What are your favorite family traditions during the Christmas Season?
Some of our favorite traditions are as simple as reading the same books every year and looking through our Christmas scrapbooks, sharing stories about previous year’s memories! And who can forget listening to the reading of the story of baby Jesus and singing Silent Night?
Of course, we didn’t have all of these fabulous books right away when we had children. The collection has grown over the past 17 years. Now, as the kids get older, I dream of the day when I get to cuddle a grandchild and read them the same books I read their parents.
As the years go by, my children tend to pick one or two of the books as their favorites. Then as one of their gifts, I purchase that book to put in their keepsake/future box, so that they have a small collection for when they have children!
This idea was inspired by my parents and grandparents. As a little girl, every Christmas I received a special ornament with a gift to put in my ornaments box, so that when I got married I had a box of special ornaments with a story behind them. We are also continuing this idea of special ornaments for our children, but this way it is the gift that keeps giving through the generations…hopefully.
Here is a list of our family’s favorite Christmas books:
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Pat Matuszak & Rick Osborne
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
The Visit of the Wise Men by Martha Jander
The Beggar’s Blessing by Mark Hamby
Josie’s Gift by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Away in the Manager by Thomas Kinkade – teaches the song to illustration
The Story of St. Nicholas by Cheryl Odden– Voice of the Martyrs
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegmeyer
You may be confused right now as you look down the line of children’s books our family has invested and wonder why I would have and be recommending books about Saint Nicholas?
Isaac and I have always tried to engage teaching our children about what the culture celebrates and why, but to do so through a Christian world view. Part of that means, that instead ignoring “santa,” we teach our children who he really was. That he was a man who loved God, and gave generously, but that many of the tales about him are exaggerated for fun.
Then we teach them WHY we don’t celebrate Santa but find other ways to have extra celebratory traditions that focus on Christ instead, such as making Jesus a birthday cake every year. The books above are great resources to help you teach about who the man St. Nick was and educate your children without it consuming your Christmas.
Advent Studies We Like:
In addition to the advent devotionals/books below I would recommend selecting a cute journal to jot down or scribe your family discussions when doing the activities and answering the questions in the advent studies. It’s fun to look back. This is a tradition we started for our family, now that the kids are really engaging more with answers.
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
God With Us: A Family Advent Celebration
Then Came Jesus by Lara Williams
God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Giving Manger by Allison Hottinger
The Giving Manger is an incredible idea. It comes with a cute book that explains the idea of serving others and having a heart of gratitude, 55 cards that each have an idea of how your kids can serve someone, and a beautiful, high quality ceramic baby Jesus, that will be sure to be your child’s favorite, to lay in a sweet manger with rafia straw.
This time of year can be a challenge for the Christian parent who wants to truly make the focus of the holiday season centered on Jesus Christ. We have to purpose to say no to things in order to say yes to having the quality time to sit down and read with our children and teach them how to be still, and know God.
What are your favorite family traditions and books to read during the holidays?
In this episode, Isaac and I share about the struggle we had with deciding how to celebrate Christmas, our history, and share some tips on navigating the Santa vs. Grinch controversy surrounding this topic. Click the link to view my blog post on it.