As a mom of three young children, I constantly aware of what I’m teaching them. This Christmas, I wanted more than anything for them to understand that giving can be as much fun as receiving.
Writing a wish list to Santa Claus is something most children do this time of year. For my family, I wanted to refocus my children’s attention to Jesus and the gifts that He gave us, as well as, how important it is for us to give gifts that matter to others.
Here are a few ways that I did this with my kids: (This will be our new tradition. My children truly loved it.)
1. Have your children write down their prayers as a wish list to Jesus.
It’s a fun way to teach them to put their thoughts on paper. Plus, then they have a beautiful keepsake they can treasure. Encourage your kids to list out their hopes for the new year, not what they want to find under the tree on Christmas morning.
2. Make homemade gifts or even cards to give away.
You can give them to a family in your church who is in need or a widow at a nursing home. My children were involved in a project to help the homeless this year, so we did gifts for them. Homemade cookies, arts and crafts, anything that they can create with love for someone else is the perfect reminder that giving can be fun.
3. Make ornaments with Bible verses on them.
Tell your kids the wonderful story of our Savior’s birth as you make the ornaments. Here are a few scriptures we used:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Matthew 2:10
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:12
4. Celebrate with a birthday cake for Jesus.
A few years ago, we began making a cake at Christmas. This is a great way to remind your children what is being celebrated on Christmas day.
5. Craft snowflakes to represent each child’s uniqueness.
Cut snowflakes out of construction paper and have your children write down the ways that God made them unique. Explain that just as each snowflake is unique, God created us all to be special.
6. Wrap “love lists”.
Have your children wrap up boxes filled with letters to the people they love with lists of the gifts they see in that person. My oldest daughter wrote to her younger brother that he was “funny”. He, in turn, wrote that she was “smart.” Not only is this a great way to teach your kids that the best gifts aren’t material, but it’s also a fun way to get them to affirm each other. If your child doesn’t have any siblings, have him/her do this for grandparents or other family members you will see on Christmas day. I promise it will bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Parenting today is not easy. Material gifts are at the top of everyone’s wish list. But, we know that the gifts that truly matter are the ones given to us by our Father in Heaven. And the greatest gift of all was His Son, Jesus.