The Christmas season is upon us, and we are excitedly preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ. During this time, we are busy with the hustle and bustle of all things holiday. People are shopping, decorating, and amidst the whirlwind of our fun, we often forget to slow down and take time to enjoy the holiday traditions with our children. Cultivating new traditions and mixing in old traditions are an important part of a child’s life. Here are few tips and tricks to help involve your child in this fun Christmas season:
- Attend Advent and Sunday worship services. Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, so why not teach our children about his birth. If you need a church home, Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard, IL offers Wednesday evening Advent services at 7 p.m. and Sunday worship at 9 a.m. We would love for you to join us in the Christmas celebration.
- Begin an Advent wreath or calendar at home. This is a great way to stop and incorporate a simple tradition that your child will remember each year.
- Allow your child to help decorate the Christmas tree. There was a time when I thought my tree needed to look “just perfect.” During the past years, as my now 7 and 4 year old help decorate the tree, I find that the way they put each ornament in a special spot is just perfect for our family tree. Some might say the ornaments are too close together, or there aren’t enough near the top, but the memories I will cherish of watching my two, sweet boys find a spot for each ornament are priceless. We take the opportunity to talk about where some of the ornaments came from, some made by my great-grandma, some given to the boys for their first Christmas, ornaments we’ve purchased on vacations to remember places we’ve been. I love the time spent reminiscing and the excitement they have as we talk about how each ornament was received.
- Find a time to bake Christmas cookies or candies with your child. It doesn’t have to take long, maybe just a batch or two of something. My boys have come to love this tradition of picking which kinds of cookies and candies we’ll make together. The tasting, the laughter, and the mess that we make will hold precious memories in their hearts.
- Take a Christmas light drive together. Each year, we find one evening to put our boys in their jammies, load up in the car, and drive through the neighborhoods to just enjoy the lights others have put up on their houses. It costs nothing, yet brings so much joy and excitement at the anticipation of what we will see next.
- Find a time to visit Santa. While sometimes this can get pricey as malls have begun charging an arm and your first-born child for a photo, there are many places that offer a picture with Santa for free or a very minimal fee. Many libraries will host Santa for a day or some park districts also host Santa to allow children the opportunity to sit on his lap.
- If you don’t have time to visit Santa, help your child write a letter to Santa. I still remember writing my Christmas list each year and having my mom or dad help me address it to the North Pole. It’s not about the items on the list, but the time spent with your child, working together on something they will remember as they get older.
- Allow your child to make or shop for Christmas presents for the people in your family. This doesn’t have to be a big ticket item, or an item with a cost at all. For many grandparents, a homemade picture or ornament from a grandchild will be a favorite gift under the tree. Pinterest has millions of ideas for homemade gifts and your child will love being able to participate in the gift giving. Allow your children to help wrap the gifts they’ve made or purchased. They don’t need to look perfect, but they enjoy helping and knowing they’ve done something for someone else.
- Find a charity and allow your child to help participate. Many organizations are looking for donations of mittens, hats, gloves, etc. to help people who are less fortunate than ourselves. Allowing your child to go with you to help pick out some special items for another family in need shows your child that giving to others during this season is so important. Helping them to understand it’s not about getting gifts, but about giving is a valuable lesson for your child to learn even at a young age.
It’s so important to include our little ones in this holiday season. Instead of trying to “cram it all in” and “get it all done,” maybe just choose two or three things to do that you can take time and effort to enjoy together. If you’d like to add one more Christmas tradition to your list, consider including the Trinity Lutheran School Christmas Program into your schedule. Our students will perform on Thursday, December 20th at 7 p.m. We’d love for you to consider our church and school your home! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630.629.8765.