Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Christ Centered Christmas

When we were first married, my husband and I discussed how much we wanted Christ to be the center of our Christmas. Over the years we read the story of the nativity on Christmas Eve from the scriptures, and performed our own nativity pageant on Christmas day. We also played beautiful carols, displayed pictures of the Savior’s birth, and sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, complete with a birthday cake.

One of the most important things we did, though, was to change the emphases from gift getting to gift giving. We knew that we remember Christ most when we act like him – when we give and love. Most adults enjoy Christmas because they spend themselves giving to others. We didn’t want our children to miss out on this experience, so instead of encouraging greed in our children by asking “What do you want to Christmas?”, we asked, “What are you going to give for Christmas?”

We explained that Santa was anyone who wanted to give a gift to others, but didn’t want them to know who gave the gift. We had fun as a family as our little Santa, complete with a red hat and cotton ball beard, would drop off goodies at a friend’s home then run, sometimes in circles!

The weeks before Christmas went quickly. It was a busy time filled with secret plans and present making. My husband and I kept our decorations, food, and present buying simple (just one present each), so we could enjoy helping our children make their presents. Even the baby gave her hand print on a piece of paper.

No presents were put under our tree until just before bed on Christmas Eve, then Santa and his elf (our younger children) would bring in the unlabeled presents and place them under the tree.
On Christmas morning we take turns giving presents. The youngest child begins, then on to the oldest person in the family. Presents were opened one at a time, admired by all, and thanks given.
Keeping our Christmas preparations simple and giving small presents helps us remember our Savior at Christmastime and brings His Spirit into our home.

part of this was published in

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