It saddens me how Christmas has become about receiving. I know I’m not alone in this. We are supposed to celebrate Christmas to remember the GIFT that was given to us with the Baby King born in the manger. So why is it that we spoil our kids with gifts? How did CHRISTmas become about us? Receiving instead of giving? We’ve taken Christ out of Christmas by our selfishness. It often happens one decision at a time. Satan can so easily turn something fun and good (like gift-giving) into something selfish.
So often parents feel guilty over not giving their children enough gifts, but maybe we should be feeling guilt when we do…What are we teaching them about Christmas when we spoil them with presents? How many of our children think Christmas is about Santa and the gifts he is bringing them and forget about the greatest gift of all?
I don’t want this in our family.
I want them to learn while they are young that Christmas is about the Gift that was given to us and about passing that GIFT onto others. To help refocus our gaze on Christ there are a few Christmas traditions that we have incorporated into our home.
I adore this quote: “The beauty of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence” author unknown.
Here are 7 CHRISTmas traditions to help teach your kids how to choose His presence over Christmas presents:
1. Pray everyday to take away the selfish desires and place our focus back onto who it belongs; Christ.
2. Read a scripture everyday about God’s gift to us. I found a great list on Pinterest.
3. Take the magic of Santa out of Christmas. I’m sure I heard a gasp here, but stay with me for a moment. Our family reads books about Santa and my kids know who he is; but they do know that he’s not real. I know many of you might think that’s wrong but when did Santa get to become the STAR OF CHRISTmas? Why should he get all of the recognition and power during Christmas? Placing the focus of Christmas onto Santa takes our focus off of Christ. I’m sure the story of St. Nicholas started as something good, but Satan has used it to distract us and especially our children from the real reason for celebrating Christmas.
4. Perform random acts of Christmas kindness. You can read more about this here.
5. Read Ann Voskamp’s book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas. A good friend gifted us with this book and I am so excited to make it a part of our CHRISTmas traditions. She also includes a scripture reading everyday with her story. I also read Ann’s book The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas for my personal devotions during the Christmas season. I am blessed by the way Christ uses her words to refocus my gaze back onto Him.
6. Adopt a family and have the kids raise money to help someone in need. We do this by having the kids do extra jobs around the house and yard. I found this idea here on Pinterest and we made a sign of our own. I usually have burlap bags with each of the kids names hanging on the bottom of the sign, but I am still working on pulling out all of my Christmas decorations. They collect their money in these bags.
And this year, we are trying something new. The girls (Sophia and myself) will be hosting a Christmas boutique in our home. It will be an open house where people can come to shop for handmade gifts and all of our proceeds will go to helping a family in need for Christmas. As I write, we are making handmade items to sell at our boutique. Here is the invitation we sent out for our party.
The chalkboard art invitation was made on Picmonkey.com. What a fun site to use!
7. We keep our personal gifts to this four gift idea I found (again on Pinterest). Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. We get our children 3 gifts of something they need, wear, and read (things we would be buying anyway) and the grandparents get them the something they want. Often times the “something we need” is a group gift for all of us; something the whole family can enjoy together. One year we bought this piano on Craigslist for $300.00. It’s more than we usually spend, but we needed a piano and I fell in love with the antique baby grand.
It’s not too late to start. Pray about it. I have to pray everyday that God will take away my selfish desires and those of my little family.
Ann Voskamp has said this, “The greatest gift of all is to beome the blessing”. I want to be that blessing to others and I want to teach my kids to be that blessing as well. Will you join us this year in choosing His presence over the presents of Christmas?