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10 Ways to Celebrate a Christ-Centered Christmas With Little Ones
Posted By Jessica Smartt On December 4, 2012 @ 3:00 am In Children,Faith and encouragement,Family life,Holidays,Mothering | Comments Disabled
Guest Post by Jessica of Smartter Each Day 
Isn’t Christmas with little ones wonderful?
It’s been quite a Christmas here , already. We’ve suffered three broken ornaments (one vintage), one ripped Christmas book, two discovered presents, a missing baby Jesus, and our monstrous tree has toppled over twice. (Don’t worry: two tree stands, four saw-ings, one PVC pipe, and two strands of fishing line later, it’s as stable as can be.)
Oh… and did I mention a rather tense and snippy mom?
This year I’m focusing my energy on a few of these ideas for a real, memorable, and Christ-centered Christmas.
I love these musings from Ann Voskamp about feasting on Christmas. Our grocery budget is tight, but I’ve considered eating simply for a week– frugal soups  and rice and beans – so we can splurge Christmas morning on real, delicious foods God has given us.
Here, we’ll have dairy-free cinnamon rolls or chocolate-chip banana muffins . (Food allergies  aren’t going to ruin our feasting!) I’m a potato girl, so I’ll fry some hash-browns and brown-sugar turkey bacon . And of course, fresh berries! (Later we’ll devour Braised Short Ribs with all the fixings!)
My toddler boys love celebrating someone with a birthday party. To them right now, honoring Jesus’ birthday means a giant balloon, a homemade cake, and lots of loud singing! I think we’ll invite the neighbor kids and make an event!
I know this might cause an outrage, but I’m just not a fan of “Frosty” or “Silver Bells”! (I know, I know…I’m a Grinch!) These just pale in comparison to songs that tell the real story. This is our favorite kids’ album . My husband and I could listen to Andrew Peterson’s brilliant “Behold the Lamb”  album all year long! As far as books, consider visiting the library for a few Christ-centered books. 
This seems obvious, but bears repeating. Christmas can be confusing to little ones! It’s Jesus’ birthday, but there are trees, candy canes, Santa, penguins… Frankly, it’s hard for me to draw all the connections; imagine the confusion if you’re young!
Here’s a snippet of the conversation I had with Sam, our three-year-old:
Sam, do you remember that God sent Jesus down to earth to show people how to get to heaven? Every year we celebrate his birthday, when he was born as a little baby! Do you think we should give Him a gift? (Yes!) Well, do you know what He said he wants? (What?) He wants us to love other people and help them!
This year we rolled pennies and dimes from our family piggy bank, headed to the dollar store, and picked out toys to cram in shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child . Together we’ll pick out a gift from the Samaritan’s Purse  or Compassion International  gift catalog.
And I think we’ll give Jesus “a gift” – a picture of us stuffing the boxes. (You could take or draw a picture.) Although certainly not necessary, I think having a visual, tangible “present” for Jesus is a great idea for little ones. Whatever gifts of love you give this season, be clear that they are gifts for Jesus!
I’m really intrigued by those families who forgo gifts  at Christmas. Others do three gifts, symbolizing the three gifts Jesus received . I also like the idea of four gifts: “something you wear, something you need, something you want, something you read.” Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas  has many thoughtful, homemade gifts I’d never thought of!
I’ll be honest; this often feels like a real sacrifice! Getting everyone dressed in festive attire, fed something semi-special, and in the car at 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve is sometimes the last thing I feel like doing, and I’m tempted to skip it. Yet these services can often be the most entertaining and memorable for little ones!
Look over that list again. Who’s missing? Elderly neighbors who linger to say hi to your kids? Great-aunts out-of-town? Would some of these folks enjoy pictures of your family or a Christmas coloring page? Funny, but a page of scribbles and a picture of your kids just might bless a lonely someone with His love.
These days there are a plethora of Advent projects to choose from.
Perhaps it’s been a long and stressful year for your family. Maybe you’re frazzled and weary, and a list like this is more overwhelming than helpful. (I’ve been there! )
Consider pausing to ask the Lord what He wants for your family this year. If that means a barren tree, a handful of unwrapped presents, and a take-out dinner from Olive Garden, so be it! Growing up, we once celebrated Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant because my mom had been sick. We kids loved it!
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URL to article: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/12/10-ways-to-celebrate-a-christ-centered-christmas-with-children.html
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/10-Ways-to-Celebrate-a-Christ-Centered-Christmas-with-Little-Ones-at-KeeperoftheHome.org_.jpg
 Smartter Each Day : http://smarttereachday.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/a-real-christmas-story/
 these musings : http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/12/10-ways-to-celebrate-christmas-morning-regardless-of-whats-under-the-tree/
 frugal soups: http://smarttereachday.wordpress.com/?s=soup
 chocolate-chip banana muffins: http://smarttereachday.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/banana-bread-yummy-easy-allergy-friendly/
 Food allergies: http://smarttereachday.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/how-we-discovered-sams-allergies/
 brown-sugar turkey bacon: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sugar-and-spice-bacon/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=brown%20sugar%20bacon&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page
 favorite kids’ album: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001BHE1QK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001BHE1QK&linkCode=as2&tag=keeofthehom-20
 “Behold the Lamb”: http://www.andrew-peterson.com/players/btlog/beholdthelamb.html
 Christ-centered books.: http://www.vanderbiltwife.com/2012/11/25-jesus-centered-christmas-books-to-celebrate-advent/
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/childrens-nativity-set.jpg
 Operation Christmas Child: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/
 Samaritan’s Purse: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Giving/gift_catalog/
 Compassion International: http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=118493
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/A-Christ-Centered-Christmas-with-Children.jpg
 those families who forgo gifts: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/12/when-christmas-gets-radical-whose-birthday-is-it-really/
 Others do three gifts, symbolizing the three gifts Jesus received: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/11/the-3-gift-christmas.html
 Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A62H3CA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00A62H3CA&linkCode=as2&tag=keeofthehom-20
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/childrens-advent-calendar.jpg
 Jesse Tree devotional: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2010/11/free-jesse-tree-advent-devotional-book/
 Quiet times have been a struggle: http://smarttereachday.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/why-quiet-times-are-difficult-for-busy-moms-a-confession-and-a-contest/
 Truth in the Tinsel: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp-content/plugins/adrotate/adrotate-out.php?track=MTYsMiwwLGh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmUtanVua2llLmNvbS9lY29tL2diLnBocD9jbD0xMTgwMTQmYW1wO2M9aWImYW1wO2FmZj01NzU5Mw=
 Jesus Storybook Bible: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0310708257/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0310708257&linkCode=as2&tag=keeofthehom-20
 this idea: http://asmallsnippet.blogspot.com/2011/12/its-beginning-to-look-alot.html?m=1
 Here : http://www.iammommahearmeroar.net/2011/11/christmas-kojo-designs.html
 I’ve been there!: http://smarttereachday.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/help-wanted-2/
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