Well, this is the year. The year my almost three-year-old has finally gotten wise to the fact that Christmas = presents. For the first time, he’s started actually asking for things. This conversation happened the other day:
B: Mommy, what do you want for Christmas?
Me: Aww, well, I’d like a–
B: I think you want Legos.
At Target he wants to walk up and down the Lego aisle so he can gaze longingly at his heart’s desires. He’ll pull things off shelves and ask, “Can you buy this for me?”
No, you little materialist. When are you getting a job, by the way?
Before you consider me a Scrooge, know that I tend to act like a small child myself around Christmas. I love giving gifts and surprising people and decorating and eating lots of food I have no business eating all in the name of Christmas spirit. I enjoy seeing my son get excited about Legos and Christmas cookies because he’s just so stinkin’ cute when he gets all hyped up.
But I’d also prefer that my little narcissist not buy into the whole idea of Christmas being all about him, because…shocker…it’s not.
So if you’re looking for a way to keep your children (and yourself!) focused on what really matters, check out these ideas we’ve used for our service calendar. It’s basically the same as a typical advent calendar, only instead of treats/presents, each day has ideas for serving and praying for others.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Meeeeh, that sounds like a lot of work, and I already have about 3,857 other things to do,” then don’t worry! This doesn’t have to be a lot of extra work. Check out the ideas below–very few of them require buying/preparing lots of supplies. And more than once last year I would modify the day’s activity to adjust to the unexpectedness of life.
You can also tie in service/prayer to things you’re already going to do. For example, going to a family Christmas party? Signed up to take a dessert? Service idea: enlist your kids to help make said dessert, and then pray together for the family members who will be eating them. Boom.
Every day is an opportunity to point your family to the real purpose of Christmas: Jesus Christ coming to earth to save the world from sin. Tell your children that because Christ came to serve us, you as a family are going to focus on serving others and look for ways to point others to Jesus. Because that’s what it’s really about.
Feel free to use the ideas below! And I’m always looking to add new ideas, so please share your own!