Have you noticed that each year the world tries to take Christ out of Christmas?
I have, and it makes me want to do something about it.
That’s the kicker.
I could make a big deal about it and try to get everyone to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”. I could start arguments on Facebook about how everyone has lost the real meaning of Christmas.
But is that how Jesus wants me to celebrate His birthday? I don’t think so.
That is why many years ago my family and I decided to do things differently. I would love to share with you how we choose to keep Christ in Christmas.
Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa
First of all I’d like to share a very controversial decision we made. We told the kids the truth about Santa Claus from the time they were very little.
We felt it was lying to them to teach them to believe in something that wasn’t real and we always wanted the focus to be about Jesus.
I don’t judge others who let their kids believe in Santa. Only you can decide what is best for your family.
Now, if someone like their grandparents or aunts and uncles gave them a gift from Santa we taught them to accept it and just thank the person who gave it. The important thing was that they were showing my kids love.
But in our house Christmas was Jesus’ birthday.
For many years, as part of our Christmas dinner we had a birthday cake for Jesus that the kids helped make and decorate. We put a candle on it for each child, we sang Happy Birthday and then all the kids got to blow out the candles.
The children loved it, and looked forward to Jesus’ birthday party as if it was their own.
Teaching kids the true meaning of Christmas
My husband and I also knew that there was a much deeper meaning to Christmas, and as Christians we wanted to teach our children what that meaning was. What Christmas is really about it LOVE. God’s love for us and how we can show that love to others.
Our kids knew that they were getting gifts and that was our way of showing love to them, but how could we keep the focus on teaching them to give, instead of selfishly focusing only on what they want?
That is not an easy thing to do when everything around them is geared towards making them selfish and wanting more and more.
Here are some of the things that we did over the years.
1) They had to make Christmas lists
Once they made their Christmas list that was it; they couldn’t add anything else.
That made them carefully consider what they wanted because they knew that if they saw something once their list was complete they could not add it. Over time it solved the problem of them wanting everything they saw in the stores because they learned that there was a limit.
2) They earned money to buy their own gifts
When they were small they had to do chores or do things for other people to earn money to buy their Christmas gifts for others.
We would occasionally supplement with a few dollars if needed or they could add their money to help us buy something for someone else.
It made them appreciate just how expensive Christmas could be and appreciate the gifts they received more.
3) We Adopted a Family One Year
When our children were a bit older they heard about a family that didn’t have anything for Christmas and asked us if we could help them.
We chose to make this a learning time for them. We sat down and told them how much we had budgeted to spend on Christmas and that if we were going to help them it was going to have to come out of the money we had planned to spend on presents.
Our kids decided that we would all receive less presents so that someone else could have Christmas too. They got to pick out the presents for the kids and help pick out presents for the kids to give their parents.
We all did the grocery shopping together for their Christmas dinner and we made a dessert for them. We wrapped all the gifts up and went and delivered them to a very surprised family who cried in appreciation.
It is something my kids have never forgotten.
4) We bought animals for people in the developing world
There are charities where you can donate money to buy things that people in needy countries can use. We all chipped in some of our money for presents to help others.
5) We helped the Salvation Army pack food baskets
One year the Salvation Army was in desperate need of workers to pack the food baskets that they deliver to families at Christmas. We thought that this would be a great opportunity to show our kids how to give back, so we went as a family and helped.
Our kids were humbled when they saw how many people needed baskets just to eat Christmas dinner and they saw how little they got compared to the big meals we ate as a family. They were a lot more thankful after that.
The results of it all
My kids are adults now and guess what? They are very unselfish people who put the needs of others first.
When they see someone in need they do what they can to help. Christmas is always fun and we still give gifts to each other, but there is an appreciation for what we have rather than disappointment for not getting everything we wanted.
You can train you child to be unselfish. It does take time and you are going to have to do things that other parents won’t do like caving into what you child thinks they need so that you will good in their eyes.
It is not easy because as parents we want to bless our children, but one of the best blessings you can give them is to teach them that it is better to give than to receive.
~ By Kim Thompson-Pinder