How to find your family’s Christmas traditions

Modesty Brantley

By the time Christmas arrives each year, I've already been counting down for weeks. The lights, the sounds, the songs, the hustle and bustle, the beautiful packages, the fresh baked cookies — I love it all!

As the pace around us quickens, we can almost feel the anticipation in the crisp cold air. The culmination of all our merrymaking is coming with the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  

If you’re like me, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of the season. But as a parent, I have to grab hold of every opportunity to share why we celebrate Christmas. In parenting, traditions help us teach our children who they are as part of our family as well as who they are in God’s family.

Traditions reinforce our most fundamental values. That's why traditions are important any time of year, but especially around Christmas. Children gain a sense of security and belonging as they experience traditions. And it’s through traditions that our faith has been shared from generation to generation. Psalm 145:4 reminds us that God is worthy of praise every day, and it’s our role as adults to share God’s great works from one generation to the next.

Traditions don’t have to be grand. It’s the meaning behind them and the togetherness that makes them special.

Traditions don’t have to be grand. It’s the meaning behind them and the togetherness that makes them special. If you’d like to start family traditions or add new ones, here are some ideas to get you started.

Four Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

1. Read the story of Jesus’ birth together as a family.

The story of Jesus’ birth is found in Luke 2:1-20. Whether you choose to snuggle up by a cozy fire, read a different part at bedtime each evening, or take turns reading over breakfast, reading the Christmas story draws us closer to Jesus by reminding us that He came to us.

2. Give a deeper meaning to gift giving.

If gift giving is already a part of your family traditions, consider adding more intentionality behind how you give.

When our oldest was born, we started the tradition of giving only three gifts for Christmas. Our intention behind this tradition has many layers, but they all point back to Jesus. First, we don't want the potential extravagance and expectation of presents to overshadow the true purpose of Christmas. Second, we use gift giving as a reminder that Jesus is our greatest gift and we emphasize that with our two little ones. And last, we give three gifts because that’s how many gifts the wise men gave Jesus after His birth.

Our children are 8 and 4, and they love that they get the same number of gifts that Jesus received. This may not be a good fit for your family, and that’s OK. The idea is simply to be creative with your gift giving traditions and look for ways to ensure Jesus is at the center.

3. Do something unique and fun.

Some of our favorite family traditions are the simple ones. It doesn’t matter that they’re simple. They’re ours and that makes them special.

Whether it’s baking Jesus a birthday cake, caroling in the neighborhood, drinking hot chocolate, or taking a late night drive to see Christmas lights, simple things build the foundation of a healthy well-rounded childhood. Include your children in the planning of some simple and fun new traditions this year, and watch their faces shine!

4. Attend a Christmas service together as a family.

Attending church together is a tradition that goes far beyond the holiday season, but there’s something extra special about Christmas services. This gives everyone in our family time to pause and reflect on the goodness of God. God gave us His one and only son, Jesus, to be our Savior.

There’s no better time to start attending church as a family than this Christmas. Christmas services at NewSpring are always special and something you’ll be talking about for years to come!

Check out for Christmas service times and locations.

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