3 New Ways to Engage With Your Kids About the Christmas Story

 By Janice Harley

‘Tis the season to shop, take the perfect family photo, make and send cards, mail packages, bake cookies, decorate the tree, attend school parties, wrap gifts, fill stockings, and so much more . . . all wonderful traditions! But, how can we as parents remain intentional about keeping the true meaning of the beautiful Christmas story fresh and new in the hearts and minds of our little ones amid the holiday hustle and bustle? In the busyness of the holiday season, it can be easy to miss out on what Christmas is all about: Jesus, our Savior, the son of God, who came to Earth as a baby—our greatest gift!

Here are a few ways to engage your little ones so they won’t miss out on the true meaning of Christmas:

Giving Over Receiving

This year, strive to make Christmas about giving instead of receiving. All the commercialism on TV and social media can quickly monopolize their perspective on Christmas, so we need to be intentional about teaching them that Jesus truly is the reason for the season. Like Charlie Brown said, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Let’s strive to be creative in keeping the Christmas story fresh in the hearts of our children.

I often think of the quote by George Barna, “In the race to a child’s heart, the first one wins.” Let’s race to do our part to not let the world of commercialism get to the hearts of our children first.

This year, have your kiddos list who they can give to instead of what they want to see under the tree on Christmas morning. You can plant this spirit in their hearts by involving them in the giving process, letting them shop with you to pick out the gift to give to their teachers, or better yet, if they’re old enough, have them use their time, hands, and creativity to make a personal gift to give. Finally, put together a basket of Christmas goodies and hand-written thank you cards for postal carriers and delivery persons and place them by your front door or in your mailbox.

You’ll establish great traditions your children will love. The joy they’ll receive in blessing and surprising others will make a lasting impression on them as they capture and experience the true meaning of Christmas.

Act Out the Christmas Story

Ready! Set! Action! Grab your little actors and actresses and put on a family play. That’s right! Let your children take on a role from the Christmas story and act out the nativity scene! Make an invitation and invite grandparents and neighbors to the show. This will for sure become your family’s favorite tradition! Write your own script or use one we pinned for you.

After the skit, put on your Christmas pajamas, grab some hot chocolate, and load up your car! Turn on some Christmas music and drive around—not to look at Christmas lights, but to see how many nativities you can spot!

Be as Simple as the Wise Men

The commercialism of Christmas can cause a lot of stress in a parent’s life! While wanting to give our kids the perfect gifts while staying within a budget, we must first remind ourselves of the meaning of Christmas. I love the simplicity of the Magi (or wise men as we now call them). Many men went to see the King, who was born in a stable, yet only the wise men brought gifts—gifts with significant meaning: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Let’s keep this simple tradition going! Remind your kiddos the gifts we give to one another at Christmas should be symbolic of the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men. Buy three presents for each child that are symbolic of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh the wise men brought Jesus:

  • Gold represents a precious gift, one your child will treasure—a favorite keepsake, a special toy, or, if they’re older, a special pair of earrings or something with their name engraved on it. Gold was the common gift suitable for a king in biblical times, and Jesus is the King of kings!
  • Frankincense was used in perfumes and incense—and is still very expensive today. In biblical times, it was used in ceremonies and worship. Therefore, giving a gift to your children symbolizing frankincense can be something that will help them with their walk as a Christian and help them with worshipping the Lord. For example, their very own children’s Bible, a Veggie Tales DVD, or, if they’re older, a devotional journal or tickets to a Christian concert or a youth retreat.
  • Myrrh has been used not only in perfume but also in medicine. It symbolizes the ultimate bitter sacrifice Jesus would make when He died on the cross. Therefore, since Jesus’ body was broken for ours, a gift symbolizing myrrh can be anything your child would use for their body—items such as shoes, clothes, perfume, bubble bath, makeup, and so on.

Use special or gold paper to wrap these gifts to set them apart and give them a unique look. Be sure to talk about their meanings before your kids open them.

I pray you’ll have the most meaningful Christmas with your family and little ones yet. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, a time when the whole world celebrates the birth of our Savior. So, let’s strive together to teach the next generation the true meaning of Christmas.