Welcome to our series “C” is for Christmas: Keeping Christ at the Center! All week long, 5 bloggers will give you a peek into some of their family’s favorite activities for focusing on the heart of Christmas–our Savior. Be sure to check the previous posts in our series and join our Christmas-themed link-up here on Friday!
We want the Christ to be the heart of Christmas at our house, so we offer up several ways for our kids to be tangibly involved in the nativity each year.
Nativities for Little Hands
I love Little People and other small toys that encourage creative play. We especially love the Little People nativity set because our kids can act out the Christmas story over and over again. We talk about the gifts the wise men bring, how many wise men there were (not necessarily three!), and all of the other important elements in the story. I encourage the kids to use the toys to act out the Christmas songs they sing at church, so they take the little gray donkey and “clip clop” all the way to Bethlehem, just as their little song says. Over and over again, the toys reinforce the concepts we are teaching them.
Act Out the Nativity
Last year, I created a basket of makeshift costumes for the kids to act out the Christmas story. By cutting a hole in a piece of fabric, I made a quick tunic that can be tied with cord or thick yarn. My kids have fun dressing up as Mary and Joseph, even if the donkey they ride around the house is actually Bullseye, the horse from Toy Story. Again, this creative play provides a way to reinforce the story that I’m teaching our children all Christmas long.
Where is Baby Jesus in the Nativity?
One of my favorite Christmas traditions was started by my mother. It is nothing short of brilliant. We spend several days at her house at Christmas, and one of the first things that my children notice when we arrive is that Baby Jesus is absent. Every where they look they see the nativity–in the front yard, on the sofa table, on the piano, on the built in cabinets. But Baby Jesus is not there. ”Nana, where’s Jesus?” they ask repeatedly. She tells them that He will arrive on His birthday, just as He should.
This brings Christmas morning to the great crescendo that it should be. As soon as my children wake up, I remind them that it’s Christmas morning (they’re young and they forget!) and we go running out of our house in our pajamas to see Baby Jesus in the nativity in her front yard. The kids run inside to announce that Jesus is here, it’s Jesus’ birthday!! And our Christmas morning is off to the best start possible. All of us are focused on Christ on Christmas day.
At some point that day, we will sing Happy Birthday to our Savior and remember that He is the reason we give gifts, just as the wise men brought gifts to Him, and just as He gives us the gift of salvation. Without the cross, Christmas is nothing. <–Tweet this!
How does your family focus on the Nativity at Christmas?