Parenting: Five Family Traditions You May Want to Embrace this Christmas
Opening the Right Stuff This Christmas—Five Family Traditions You May Want to Embrace
Are you looking for new ways to bring life and meaning to your family’s Christmas this year? With the landslide of commercialism and secularism driving most of our Christmas agendas, you may, like me, feel like it’s time to shovel away the clutter to get to a more meaningful Christmas. I’m not a Scrooge. I really do embrace most of the great traditions of the season. But how do you reflect the Christ difference in your family’s festivities? Is Jesus really the reason for your season? I truly want more meaning for my family this year. You may want to try these ideas and watch them grow into new traditions in your home. God bless your family this Christmas!
Open your Home
- Open your Home and have a party. Celebrate Christmas with friends having a ton of fun and laughter. But make it more than a self-absorbed, gorge yourself, plastic event! Party with a purpose by aiming for a deeper, God-honoring connection with your company. Have every guest come prepared for their moment in the Christmas spotlight by being ready to answer these three questions. Depending on the size of your group, ask someone every 20 minutes for their 3 minute response.
- What is your favorite Christmas memory as a kid growing up?
- The gift I enjoyed giving the most in my life was…
- What two-three things would you like to thank God for this Christmas?
Create more meaning at your party by having a group prayer time thanking the Lord for the difference He makes in your lives and homes.
Open your Door
- Open your Door and get outside. Quit sitting around. Get active! Kids love it. Do an activity as a family or with friends. Create a Christmas scavenger hunt, a car rally or a photo hunt in teams. Find a place to go public skating or tobogganing (subject to location and climate of course). Go caroling in your neighborhood., attend a Christmas production, take a sleigh ride, build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or take a hike. For those wanting something tamer, consider a drive to view the Christmas lights. But if you have teens, keep it short and be sure to end with some good food as the light thing is more about toleration for them. Try to find those who don’t have family around to play with. Open the family circle. Find any way to do something in God’s great outdoors and don’t forget to thank Him for the fun and the food that follows.
Open your Table
- Open your Table and welcome a guest. I honestly thought when I was growing up that having people from outside our family over for Christmas dinner was what everybody did. Mom and Dad would always pull our table open and fill it. For us, guests at this time were as traditional as the tree, the houselights, the turkey and all. My mom would even have a gift for them to open so they would feel the love of family. It was the Currie norm for as long as I can remember. Once married, we embraced this practice and at least two-thirds of our Christmas days have included people who would otherwise be alone at this time. Why not ask your family whom they would like to love in this special way at Christmas? It might be a single mom and her kids, a widow, a student not going home or someone from a broken family. Share your table and in so doing, reflect the love of God this season.
Open your Wallet
- Open your Wallet and give generously. You say, “Christmas is already costing me a fortune! I doubt we’ll have any extra money to give away.” I know the feeling. This season always has its challenges. How much can you afford to spend on each child (we had four and now we have 9 grandkids)? What about entertaining, parties, traveling to relatives, or extra decorations and flowers? Parents wonder if they will have any left to spend on each other. Here’s why. The average holiday spending across Canada this year is expected to be $885 per person on everything from gifts to turkey and wine compared to the $953 spent in 2013, says the survey by Field Agent Canada. Many will take over three months to pay off their Christmas debt according to a UK study and it’s estimated even longer in North America. But wait. Isn’t it better to give than to receive? Why not fight consumerism with compassion? I challenge you to decide as a family on a great way to make a difference in this world. Maybe do a bottle drive for your cause to allow the kids to be more involved. Consider buying an extra turkey to drop off to a family less fortunate than yours. Why not sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion? Find a worthy, non-profit charity that is really making a difference and give them a year-end gift. Look for some way to leave your mark as a family – God’s fingerprint through you.
Open your Heart
- Open your Heart and let Christmas sink in. What was the Lord thinking when He sent Jesus to this world? What was He trying to say to us? Find time to pull away by yourself and relish in God’s amazing love for you in giving the greatest gift ever given. “For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given” – The great joy for all mankind is over the realization that Jesus came to reconcile us to God. Remarkable. Read the account of God reaching out to us in 3 or 4 different Bible versions (Luke 2). Then actually read the story of His birth before you open presents regardless of the age of your kids. Consider helping them to act it out. Sing about it – maybe even try “Happy Birthday to Jesus”. We always like to have a time of prayer in gratitude for our greatest gift. Why not declare your belief with a Facebook posting – “Why I am thankful for Jesus this Christmas”. Say Merry Christmas or God bless your Christmas to at least 10 people per day in the week leading up to the day. For sure, attend an inspiring Christmas service at your church. Do whatever it takes to allow God to touch your own heart.
I’d love to hear how you are keeping your faith alive and well this Christmas. Maybe one of YOUR suggestions will be the new activity to become tradition in the Currie home this year. Merry Christmas to you and your family and God’s blessings into the new year.
© Dr. Dave Currie – November 2014