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Christian families...how do you not lose sight of Baby Jesus in our family's Christmas?

(25 Posts)
tassisssss Tue 13-Nov-12 16:01:42

Anyone want to share ideas?

We adore the Colin Buchanan King of Christmas CD, have a zillion nativity sets for the kids to play with (wooden, fabric, playmobil) and have a lovely names of Jesus advent candle.

Obviously there are loads of church events too...

I'd quite like some Christmas Eve/day rituals that are linked to Jesus...some pals to a Happy Birthday Jesus cake which is cute...

My lot are 9, 6 and 4 and in some ways I think it's getting harder to avoid the materialism as they're getting older.

Anyone got any thoughts on the subject?

DoodleAlley Tue 13-Nov-12 16:17:05

Church on Christmas day is a big part of it. Read the nativity story on Christmas eve. Pray a festive grace at Christmas lunch?

I know it's controversial on here but we do do operation Christmas child and did the refuge Christmas list and will have a quick chat and pray for those people on the day

MaryBS Tue 13-Nov-12 16:18:42

We have a Nativity set, and the baby Jesus doesn't go into the stable until Christmas day. The 3 kings start off the other side of the room and gradually move closer, before arriving on 6 January. Even now, my 2 like to see how far they've got. As part of our Christmas display, we also have a model village, and its quite good fun to see the 3 kings moving from house to house smile

ApplePippa Tue 13-Nov-12 16:28:36

We put baby Jesus in the crib on Christmas Eve just before bedtime - helps to focus things a bit. Does your church have any kind of crib/christingle service for families on Christmas Eve? Ours has one in the afternoon, and to me that always feels like the real start of Christmas.

hanahsaunt Tue 13-Nov-12 16:30:48

Tell me about your names of Jesus advent candle - haven't bought candle yet and something different always good.

My older two have memory verses for the next day to earn their chocolate from their (Christian) advent calendar; all related to the Christmas story. Note to self - get organised with that now.

Loved watching the BBC nativity (2 years ago) with the older 2 - 30 mins a night over 4 nights. Planning on buying the DVD this year.

Much more controversially - buy book on St Nicholas and bring them to the legend/link to Santa/onto Christmas giving wink. Does set you up for your lo telling their class that Santa is dead blush.

stressedHEmum Tue 13-Nov-12 16:36:33

We go to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We also do other things all through advent with daily Advent reading and prayers. I have various Christmas story books which we read from all through Advent as well, even mine are all getting a bit old for that (mostly much older than yours) We light Advent Candles as well..

I have an advent calendar with pockets , inside every pocket I put a small chore or task, the children take turns at opening a pocket and doing the task, then I put 50p in the pocket. On Christmas Eve when the calendar is full, the children decide which charity to give to, and we donate the money - helps them focus on helping others and service.

It's a bit different in here because DH is an atheist so he actually discourages the faith element of Christmas, but I do my best.

ProbablyJustGas Tue 13-Nov-12 16:50:38

We went to church on Christmas Eve last year, and my mom (more devout than me) gave DSD a paper advent calendar with little readings for each day. DSD also got a chocolate advent calendar from Grandma, but she actually liked her second advent calendar with readings and thought it was fun.

This year, we've started to hear complaints about Santa Claus not bringing everything she asked for last year, so we're adding an "adopt a child" toy run which is organized through DH's work, and we will be getting DSD involved in that. I also saw a felt advent calendar at Lakeland with a nativity theme that I thought might be a nice addition to the house.

I would like to get an advent wreath and do candles on the Sundays like my mom did, but have yet to find one I like (when I can find one). But even if that doesn't come together, I am planning to find a good nativity picture book to read to DSD at night in the weeks leading up to the big day.

oldraver Tue 13-Nov-12 18:16:00

DS goes to a Catholic school and they have an Advent ring/wreath where they light a candle for each week. I'm not too sure how it plays out but DS says its for when Jesus is born

PandaG Tue 13-Nov-12 18:23:38

Make an advent wreath and have a very simple thought and prayer each Sunday in Advent.
Jesus only arrives in crib at Christmas (gen as we leave the house to go away for Christmas Day).

OUr Advent calendar is a reuseable build up the stable scene one with pockets...I like the idea of a verse to learn in order to earn the next day's chocolate...and maybe 50p a day too for charity.

When DC were younger we always sang happy birthday to Jesus when we cut the cake for Christmas tea.

we have a box of Christmas books which come out the first Sun in Advent - DC really too old for them now, but will still come out.

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Nov-12 18:26:58

I'm not christian, but my mum gave me a fabric advent calendar which has a pocket with a christmas tree decoration in each one, and when she used it for her class she put a slip of paper in each pocket with a prayer, thought to share, thing to do for others etc.
Ds is 6 this year, so I'll be using it to prompt about things we will be doing for charities and others, thoughts about people, read particular books, talk about others beliefs and so on

helpyourself Tue 13-Nov-12 18:31:12

It's as much about what we don't do. So Father Christmas definitely visits, but no 'be good or Santa won't come' hmm or elf on a shelf here. Advent is important for focussing on the 'reason for the season' too.

WingDefence Tue 13-Nov-12 18:36:37

Some great ideas on here. We do some of these and also refer to Christmas Day as Jesus's birthday party (although it sounds a bit cheesy even as I type it!) and only ever get advent calendars with a religious/nativity picture on it (got a fab nativity scene with stickers for each day for DS last year but I can't remember where we got it).

Going to church on the day itself etc is a given IMO?

tassisssss Tue 13-Nov-12 19:57:13

Brilliant ideas here, thanks!

We do a Happy Birthday Jesus event for the under 5s at church so there are usually balloons etc there. Agree with helpyourself that it's as much what we DON'T DO.

