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25 ways to keep Christ in Christmas with these easy family Christmas traditions.
HOW TO KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS
Looking for simple ways to remember what the Christmas season is all about? Here’s 25 easy family Christmas traditions ideas that will help you keep Christ in Christmas.
Please note: This list is not meant to stress you out or make you feel overwhelmed! Sharing these Christ-Centered Christmas traditions list is just for you to get ideas if you’re looking for ways to make Christmas a bit more meaningful for your family. No pressure to do all of them!
1. GIFTS TO JESUS BOX
This tradition came from a reader named Courtney. Thanks for sharing!
“One tradition that is kind of neat is our “GIFT to JESUS” box. We always had this shiny present wrapped under the tree and on Christmas Day after all the presents were opened, we would have to write down a gift that we were going to give to Jesus that year (kind of like a new years resolution). An example could be reading scriptures daily or doing a small act of service for someone daily. It was fun to look back and see what the previous year’s gift was and to reflect on how well we did.”
2. 12 DAYS OF CHRIST-MAS
Instead of giving the normal 12 Days of Christmas, give the 12 Days of Christ! Each day, you can wrap up a small gift that correlates with a name of Christ and the scripture verse where that name of Christ is found.
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.
This 12 Days of Christ is not just for a gift. You can use these companion cards for a family lesson or lesson at your church.
3. DECORATE WITH NATIVITIES
There are amazing hand-crafted nativities from around the world that can be displayed at Christmas time. Having nativities in eye-sight will be a constant reminder of what the season is about. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun to have Santa and reindeer around, but if you want a Christ-centered Christmas, then try to incorporate spiritual decor in your home.
4. USE A CHRIST-CENTERED ADVENT CALENDAR
We had a few different advent calendars each year growing up, but one of our favorites was our Nativity Advent. Each day all 7 of us kids would take turns moving Mary and Joseph one step closer to Bethlehem. This was a fun, visual way to remember what was actually happening on the days leading up to Christmas.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
- Free Printable Light the World Service Calendar
- Daily #LighttheWorld videos to share ideas and inspire you to Light the World
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 !
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!
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.
Now tell me, how do you keep Christ in Christmas? Leave a comment below so we can learn from you!