Celebrating Christmas and Advent

As a mom of young kids, sometimes it is hard not to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

From all the marketing of things you need, should have, and must have in your home to make the holidays special it can leave many overwhelmed and frustrated. Since, we had young ones I have been trying to remember the truth of this holiday season. It isn't about Santa Claus, the gifts, the decor, and the holiday parties. Rather, it is the celebration of a baby born to save us all.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the holidays, what if we used this time to focus in on the gospel and this first act of love by such a kind Father. This season, gives us more then one chance to talk to our kids about the true meaning of Christmas and also to those around us, as they are more open it seems in the holiday season.

I think my favorite memories of Christmas are some of the traditions of serving others with my family, and the moments we spent together. These moments have stayed with me for years and I love to tell my kids about them. This makes me want to  to start my own traditions with our family. Since, my little guys are young it makes it hard to serve in areas where there is an age restrictions, so we try to do things that they can participate in as well.

Today, I wanted to share some of the things we are starting to enjoy as a family and some of the things we have used to try to keep our kids and ourselves on the truth about Christmas.

We have done our best to do an advent calendar or devotional each year with our boys. I'm so excited to try out the new advent devotional for families by Paul Tripp, called Come Let Us Adore Him. Its a daily devotional for families to to each day of advent, it also includes activities to get little kids involved. Check it out on amazon here! This just came out but super excited because we love Paul Tripp and his books.

Our kids have also enjoyed playing with their own nativity scene during the season, and it has given us many opportunities to start teaching them at a young age about the Christmas story. Here is the one we have :
We have also used this nativity scene to act out some of the verses we read, with the advent calendars, we have purchased in the past years. My families favorite are the ones with the chocolate hidden in the slots.

My kids also love to read and Toby has had a hard time understanding the purpose of giving gifts and why we do it? I grew up on the Bernstein Bears, so last year I purchased The Bernstein Bears and The Joy of Giving. This has been helpful in opening up discussions with him and explaining the reason we give gifts but also the joy that it brings to bless another person with one.

Also, our go to favorite book all year round in teaching our kids about the gospel is the Jesus Storybook Bible.  The way this book lays out the gospel is so easy to understand and the illustrations in it are beautifully done. My kids love to read it at bedtime.

I hope that these are helpful ideas for looking ways to help teach your kids the real reason we celebrate Christmas. If I had any advice at all to give you it would be to keep things simple. Start small with a new tradition to add advent celebrations into your home. You don't have to do it all at first or even ever, its what works best for your family, and it is not meant to be another thing to add to your to-do list. Rather, I hope that it starts to become a priority over the others, as the gospel story is truly can make a huge impact on your life and your kids.

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