In keeping with the Drawing the Line series, this post is about adding more of Jesus into holiday festivities. Today specifically deals with ideas for kids. Ten ways to keep the focus clear.
1. Have a nativity out. One that the kids are encouraged to play with. I found this one online and it is even made in the US! (No slave labor!)
2. Take your kids to an "Angel Tree." Around here, Walgreens has a tree with names of senior citizens on it. You can take a name and buy them a few gifts. Some of the people are homebound, some are in nursing homes. I took my oldest this year, it is our new Mom and Me tradition. We chose a name and I had him help pick the calendar and socks and candy that we bought.
3. Pack a shoebox.
Operation Christmas Child is such a neat charity, operating under Samaritan's Purse, OCC collects shoeboxes full of items for children and distributes them. Many children have never even receievd a gift before. You can include toothbrushes, toothpastes, small toys, books, school supplies, and so forth. Buy a plastic box ($1 at dollar stores) and add to it throughout the year. Before you know it, that box will be full! Details on how to pack a box are available on the OCC website.
4. Make a birthday cake for Jesus as part of your meal/dessert on Christmas.
5. Attend a Christmas Eve service at church or seek out a live nativity and go visit.
8. Dramatic play, Nativity theme. If your kids are the kind that like to dress up and play pretend, get some old fashioned looking clothes (robes, towels will work too) and a baby doll swaddled in a blanket, something to serve as the manger. Even some straw if you are brave! Let the kids act out the story.
6. Read the story of Jesus' birth from a children's book. If your children are old enough to read, they can pass the book around and take turns each reading a page or two of the book. This is the book we read from when I was a kid, it is available on amazon for a penny!
7. Gingerbread Nativity. How cute is this set up that I found on pinterest?
Image by Katherine Marie Photography. (credit)
9. Share the story with your children about the angel arriving to tell Mary that she was going to have a baby. Follow up with making angel cookies or angel food cake.
10. Footprint Craft. Another pinterest find! This is an adorable way to turn your kid's footprint into a manger scene. The picture shows it on a decorative plate but you could also just do it on paper and frame it, or do it on a tile and display on a tabletop easel. This would also be a great GIFT idea for aunts/uncles/grandparents.
What ideas do you have for kid-friendly activities that emphasize the heart of the holiday? I would love to hear them!