Sunday, November 4, 2007

Christmas traditions

As a new wife, I often think about the traditions we are forming in these early stages of our marriage. Are they traditions that will reflect Christ to any children God blesses us with? Or are they meaningless or harmful?

As Christmas nears, I've particularly been thinking about Christmas traditions and what they convey about the meaning of the day. Many children associate Christmas only with presents. How can this be avoided?

My birthday was last month, and Mum gave me some money to spend on whatever I liked. A few weeks after my bithday, I finally had a chance to go shopping! After exploring the city, I finally came back to this Advent calendar . . . something I really loved that I definitely didn't need!

Each little drawer holds a magnetic figure, which you stick to the stable scene. I think this would be real help to children in learning to focus upon the meaning of Christmas day. It is also lots of fun for adults :). I sure had fun arranging the pieces! With children, the Bible story that goes with the particular piece could be read out on the day that it is pulled out.

You may like to read more about traditions in Stacy's post on the topic. Here is some of what she wrote.

We may have family traditions that seem meaningless to others, but to our own children they communicate Christ. Because we live in Christ, the simple traditions we create in our own families are powerful. They don’t have to end in the word Christian or Jesus to reflect Christ.

Our primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. By glorifying God in our daily living, we can pass on that purpose and joy to our children. As we tell the story of Christ’s birth to our children—maybe over a cup of hot spiced cider or warm pumpkin bread—we are creating a memory. And if we do it every year, we’re creating a tradition.

The success of our family traditions isn’t based on how creative we are or how much money we spend on a certain yearly or monthly event, but on how well they reflect Christ and how real they are to our children.
I recommend that you read the whole post!


  1. Traditions are wonderful for children. Actually they are wonderful even if one does not have children. One of our favorite traditions at Christmas is making a Happy Birthday cake for Jesus. We have been doing this since my oldest was 1 year old. They take turns blowing the candles out (this year it is the 14 yr old's turn). and then any leftovers we share with our neighbors next door to us. Although I don't bake cake any othe time of the year (the girls really don't like it and always choose ice cream for their birthdays!) they still INSIST on the Birthday cake for Jesus every xmas afternoon (we bake it together on xmas eve morning). This was such a nice post I think I will copy your idea and post something about traditions come early dec....come by and visit if you have time!
    God bless you!
    ps love the advent house....we also do an advent calendar

  2. One tradition I'm hoping to start: instead of the whole presents thing at Christmas, I'd like to have a family dinner where each member of the family makes a contribution. When children are little this could just be 'helping' with something. When kids are older or teenagers if they aren't interested in cooking they could buy something nice to share. I like the idea because it means the focus isn't on individuals, it's on the family. Individual presents are better at birthdays anyway because then it really is a celebration of that person's life.

  3. Hello Faith and Bron,

    Thanks to you both for your suggestions! It is great that you are both aiming to prioritise Christ at Christmas time.

    Faith, I would love to hear more about your traditions. I'll try and remember to drop by!

  4. Hi Sherrin: my plan is to post some of our family traditions in the next week or so. I am shooting for next tuesday afternoon as that is a free afternoon for come by, would love to have you "visit" it is almost 6 pm here and my dinner is almost done, hubby due to walk in door any minute and girls are up stairs finishing chores so....will read your latest posts sometime this weekend....have a good are probably in the a.m. hours right now....i get confused about how far ahead of us you are to us here in the states!

  5. Hi Sherrin! Wow, I am reading your blog for the first time... amazing.
    With regard to giving gifts at Christmas. My husband and I have decided not to buy our children gifts at christmas. For those who may think this harsh-we prefer to give a gift on their birthday. There are still gifts received from grandparents and other relations at Christmas. It is also very overwhelming for little children to open more than 2 things in one morning! One toy or book usually gets full attention while the others are put aside.
    On the topic of Christmas traditions I have written out the Christmas Story on little tags (about 1-3 verses per tag) and each person at our family gathering on Christmas day reads there tag aloud. The tags are numbered in order and include verses from Matthew and Luke about the promised Messiah, his conception, birth etc. I was thinking that this year I might put ribbon on them and hang them on the Christmas tree so they are also a decoration!

    We also have a family grace that we sing at Christmas. I recently read (and I think this a particulary good idea for young children and would go well with Faith's idea of baking a Happy birthday Jesus cake) that you could set a place for Jesus at the dining room table.