Making Family Traditions without Making Yourself Crazy

It seems like every year there is a new “tradition” or fun thing to do with the kids to enhance Christmas for the family. I think that is GREAT and I love creating family traditions with my kids. More power to all you super-creative mamas!

However, I’ve recently been trying to scale back our holiday commitments in an effort to not over-extend or over-commit our family or stress myself out. So in an effort to accept my own challenge to keep things simple but special–and most importantly, intentional–I’ve made a list of 5 things we will do with our kids this year.


Don’t get me wrong! If you go all out every year and have three trees and wrap up 25 Christmas books for your kids to open each day, or make everyone an advent calendar, then please know I admire you greatly and someday I might be just like you!

But this year, here are five fun, simple things we are doing:

1. Christmas Advent Calendar {or Wreath}

I bought mine to do with the kids. It has Bible verses and involves chocolate. 🙂 There are SO MANY cute ones available. We wanted to focus on one that worked itself into our family worship each evening. Advent wreaths are also my favorite!

2.  Put out the Nativity scene together.

I have two Nativities. One is my “nice” one that stays up high, but I also have one that is kid-friendly and having them help me set it up is such an easy way to keep up the discussion about Christmas.

3. Christmas movies

Our family movies have predominantly turned to Christmas movies. In our house these days, it’s mostly the ones with our much beloved truth-telling vegetables (aka Veggie Tales).  There are some great Christmas movies out there that include the real meaning of why we celebrate. But hey, there are also plenty of family-friendly classics. The point is, it’s fun to hang out on the couch for some extra family bonding over popcorn and hot cocoa this time of year.

4. Add a manger under your tree.

Whether it’s a baby bed with swaddling clothes or a small wooden crate, adding a manger under the tree is a great conversation starter for the kids. It is also a wonderful reminder for all of us when we begin to see ALL of the presents under the tree…including the manger.  On Christmas Eve, add a baby doll Jesus and do a family devotion to remind the kids who the real gift is for everyone.

5. Sing!

My kids love singing and it seems to be the best way to get through to them sometimes. Cue an adorable little preschool Tiger who sings about EVERYTHING. My daughter is a song-sponge. We’ve been making it a habit since we put the tree up to sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” ” Away in the Manger,” and “Silent Night,” as well as others. We sing them at all sorts of times during the day, usually when the kids are trying to resist the temptation of climbing the tree. They love it!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and if anyone feels a little overwhelmed or “behind-the-power curve” or already buckling under the holiday pressure for greatness, just keep it simple and keep it true.

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