When Less is More at Christmastime

A simple, unhurried, fun, and worshipful Christmas is what I want this year. Our TtT team has been encouraging each other to think about what details are necessary or helpful for our family this season – and which are actually adding unnecessary stress or distracting from the meaning of Christ’s birth.

The holiday season can be filled with constant activity. Places to visit. Parties to attend. Events to experience. Crafts and baking to be done at home. The list can go on and on. But will all of these activities actually help me and my family celebrate the birth of Jesus?

This year I have made a mental list of my favorite Christmas activities and traditions. The ones that are most important and meaningful to me. Here are my top three activities:

1. Decorating the Christmas tree, complete with its old mismatched ornaments and the Fisher Price nativity that the kids play with underneath.

2. Doing something to intentionally present the Bible story of Jesus’ birth. The past couple years, our family used the Jesse tree reading plan to tell the story of creation through Jesus’ birth. Here is a free printable version similar to what we have done. This year, our family is changing it up a little and using Names of Jesus Advent Cards. Every day, we read a card that has a verse to describe one of the names of Jesus. Then we hang that card up on our wall (all together the cards will form the shape of a Christmas tree when we are done). The picture above is my youngest son hanging up last night’s card.

3. Baking Holiday Waffle Cookies. This is something I have done the past few years. It’s an easy and quick recipe, but the cookies look fun and special – a simple way to make a celebration for Jesus’ birthday!

My oldest kids are now getting to the age that they are asking to do certain holiday activities. It’s becoming an interesting window into what traditions are meaningful and fun to them, since their requests are not always what I’d expect. So, I have added two of their requests to round out our family’s list of Top 5 Christmas Activities this year:

4. Advent calendars. No surprise here! Opening a tiny window every day to pull out a small Playmobil figure or few Legos makes for a very exciting month for my kids, counting down the days until Jesus’ birthday. (Life hack: my husband always buys Advent calendars when they are on clearance after Christmas and we save them to use the following year!?)

5. Making Gingerbread Houses. This would not have made my list of top Christmas activities, but it is apparently meaningful to my kids!

There are plenty of other holiday activities out there. What didn’t make our list this year was visiting the zoo to see the lights. Or our town’s community tree lighting. Or creating hand-made ornaments. Or a million other activities that are wonderful and fun, but may or may not happen for our family this year. I’m alright with that because enjoying the season in an unhurried, thoughtful way requires our family to set some priorities and even say no to some great activities in order to make time for rest and simplicity.

So, how about you? What activities make your family’s top 5 Christmas Activities List? What are you doing to be intentional about a #simpleChristmas this year?

?Written by Katie Duh