This year my goal has been to have a Christ-centered Christmas Season. I wanted to help my kids focus on the true meaning of this holiday. I wanted to teach them service and gratitude. We started the month off with this advent I found online:
The last two years, I've done something similar - I wrap 12 pictures of Christ and we open one a night for the 12 days of Christmas and read a scripture about each one - but this year when I saw this advent I decided a whole month of the stories of Jesus would help us remember.
Cameron's mom gave us a nativity to paint together. Our first family night of the month we painted it together. After we talked about acts of service we could do through the month and came up with a list. Our list changed over the month as things came up. I'm amazed at how many opportunities there are for service when we are looking for it. We came up with simple things and harder things. It's been fun to talk to the kids about things they've done. Even Isaac has said things like, "I made her happy because I opened the door for her! I did an act of kindness!!" Even our 2 year old Ella's joined in the fun, "I'll be a peace maker." she says.
Austin decided one thing he could do was to make duct tape ninja stars and hand them out to his friends and people that "sit by themselves at lunch".
When scouts was cancelled because his leader was sick, Austin and I delivered this little get well kit. Austin opted for the ring and run method of delivery.
Our family provided part of Christmas for a six year old girl. The kids couldn't believe that a kid would put SHAMPOO on her wish list. "What? Her family doesn't have enough money for soap?!"
The boys played Christmas music at a nursing home. Then they gave a resident from our ward there a hug - which is kind of major for them. It's hard to hug strangers (especially when you're 8 or 10 and they're 93 and you don't know them!)
We've also found other ways to incorporate a more Christ-like attitude in our celebrations. We read this talk that ties the Grinch story in with the nativity. Then we had a "who feast" with 'Mean Grinch Green Brocolli', Roast Beast, Who-Pudding, and Who-Hash. After, of course, we
watched the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Actually, we TRIED to watch it but Isaac accidentally deleted it instead of pressing play on the DVR. He was pretty devastated but Landon cheered him up and we watched something else instead.
Our service acts included delivering a lot of cookies to a lot of different people and places. Isaac loves to help in the kitchen.
Kids are kids and they still fight and get a little greedy for Christmas presents but I have noticed them trying. Isaac won this Reindeer in one of those 'claw machine' games. Ella was sad she didn't win. He said he'd share it with her because, "that's what Jesus wants me to do."
This night we went on a Christmas light scavenger hunt. It was good quality family time. I highly recommend this idea. The kids loved it. See if you can beat our record for the most snowmen - we found 68!! (we also found 4 santas on motorcycles but that might just be a Mtn Home thing! ;) )
The smiles on these faces are proof positive that GIVING can be better than receiving.