Christ-Centered Christmas Traditions

by candace on December 11, 2009

Christ Centered Christmas Traditions Each year I try to incorporate meaningful experiences into our holiday season in hopes that they will become part of our Christmas traditions.  My husband and I were both very blessed to have grown up in such wonderful families, and have carried many of the great traditions we enjoyed as children during Christmas time into our own little family.  This year I really set my focus on finding more Christ-centered experiences that we could do together to invite the true spirit Christmas into our lives, and to remind my children of the significance of the season; the birth of our Savior–  Jesus Christ.

I asked approximately one hundred women what they do within their families to keep Christ in Christmas.  I was touched and inspired by many of the ideas they shared with me.  In fact, I loved them so much that I wanted to share of few of my personal favorites with you.

  1. Find an open basket, a crate, or if you’re handy you could construct a small manger.  Look for materials that represent hay.  You can use actual straw if you don’t mind the mess, or opt for something that looks similar such as colored yarn, raffia, strips of paper, etc.  Trim into small pieces if necessary.  Put the “hay” in a separate basket from the one that will be used as the manger.  Each time someone performs an act of selfless service for another, or goes above that which may be expected of them, they have the opportunity to place a piece of hay in the manger.  On Christmas Eve gather as a family to discuss feelings about all the wonderful things that have occurred through the duration of the practice, and place a baby doll representing Jesus into His manger.  The woman who told of this tradition tearfully shared that one year her six year old began to cry as they lay the baby Jesus in his bed of hay.  When she asked him what was wrong he responded by saying, “We didn’t do enough to give Him a nice, soft place to lay His head.  We need to do better next year.  We can do better guys.”
  2. One woman found a way to have a more Christ-centered version of the Twelve Days of Christmas for her family.  Each night they would read a part of narrative of the birth of Christ from Luke in the Bible, and along with the reading set out one piece of their nativity.  By the time Christmas arrived they had finished the story, and the entire nativity scene was displayed, ending with baby Jesus.
  3. This last one is simple, and yet so powerful.  One woman told of how she had looked up all the names that Jesus Christ has ever been known by or called.  Then she printed them out on old paper and hung them all over her tree along with olive wood ornaments that she collected on a trip she had taken to Jerusalem.  She said she loves to gaze at the tree with all the pretty lights, His names and her special ornaments, and feel the peace as she is reminded amidst all the hustle and bustle of the season, of Him and His light and what the season of Christmas truly represents.

God bless you and yours this Christmas season.  May you fill your homes and your hearts with His peace and share the light and love of Christ with all who surround you.

Linked to the fabulous Someday Crafts

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Destri December 11, 2009 at 7:34 am

Lovely post Candace.
Honestly it in itself was a great reminder to me this morning. I all but had a panic attack last night thinking of all the gifts I needed to round up, and the things that we need to do. to stop and think of the purpose of Christmas reminds me to slow down , breathe, and enjoy the moments of the season.
Me and my husband have a tradition of going to midnight mass on Christmas eve at his church and I think I look forward to it more than he does. It puts things into perspective for the following morning so I don’t get lost in the moment, I have the spirit right where I need it.
Thank you

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candace December 11, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Oh how well I know those “panic attack” moments! I have to constantly remind myself throughout the season that all of the other things take a back seat to the true reason for the season and that when you keep the proper perspective, those things that seemed so important at the moment suddenly become so insignificant in comparison.

I think it’s so wonderful that on Christmas Eve you take the opportunity to worship. I can see how that would really bring so much peace and joy into your home on Christmas morning.

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Maria December 11, 2009 at 11:26 am

I’ve always wanted to try the first idea you gave, but was worried my kids were to little to understand it. I think My oldest is old enough this year and I should go ahead and try it. I think it is such an awesome way to keep Christ as the center of the holiday. Thanks for the inspiring ideas.

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candace December 11, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Maria, I think this sight will be the dawning of a beautiful friendship between you and I. I love your witty sense of humor, your shared passion for spending time in the kitchen, and I’m sure I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of other things we must have in common.

I’m sure this concept is a lot like reading the scriptures or trying to hold FHE when you have young children; sometimes it all seems fruitless until one day they repeat back parts of the lessons you’ve shared together and tremendous amount of gratification washes over you, and all seems worthwhile in the end.

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Rebecca December 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Beautiful post Candace! I love the ideas. We have started having a family exchange between us and the kids and the present has to me handmade. It has been really neat to see the kids come up with very thoughtful, simple gifts they could make for a sibling or parent. And when they have made the gift with their own hands, they are SO excited to see it opened.

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candace December 11, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Sweet of you to say, seeing as how this is all old hat to you!

You are such a wealth of information, and I am forever blessed by our association.

I love your idea for the handmade gifts for the family. In the past my children have done chores to earn money, and then with that money purchased a thoughtful gift for someone else within the family– but I really love the idea of handmade. I once read that if you give a little bit of yourself with every gift you give it will be far more meaningful and cherished for years to come by those who receive it. I can see how including the gift of ones time would be far more special than just going to the store and purchasing something.

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Suzanne December 12, 2009 at 10:15 am

Thanks for that wonderful post I shared a link on my facebook page. I really need to continue to remember to make Christ the center of our celebration.

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candace December 13, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Suzanne,

Isn’t it wonderful to be part of a site where we can pass along such great information with others!

I was grateful to have had the opportunity to share these traditions here at TMH, and I am so pleased to know you enjoyed hearing about them as much as I did. Thanks for sharing the link:)

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Margo December 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Thank you for sharing this. In a world where sometimes we are made to feel we can’t even wish someone a cheery “Merry Christmas!” but must substitute Happy Holidays, this is refreshing to have your perspective. The good deeds hay in a manger is a terrific idea. I also really want to find a way to incorporate the names/ornaments idea for my own Christmas tree. These are wonderful reminders of the real reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ.

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Susan K December 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Wondering if this image (Christ child with parents’ hands) is a copyrighted image? I would like to use it on my fb page.
Let me know, please.
Thanks,
Susan

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Lori December 15, 2010 at 8:40 am

Thank you so much for these inspirational stories!

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Polly November 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I know this page is from a while ago, but I wanted to post something we do, that the kids look forward to every year. We set up the stable in one area of the house, and then have Joseph and Mary (followed by the wisemen) journey around the house. They move a little each day (the kids usually don’t see them move, they try to find them each morning). By Christmas morning, they are in the stable and, of course, Jesus is in the manger!

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Molly November 19, 2011 at 6:04 am

Love these ideas. My parents started making a “happy Birthday Jesus” cake instead of pies on Christmas. My little brothers are 10-14 years younger than me. They LOVED it! We just loved the idea that you are celebrating Jesus and His birth-so why not have a party too! :)

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MONA November 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm

We do this too! We live in a condo complex and I have even invited neighborhood kids to join our party.

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Beth November 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

These are some great ideas. At our home we set up the nativity we put the stable in one place then put the other people around the living room and even in other rooms depending how far they travel in the Christmas story. Everyday the people travel closer and we talk about them. So as we move the wisemen we talk about how they saw the star and followed it. On Christmas eve we put Mary and Joseph in the stable but not the baby Jesus. Christmas morning we read Luke and put Jesus in the manger. Then open the gifts.

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Destri January 30, 2012 at 6:17 am

Love that idea Beth, thanks so much for sharing. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

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shannon December 16, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Thank you for this post. Beautiful.

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Deborah December 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm

The Baby Jesus is not placed in the stable until return from Christmas Eve Mass. The stable is over 60 years old and so is the hay (which is very dry by now). Only a small baggy of hay is left (hopefully we get another 60 years).

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