I want to incorporate more traditions into the life of my young family, but that is an abstract and vague goal, which until now, had no hope of fruition. As December 1st approaches, I mean well and have every intention of executing every fabulous Christmas idea I’ve pinned on Pinterest. Reality is I maybe accomplish one of those things. Time passes twice as quick in December, I’m sure of it.
The other eleven months of the year, I have come to learn that intentionality begins with a plan. Why should December be any different? Despite the hussle and bussle, having a loose framework for what I want to accomplish during the yuletide season provides a direction and a filter for all my sporadic hopes and dreams.
As the ages of your children change so will your traditions, but the general goal can be the same each year. The repetition makes them tradition, and the people you do them with is what makes them meaningful.
I narrowed all the Christmas activities down to 8 categories:
A Craft to Make
If you have littles, something simple and sensory like these handprint crafts would be ideal.
I love these button ornament ideas too!
If you are just NOT a crafting mom (I totally get it, right here). Try purchasing an inexpensive craft kit that comes with all the supplies you need and makes minimal mess.
My daughter would love this snowglobe kit.
Painting ornaments is a great activity!
For older children:
Origami would be fun. I love these Christmas Star tutorials:
Tutorial 2 (Pictured)
Or these snowflake trees:
I think I will still enjoy making cinnamon ornaments when I’m 99.
If your “kids” are all grown up, something a little more sophisticated is in order.
These fresh mini trees are adorable and would bring such a lovely fragrance to the room!
You’ll love this round-up of 25 DIY Farmhouse Ornaments
A Treat to Bake
When the kids are little, you may want to let them help you bake, or you might just let them enjoy eating the sweet surprise. Either way, Christmas confections spiced with cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and peppermint are sure to make anyone smile.
Taking the time to make something homemade in the kitchen communicates love to those who get to partake in the tasting. Plan to bake extra for sharing!
Some festive ideas:
One of my traditions has been to have cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning (and Thanksgiving too). This year I made homemade cinnamon rolls. It’s actually totally doable without waking up at the crack of dawn, thanks to these 45 minute cinnamon rolls! (Just be sure to add plenty of flour when you roll out the dough).
A Truth to Ponder
This could look a number of ways. Maybe you read the same story each year (the birth of Jesus) but find different creative versions. Maybe you read a different scripture for each day of Advent.
Here is another cute printable advent devotional with a simple question you can ask your kids at the end of each reading.
A Place to Wander
Christmas activities are always such fun!
Ice skating, looking at Christmas lights, viewing a live nativity, exploring the magic that is Christmas. I have even come to enjoy the simplicity of letting my kids stroll down the aisle of Walgreens and push every button on every singing and dancing plush toy they can get their hands on. It makes them smile and laugh and it is completely free. Sometimes the pure joy of not being in a rush and soaking in their giggles is worth more than any paid admission event.
This Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt adds an element of good competition to the old tradition.
A Song to Sing
Christmas carols are played in abundance, but rarely does anyone know all of the words, or pause to really contemplate their significance. Pick one song, one that is rich in gospel truth and sing it each evening with your kids, or your hubby. Print it out and work on the lesser known verses. By Christmas morning you’ll know it by heart, and can sing for joy at the good news it proclaims.
Bonus points if you take time to learn about the writer of each song.
Some excellent titles for your consideration:
A Gift to Bring
During this season of giving, all of the needs and volunteer opportunities can be overwhelming. I want to make a difference and bring joy to someone’s life, but I can’t do all the things. So, rather than get overwhelmed by choices and do nothing, I need to narrow my focus. Choose one person or family to bless in a creative, unexpected (maybe even secret) way.
This might be filling a shoebox for a child in need, or donating toys to a toy drive.
If you are part of a church community, there may be a need within your very own church. Inquire with the pastor or administration and find out what needs you can help meet, or donate a sum of money anonymously and designate it for benevolence.
Perhaps you could put together a tray of homemade cookies and some hot cocoa mix and deliver it to a neighbor.
The ideas are endless– just open your eyes to the circumstances of those around you and ask questions. You’ll get the hints you need to create the perfect blessing.
A Reason to Laugh
Take time to play together! There are so many fun Christmas themed games. When we laugh together, we make memories.
A Shepherd’s Staff
Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! …You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost…My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them…
This is what the Lord God says: See, I myself will search for my flock and look for them. As a shepherd looks for his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will look for my flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and total darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples, gather them from the countries, and bring them to their own soil. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the land.I will tend them in good pasture, and their grazing place will be on Israel’s lofty mountains. There they will lie down in a good grazing place; they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.I will tend my flock and let them lie down. This is the declaration of the Lord God. I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice.
We have such a merciful and compassionate God! We have been sought out and gathered, rescued and fed. We who were once far off, wondering and in danger, have been brought near and placed in safety and rest.
How can we emulate Christ the Shepherd? Who is on the outside of our circle that we can extend the loving hook of the Shepherd’s staff to bring near?
We have an obligation and privilege to reach out with the same Shepherding love that God extended to us. Let us not shirk such a critical role. Who can you include? What offense or pride can you swallow in order to befriend? What inconveniences can you rejoice in for the purpose of the Kingdom? What joy and fellowship can you offer to a heart that is broken?
John 10:11 CSB “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
How can we take the Good Shepherd’s staff and bring someone near to the love of Jesus? How can we follow Christ and lay down our life this Christmas?