I love this time of year.
The cooler weather, the music, the giving spirit that seem present in so many ways; it’s beautiful. I also love the traditions that my family and my husband’s family have passed on through the generations. As we began forming our own family traditions, I stumbled upon a new idea that I hadn’t heard before. I wish I could credit a particular source, however I’ve seen it and read about it from several places. So I’m not sure who to give credit to! I should note that I’m not the creator of this idea, but we do tweak it to make it just right for our family.
We call it the Christmas Box.
Each year in November or early December I begin working on our Christmas Box. My goal is to fill our Christmas Box with things that will create beautiful memories for our family. I usually include:
- Homemade “tickets” to our local holiday light show. It’s one of our favorite things to do each year.
- Mugs for hot chocolate and one of our favorite Christmas movies.
- A special treat for each person. For the kids it’s as simple as a candy cane or piece of chocolate. For my husband and I, I’ve been known to buy a candy bar or throw in a Starbucks gift card.
- Glow wands for the kids to use during the drive and long wait for the light show.
- A new pair of pajamas for each person. This one is subject to interpretation. Let’s face it, my husband and I only need so many pairs of pajama pants! So some years I just fold up some old ones and throw them in the box. However, our kids still need a new pair each year, so it’s a nice way to throw in that extra gift.
- At least one good Christmas book that tells the story of Christ’s birth. We also use our Bible to reinforce where the true story of Christ comes from.
Our Family’s Traditions
For our family, we choose a day that works for us since we spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our families out of town. I try to pick a Saturday.. That way, everyone is well-rested and we can get an early-ish start on our celebration. We generally have a sit-down dinner a little bit early and then we open our Christmas Box. The kids are always so thrilled to see each thing inside. Everyone changes into their new pj’s and we begin sorting through the goodies in the box.
Our kiddos are still pretty young, so we don’t plan much for after the light show. Generally the line is long and everyone is ready for bed shortly after we get home. After we get home, we open gifts and then put the kids in bed. That means that we have to get to everything else in the box before we leave. That can be a little tricky when I get overzealous and fill it to the brim! However, there have been times where we’ve opted to save something for the following day. I try to choose a short Christmas movie and we watch it before we leave or even save it until the next day.
Using the Christmas Box to Focus on Jesus
This new tradition is something I look forward to every year and I hope that it’s something that my children look forward to as well. I’m excited to see how it changes as they grow older. I love that I can use the things I put in this box to reinforce the birth of our Savior. With Christmas becoming more commercialized every year, it can really be a struggle to keep our children focused on our Savior. Even for those that don’t use Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ, most parents don’t want children whining, begging, or demanding certain gifts for two months every year.
I think it’s important to help point our children’s hearts toward Christ-like behaviors. I struggle with getting my children to focus on giving to others rather than focusing on their own desires. The Christmas Box helps me reinforce the importance of family time and togetherness, rather than just gifts and the individual.
How do you help point your children toward Christ or Christ-like behaviors at Christmas?
What traditions, old or new, do you enjoy with your family during the holidays?