First: Slow Down
Just make it happen. Teach your kids to slow down. Stop running around at breakneck speed. Miss some parties if you have to. But find a way to slow down. Your family and your children need to see you enjoy the holidays. They won’t benefit from seeing you stressed about the holidays.
Here are five things that you and your family can do to slow down:
- Build some puzzles — this simple, fun and slow.
- Play some boardgames — great for family time.
- Break out some coloring books! I’m 53 years old and I still love to color!
- Make some craft items for your friends or grandparents. Lots of construction paper, Elmer’s Glue and scissors can be a blast for your kids as long as you don’t get OCD about it all. Let them be creative! Do you have older kids? Let them build a model or a basic piece of wooden furniture. YouTube videos can help!
- Take a tour of your city’s lights. Load up in the car with your family and walk the best-lighted neighborhoods in your area. But, be sure to teach your kids about the Maker of Light — the Father of Lights. (James 1)
Second: Simplify Things
Simple things were meant to be enjoyed. Wanting Christmas to be bigger and bigger every year has become the curse of our American culture. We try to have bigger and better lights and bigger and better gifts. We try to impress more and more people every year. But, Christmas is not about impressing others. It’s time to get off that train. Ask yourself, “How can I make Christmastime simple this year?”
Once mom and dad have slowed down, make some hot chocolate for everyone, gather the family around the TV and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. Make some stringed popcorn tree decorations. You’ll only spend about three dollars, but you’ll have made a lasting memory for your children. Make a conscious effort to simplify your plans and your schedule. Enjoy good holiday movies like “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town” [the animated version], “Miracle on 34th Street,” “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Christmas Carol.” These are some superb suggestions for Christmastime family entertainment.
Third: Speak of the Savior
Christmas is about Jesus loving us so much that He saved us from our sins. Tell your family about that baby in the manger. But, be sure to mention the reason that He’s in the manger — one day He will become the suffering Savior on the cross and, three days later, the resurrected Christ. Christmas is a great time to tell the full story of Jesus to your family and, especially, your children. Grandparents, please don’t let this great holiday go by without telling your grandkids the full story of Jesus — His birth, life, crucifixion and His resurrection. Teach your children that Christmastime is about giving to others. Model it. Practice it. Take them with you when you do it.
A Final Warning: Three Things That Steal Christmas From Us
Commercialism. Don’t fall for the hype. “More" is not better. “More” is often clutter and financial pressure that you will dread for years to come. Don’t fall for the hype.
Keeping Up With The Joneses. The Joneses don’t expect you to keep up with them. No one says that you have to! If you’re not careful, this will turn into narcissism. You don’t have to have the same house, car, phone, computer, tablet, yard, dinette set or jewelry as your brother, sister, neighbor or church deacon. You don’t have to!
Consumerism. Having stuff just because it’s there is not always a good thing. If you’re not careful, you’ll have to start buying totes to store all of your stuff! This will lead to bigger totes. And before you know it, you’re buying or building storage units! This is very much like a warning found in the Scriptures about the man who kept building bigger barns. Don’t be that guy! (Luke 12:18-21) Be rich toward God!
Christmas is supposed to be all about Jesus, not about us. Don’t let your kids think that it’s all about them. It will simplify your holiday season!