#1: God’s amazing gift to us is the forgiveness of our sins through his son, Jesus. We don’t deserve this gift nor did we do anything to earn this gift. It’s a gift. And God never takes back his gift to us. So be careful not to discipline a child by taking a gift away as a punishment. If you do, then you’ll teach them that they have to be good in order to deserve the gift and that they have to be good if they want the gift back. Gifts are neither deserved nor earnt. They are freely given and never taken back.
#2: Establish helpful family traditions that help your child to stop and be reminded both visually and verbally of the centrality of Jesus in the craziness of Christmas. Example: pray together after you’ve set up the Christmas tree, read a passage of scripture together before you open presents, retell the birth of Jesus using commercial or homemade figurines as a family...
#3: Use an Advent Calendar to kick start your family into daily Bible Reading. Each day of December, read the verse suggested in the booklet, pray and open up a window in the calendar.
#4: Foster a thankful heart in each of your children. Spend time with them making cards and writing letters thanking people who have been generous with their time and energy throughout the past year (e.g. Children’s Church Leaders, Playtime Co-ordinators, tutors, coaches...).
#5: Encourage your children to be servant hearted. Look for opportunities to serve, as a family, people who are in need in your local community.
#6: Teach your children to have a generous heart. As a family, reduce the amount of gifts bought for family members, and instead select a gift from the Compassion Catalogue. When family gifts are being opened ask a child to remind the family what gift was purchased and how it will help people who are in need. As a family pray about the people who will receive this gift.
#7: Seek to develop a sacrificial heart in each of your children. Encourage young children to think about what they can give away to children who don’t have much (give their best, not to just give what they don’t want anymore). Encourage older children to purchase gifts out of their own money and put a shoe box of gifts together for a child in need for the Samaritan Purse appeal called, Operation Christmas Child (done in October each year).
#8: Model a welcoming heart to your children by looking for opportunities to invite people who have no family into your home to share a meal at Christmas.
#9: Keep Santa Claus in the area of fantasy. If you treat Santa Claus as real, children may then question whether Jesus is real.
#10: Stop and consider what you model to your child about what’s important at Christmas. So, gather around God’s word, stop and pray together, meet with your church family, buy less and give more.
Ten Tips by Sandy Galea © 2012 Kidswise
Recommended Christmas Resources
Kidswise Mini Movies…
The Christmas Story
Do Not Be Afraid
God’s Promised King
The Light Has Come
Available in the Kidswise Shop
King Of Christmas CD or DVD, by Colin Buchanan
Advent Calendars produced by The Good Book Company
Beginning With God At Christmas, produced by The Good Book Company
My First Christmas Story, by Tim Dowley
Little One We Knew You'd Come, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The Christmas Promise, by Alison Mitchell