017 - 11:37 am

Thank you for sharing all these ideas! My husband and I struggle with how to do Christmas while our girls (we don’t promote Santa) are so young and this has given me great ideas! I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog!

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Melissa Sunday November 30, 2017 - 10:18 pm

I’m so glad this list could be helpful! I’d love to hear what ideas you end up doing or if you try any new ones. Merry Christmas!

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Our Top 20 Christmas Traditions – Cold Cup of Water April 9, 2019 - 1:12 pm

[…] Last year I made these Names of Jesus Ornaments using this free printable on fancy scrapbook paper.  The nice man at our local hardware store gave me all the paint sticks I needed for free too.  This year I am going use the ornaments from last year along with this  25 Names of Jesus Advent Countdown.  I also found this cute and fun idea that I might incorporate – gift ideas that go along with the names of Christ at  So Festive.  While visiting So Festive, check out their list of additional Christ-centered Christmas Ideas. […]

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