Christmas music is playing in the stores, weekend traffic around the malls is heavy, and over on the Hallmark Channels the Christmas movies abound.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.Christmas traditions are a powerful vehicle for passing the faith. @HaddixDeborah Click To Tweet
Think for a moment. What are some of the things you remember most clearly from the Christmases of your childhood?
As you stop to reflect, I suspect you will find that most of your memories stem from words or events that were repeated frequently and regularly over the course of many celebrated Christmases.
Now, which do you think will be your grandchild’s strongest, lasting Christmas memories?
Of course, while it’s nearly impossible to say for sure, I think it’s safe to say that they will emanate from words or events that are repeated frequently and regularly during your current celebrated family Christmases.
TRADITION: A planned habit with significance. Handed down from one generation to another by word of mouth and by regular repetition of example, ceremony, or celebration.
The Importance of Traditions
God treasures traditions. The Author, Creator, and Giver of every good gift (James 1:17), traditions were His idea. He provided for each ceremony and celebration instituted in the Old Testament, and He continues to invite us to His table for the sacred tradition of communion. Certainly, He treasures the traditions of our family.
Why are they so important? Because traditions are tantamount to super-glue for the family.
Traditions help us look backward to be reminded of God’s work in our family. At the same time, they help us look forward with anticipation. They keep us together and identify us as belonging.
An Inventory of Christmas Traditions
As Christmas approaches, it is a wonderful time to ask ourselves what traditions we are leaving our children and grandchildren.
- Does our family have established Christmas traditions?
- Do the traditions we celebrate have significance?
- Which of our traditions are we not able to imagine life without?
- Would our family benefit by eliminating some of its less meaningful traditions?
The thought and preparation we give to Christmas and the traditions surrounding it keep it from passing just like any other day. Special times like Christmas anchor us and our grandchildren in the harbor of our family, reflecting our true refuge – God. The way we observe these special days has great potential to show our grandchildren what we think is most important and to help them value what we hold most dear.
Christmas is a time to look back on Jesus’ birth. At the same time, we look forward as we prepare and anticipate the celebration. During the Christmas season our memory and anticipation weave. We know what to expect because of our memories. Our memories increase our anticipation.
As you think on which Christmas traditions are precious heirlooms and which need to be stored away in the attic, here are a few fun Christmas traditions to consider if you find that you need to institute a new one or two.
Fun, Fabulous Christmas Traditions
- Work together to present a gift to Jesus. Prior to the start of Advent, talk to your grandchild and together choose a favorite charity. During the weeks of Advent save money toward your gift. Present your gift to the chosen recipient at Christmas. Another option is to allow your grandchild to choose a gift from a charity’s online catalog.
- Choose a day and time (with the help of mom) and call your grandchild once each of the four weeks of Advent. Together talk about the names of Jesus.
- Create your own Grandparent/Grandchild version of Advent Random Acts of Kindness. Carry out your acts of kindness throughout the season. If you don’t live in the same town, talk regularly by phone, email, or video chat to share your experiences. (If you need ideas for your Advent Random Acts of Kindness list, some ideas can be found in this booklet.)
- Make an Advent chain or calendar and mail it to your grandchild.
- Make Christmas decorations and send them to your grandchild. If your grandchild is older, mail him the materials to make his own.
- Hang stockings in your own home for each-and-every one of your grandchildren.
- Mail red and green construction paper to your grandchildren. Have them trace their handprint on one sheet and cut it out. For young grandchildren, ask for a parent’s help in tracing and cutting. Ask them to send the handprints back to you. When all have arrived, make a handprint Christmas wreath decoration for your home.
- Send Christmas cookies baked by Grandma.
- Mail a box of cookie baking ingredients to your grandchild.
- Buy a gingerbread house kit and mail it to your grandchild.
- Gather the supplies for making a construction paper snowman: three white circles of various size, eyes, nose, mouth, buttons, scarf, and hat. Put the supplies in a zip lock bag and mail them to your grandchild. He can then build his own snowman. Have someone take pictures of the “constructed” snowman and send them back to you.
- Create a Christmas music video.
- Make up new words to old Christmas songs.
- Share in your grandchild’s Christmas morning joy via video chat.
- Purchase six pairs of fun socks. Fill each sock with small gifts. Send the treat-filled socks to your grandchild’s parents prior to Christmas Day. Ask them to give your grandchild one sock per day beginning on Christmas Day. A fun way to connect with your grandchild and observe the Twelve Days of Christmas while blessing him with some unexpected treats and new socks.