Hanahsaunt, I got this candle this year and have bought them for all the KidZone teachers etc at church too (so more than 10, yay only £2 each!). Last year I got a similar one from ebay shop only cream. Dd, who was just learning to read, enjoyed spelling out the name of Jesus each morning.

Can't recommend this cd highly enough. LOVE it.

hanahsaunt Tue 13-Nov-12 20:13:20

Fab - about to buy both.

The Fourth King is particularly good to add to the Christmas collection for prob 6+.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Tue 13-Nov-12 21:18:55

We have The Story of Christmas Advent calendar. Each picture is a tiny book that tells part of the Christmas story. They each have a loop attached so you can either hang all of them on the tree and slot each book into its place to build up the complete nativity picture or you can start with the whole picture and gang them on the tree as you go.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Tue 13-Nov-12 21:19:16

*hang of course!

Ragwort Tue 13-Nov-12 21:24:22

My DS is 11 now and it has never been an issue for us - he totally understands the REAL meaning of Christmas and fully embraces it. We have never got caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, whilst enjoying sharing (modest) gifts and happy times with family and friends as well. Our best ever Christmasses were spent providing lunches for people who would otherwise have been alone, organised through our local Church, even though our son was quite young at the time he always talks about those two Christmasses. smile He is so excited this year as he will be old enough to go to Midnight Mass with his Church youth group, and really looking forward to it.

SophiesMummySaid Tue 13-Nov-12 21:38:04

Love that Advent Calendar SSP just popped it in my amazon basket :-)

tassisssss Tue 13-Nov-12 22:26:44

Ragwort, that's lovely. We will look for more ways to serve others as our wee ones get bigger. Similarly our most memorable Christmas day involved us having 16 international students for full christmas dinner. They loved everything. I was pregnant with no 3, had a 15 month old and a 4 year old and was totally knackered (and I might have tipped a full tray of oven roast veg onto the kitchen floor and scooped them up and into a serving dish, oooops!) but yip it was fab.

My 3 enjoyed doing the shoebox a lot. 4 year old wanted to include hama bead heart and hand drawn pictures that I really hope aren't removed!

And still hoping to do the John Lewis gift list (hope there's stuff left in Dec).

stargirl1701 Tue 13-Nov-12 22:35:25

Love these ideas!! Please keep them coming. My LO is just 9 weeks but I would love to start some family traditions.

CarefullEugene Wed 14-Nov-12 10:39:00

We're atheists here and agree that it's partly what you don't do that focus's attention on the important stuff.

We avoid commercial tv and shopping with the kids
We try to limit the number of Christmas parties - by the time Cubs, nursery, stay & play, school, well meaning mothers have had there special moment, December is less about preparation and more about consumption and non stop partying.
We go away the week before Christmas to avoid the whole school nativity, video watching week.

We put a lot of emphasis on what it means to live in a world of plenty, working hard to provide food, warmth & shelter and celebrate safely reaching the middle of winter with enough excess in our lives to share with others.

We contact our friends and family with handmade cards and notes and make plans for the spring & summer.

worldgonecrazy Wed 14-Nov-12 10:44:26

We're not Christian, but are raising DD in a multi-religious environment. We are pagan, her Godmother is a vicar, and her Grandad is Catholic.

On Christmas Eve we attend the Children's Service at her Godmother's church and when we get home we put Baby Jesus in the nativity scene at home.

tassisssss Wed 14-Nov-12 12:27:46

oooh remembered another fab thing we have

brilliant dvd on the true meaning of christmas. introduces St Nick too. My ds (9) adores this series

cornflakegirl Wed 14-Nov-12 13:50:05

Just bought the Colin Buchanan CD - been meaning to for a while, so thank you for the prompt.

Came across this advent calendar at the same time - DS1 uses the XTB bible reading notes by the same person, so I'm hoping this will be as good - the reviews certainly look positive. (Will probably get some Divine advent calendars too so they're not chocolate-deprived wink)

BiddyPop Wed 14-Nov-12 16:12:10

Up to last year, we read a story every night at bedtime anyway, and my stash of Christmas books included a few like "Sleepy Jesus" and others about the Christmas story, not all Santa and elves. It will be more tricky this year as we only read twice a week, but DD also has the run of all the books to read to herself too.

The youngest in the family always lights the Christmas Candle on Christmas Eve, to show that we have "room at the Inn" for any stranded travellers. And we chat about why we light the candle and say a few prayers too for Jesus and also those who have died during the year or who are really sick, and to say Thank You for the blessings we've had during the year too. (We don't quite go as far as a decade of the Rosary like at home when I was growing up).

We do a lot of things to help people who need help at Christmas - sending used clothes to younger cousins, DD chooses old toys to give to charity shops, and she chooses a new toy in shop to wrap for "giving tree" appeal, and we also give food to school for hampers for local families and to another couple of hamper collection efforts.

We have an advent wreath that we light every Sunday.

We go to Mass on Christmas morning.

I have a load of cribs - a large one that takes the whole hall table, a lovely wooden one on the mantelpiece, and a small one that fits in a rose-shaped ring box that DD has taken to her room the past couple of years.

But we're quite like CarefullEugene in that it's as much about not conspicuous consumption as religious observation. We don't go to Santa in shopping centres - we will make a meaningful family outing somewhere that may have Santa involved but is a fun family thing (this year, it's a Green Santa and tree planting). We go to the party for kids in my office, but that's about it. DD goes to a multi-denominational school so learns about and celebrates many different religious festivals - Christmas is probably the biggest but it is less commercial than many other local schools and the school ethos is very much about respecting everyone and being aware of everyone's needs.

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