By Donna Rayburn

As I talked to many parents about their family Christmas traditions, we all soon discovered that we wanted to do more for our children to enhance our Christian faith during this time.

We tend to slip into the “material world” just like our children do.  I am guilty of running to the store when my children want something throughout the year, so at Christmastime, I scramble to think of what presents to buy. Then Christmas becomes all about what to buy instead of why we are celebrating.

I noted some ideas that might be fun and easy for families to start their own faith-based traditions and get back to focusing on the “reason for the season.”

-Christmas Eve dinner where the family gathers to reflect on Jesus’ life and what His birth means to us.

-Having each person in the family participate in setting up the manger scene or cooking part of the Christmas dinner.

-Having the children bake a birthday cake for Jesus and the family sing Happy Birthday to Him.

-Give God one very special gift just from you to Him. No one else needs to know what it is. It could be to forgive someone or to commit to spending more time with Him in prayer and reflection.

-Set aside a special time for the family to read together the Christmas story in Luke 1:5-56 through 2:1-20.

-Pick an angel for a gift from the angel trees throughout our community at the YMCA, Salvation Army and our local churches where we can help those in need.

– Spending time as a family serving meals at charities like Metropolitan Ministries or Cynthia Pinckney Ministries.

-In lieu of presents, the family can spend time going somewhere together (dinner, show, hotel) and simply enjoy being together

-Create a Christmas chain with paper and each day of Advent, the family reads one activity from the chain they created.

-Make  a homemade gift instead of buying a present.

I think 1John 2:16 makes it pretty clear where our focus should be, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.”

Let’s all spend a little more time this Christmas Season thanking God for sending His son as the greatest gift ever given. Jesus came to save us and that is why we celebrate Christmas.


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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.