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Christmas traditions to share with your loved ones

Parenting & Family
By Kathryn Knight

Image: Deposit Photo

Christmas abounds with opportunities to teach our children about God.

It’s important and fun to make Christ’s birth the centerpiece of our Christmas celebration. Presents, lights, and decorating are exciting, yet when all the cultural trappings scream for our attention, Jesus’ Nativity is minimized. If you already have traditions that focus your family’s attention on Jesus each year, keep them going, even when the kiddos aren’t little anymore. If you have not added Christ-centered traditions yet, this is the year to start. Try some of these and create your family’s own Christmas traditions. 

Nativity Walk-Through

Many churches hold a walk or drive-through nativity. Walk through together, interact with the characters and observe, then on the ride home ask what each person found interesting. Many times kids see things we do not. 

Focus on Saint Nicholas, not Santa

For many folks, Santa has been a tradition since they were kids. Instead of focusing on a fictionalized Santa, teach your kids the true story of St. Nicholas, who was a Christian man.

Look for Jesus

When you set up your Nativity scene, keep Jesus out of the manger until Christmas Day. Let the little ones take turns checking to see “if Jesus is here” each day. The anticipation gives you the chance to talk about why we celebrate Christmas and how throughout the Old Testament, people looked forward to Messiah’s birth. When you put Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning, the little ones will be delighted to see that the baby has finally arrived. 

Truths about Christ’s Birth

Study the nativity story with your kids and see if you can find where tradition veers off from the biblical account. Did Mary ride on a donkey? Was Jesus born in a clean stable? Were there really animals nearby? Buy some frankincense and myrrh and research why these were the gifts the Wise Men brought. Let the kids feel and smell these fragrant items. Ask questions: how did the Wise Men know where to go? Did other people see the star? How many were in their caravan? 

Watch Christmas Movies Together

Some holiday movies are cute, heartwarming and fun to watch. But after the credits roll, talk to your kids about the message. Is “family” really what Christmas is all about? It is a benefit of the season, but not the reason. Do you have to have tons of gifts to enjoy Christmas? Is magic (reindeer flying, gifts appearing, etc.) real? How is Santa’s list like the Book of Life? Can you earn salvation or really be good without Christ? 

Support Worldwide Evangelism

Each November, we look through the Samaritan’s Purse booklet and each child chooses a gift to send. The gifts need not be expensive; for example, one of my girls chose to send a flock of hens to a needy family for less than $20. Remember to pray for the recipient to hear the Truth of Christ as they receive their gift. 

Listen to Carols

Christmas songs are everywhere, but carols aren’t heard that often. Teach your kids the carols. Sing them together, look at the words, learn the back stories of each one. There is often a fascinating history behind many carols. For example, Silent Night was written hurriedly for guitar because a church organ was broken. Start your carol history journey here.

Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas

Continue Christmas cheer after the Big Day. The 12 Days of Christmas really begin on Christmas Day and end on January 6 (traditionally called Epiphany and hailed as the day when the Wise Men arrived; again, tradition, not fact). Instead of stopping Christmas celebrations on December 25, celebrate the 12 Days as a time to reflect and think about Christ coming to save us. End the time with a birthday party for Jesus on January 6. Who says decorations have to come down on December 26? Leave your decorations up until the birthday party.

Say “Merry Christmas!”

We as Christians have the ONLY real reason to celebrate. Material gifts will all fade, break or be outgrown, but the eternal gift is that God provided a Savior for us all. Do not bend to a cultural “Happy Holidays” greeting. Tell everyone that Christmas is merry because of Jesus.

Retailers want us to celebrate Christmas by opening our wallets. There is nothing wrong with gift-giving, after all, the Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus and Jesus Himself is the greatest gift ever. Enjoy all the fun holiday foods, lights, gifts and other traditions, but do not miss the opportunity to show your kids that Jesus is the gift we all need and that His gift of salvation is absolutely free!

Ephesians 2:8-9.

Merry Christmas!



The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.




Kathryn Knight, EdD, has homeschooled for over a quarter of a century. Four of her five girls have graduated and Kathryn is loving the new adventure of homeschool with an “only” child. She loves teaching all subjects, especially history, and has made an art of educating her kids with hands-on projects, re-enactments and travel.

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