I’m going to take a guess that you’re tired. I don’t have any fancy-schmancy analytics telling me how many of the people who read this blogs are parents but I’m guessing you mostly are and I know this time of year. It’s exhausting!
I’m also guessing you’d love to keep your children’s focus on the Stable rather than the stores (oh so hard!) so how about some lovely, easy Christmas traditions, activities and ideas to try that will just take some pressure off? They’re all either free or really cheap. Bonus!
Here we go!
I’ve mentioned this before in my Advent posts but candles are both very soothing and give a sense of
occasion. Jesus is, after all, the light in our darkness. If you get to read a little together, it’s even more special. I have a really easy Advent bible reading guide in this post and yes, you can start halfway though Advent.
You could even take a plain candle and use a permanent marker to draw on the numbers 1-24 to create an Advent candle. You may not even have to leave the house to make this happen.
You probably read with your little one anyway. Why not take a few Christmassy books out of the library or start to collect a couple year by year and make story time special? You can make the library visit even less stressful by pre-ordering the books on-line and just picking them up at the desk as you go.
Play with a nativity set
You may like to keep a nativity set for just looking at but it’s great to have one the children can play with to
explore the story in their own way. The Playmobil one is a classic but there are loads of others available, some are Fair Trade like ALL OF THESE options from Trade Craft or, for a few pennies, you can print out this one and put it together in a few minutes. The kids can colour it as an activity or, I hear, adult colouring books are all the rage so why not colour this in in front of the TV one night and surprise the nippers in the morning? Surprisingly relaxing. I made the Easter version last year from the same site. My two loved it.
This blogger looked at how Santa and Jesus have many things in common. It sounds odd but is weirdly a very simple to do and meaningful activity. One colour printed page is all you need. I don’t agree with her Mormon theology but this activity is genuinely meaningful.
I’d always wanted a traditional Christmas Eve meal for our family but struggled to find one. Ham isn’t part of my own family’s Christmas tradition and there is so much cooking going on anyway and so much meat and rich food. I wanted less stress and minimal washing up!
Last year I started something very, very easy and simple which was well received by the whole family. We put a picnic rug under the Christmas tree and had a ‘Shepherds’ Picnic’. We pretended we were the shepherds waiting out on the Bethlehem hills and just ate, appropriately, pita bread, cheese, olives and fruit. I’m sure you can tell how it went down from the pics. (Tintin traditionally cracks his head open on something in the couple of days preceding Christmas, hence the plaster! I wonder what he’ll bang it on this year?)
Be a rebel. Choose not to do it all. Simplify everything you can to make having a peaceful parent an annual tradition they remember. Sure, it’s still going to be a pressured time of year but it may be appropriate to look at some ‘essentials’ of the Christmas season and just to say “Stuff it.” I wrote last year about how it freed me to realise that Jesus never told us to celebrate his birth, let alone eat Brussel Sprouts (proof that God loves us!) so just have a think before you commit to anything else.
I also have two Pinterest boards you may find helpful for more Christmas ideas BUT please don’t go there if you’re already stressed out. I’m not going to tell More ideas may be the last thing you need!
I do hope some of these ideas help you enjoy a meaningful Advent and Christmas season.