Christmas is just around the corner! It’s a fun (but BUSY) season, and it’s easy for us (as parents) to lose focus. There are decorations to hang, gifts to buy, meals to plan, parties to attend, cookies to bake, elves to move, etc. So, let’s take a moment to remember the REAL reason for Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and to help our children learn why we celebrate!
Here are 10 ways to teach your kids about Christmas:
- Gift Gab: As you make your list (and check it twice), ask your child for input. Say: Do you know why we celebrate Christmas? It’s Jesus’s birthday! If you could buy a present for Jesus, what would it be? Children understand the concept of birthdays. Birthdays certainly include presents, so what better way for you and your child to celebrate as you dialogue about an appropriate (virtual) gift for Baby Jesus?
- Gift Giving: Explain why we give gifts at Christmas. Jesus was the best gift ever given. He was the one-of-a-kind gift that everyone needs but no one can purchase. He was given as a baby, lived a perfect life, and paid for our sins so that we could experience forgiveness. Post this verse and help your child memorize it: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life,” (John 3:16, NIrV).
- Christmas Cards: As you prepare to choose, address, and send Christmas cards, don’t forget a card for the Birthday Boy! Make a birthday card for Jesus and place it under the tree!
- Ready to Read: We take time to read fictional Christmas books, so make time to read the birth narratives in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2.
- Nativity Knowledge: Set your nativity scene up in a prominent place in your home. Ask: What is an important symbol of Christmas? (Christmas tree, Santa, etc.) Say: Although those are fun, the reason we celebrate Christmas is it’s Jesus’s birthday! So, let’s set up our nativity scene so that all who come into our home can see why we celebrate Christmas!
- Baby Bundle: Take a walk down Memory Lane with your child. Discuss the anticipation of his/her arrival and look at baby photos. Explain the joy and excitement that accompanied his/her arrival. Say: We were so excited when you arrived that we wanted to tell everyone. Christmas is the holiday when we celebrate Jesus’s arrival as a baby on Earth!
- And…Action!: Read a portion of the birth narratives (Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2) and act it out! You can have the nativity scene pieces do the acting or even dress up and act as a family! (What a great photo opportunity!)
- Wrapping Ready: As you wrap presents, set aside a box for a very special gift. Swaddle a baby doll in a blanket or cloth, place it in a box, and wrap it like a normal gift. Indicate that it is the first gift to be unwrapped on Christmas morning. When December 25 arrives, have your child unwrap the present and recount the joy of Jesus’s birthday.
- Change for Change: Give your child a coin to drop in the Salvation Army kettle and discuss how it is important to focus not just on our wish lists but to help those who need food, clothing, and shelter. (The idea of the Christmas kettle began in 1891 as a way for people to contribute so that others could have a Christmas meal. Today, the money is still used to help those in need.)
- Bake for the Birthday: Bake a birthday cake with your child! Children understand that birthdays include presents and cake. Once the cake is baked and iced, enjoy it with your family. Be sure to add candles, sing “Happy Birthday, dear Jesus,” and blow out the candles!