Couponing for the Rest of Us

Making Christmas about Christ – How do you do it?


Each Christmas, we strive to focus on the birth of Jesus, and all that entails.  Peace, Joy, gratitude for our Salvation, remembering the poor and needy that Jesus also came to save.  At the same time, we all want to get swept away a little in the fun of gift-giving, baking yummy holiday treats and making our homes over into a winter wonderland.

Sometimes it’s hard to strike a balance – to remind ourselves (and our kids) that the season of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the joy of Jesus birth.  I thought I’d share with you how my family did (and does) celebrate this season – I hope that you’ll leave comments about how your family keeps “Christ” in Christmas!

  • Growing up, my family opened the little doors of our Advent Calendars each day leading up to Christmas.  And in case you’re wondering, Advent simply means: The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. Who’s more notable than Jesus?!

  • We brought out the manger scene and put it up without the baby Jesus, so that we would remember that we awaited His coming.  (We added Him to the scene on Christmas Morning!)  We’d also keep it up through Epiphany (January 6), when we’d add the Wise Men to the set.
  • We went through our toy boxes and pulled out rarely played-with toys to give to charity, remembering that it wasn’t just about me-me-me.  Now that I have children, we do this every year too – talking while we work about how much a little boy will love this truck or that Transformer.  Shopping for Angel Trees or filling boxes for Operation Christmas Child is another great way to instill generosity in your children and yourself.

  • We also kept a small Advent Wreath on our kitchen table, and each night at supper, we lit one or more candles (depending on how near Christmas we were).  The ever-increasing brightness symbolizes the approaching nearness of Jesus.
  • Our youth group and girl scout troop spent time Christmas Caroling from door to door  – and in nursing homes or hospitals – to bring the Joy of Christ’s birth to the homebound, sick, or elderly.
  • We set aside a special time to read the Christmas Story – a bit of it each night in the few days leading up to Christmas.

  • We went to church on Christmas Eve – which was always so beautiful!  O Come O Come Emmanuel remains my favorite “Christmas” song to this day, it always gives me goosebumps as I remember the thrilling anticipation of Christmas Day, while I stood next to my parents amidst a candlelit service.
  • On Christmas morning, as my brother and I nearly danced out of our skin waiting to see what was under the tree, mom always insisted that we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we moved from the hallway!  As a teenager, I’ll admit I thought it was silly – but it certainly did force me to stop and remember exactly WHO this day was for  :)

All families celebrate differently and have different special traditions – I would LOVE to hear the traditions you share with your family!


  1. Thank you all SO MUCH for sharing some of your traditions! I love the barn one especially – I wish we had a barn, that sounds so neat!

  2. My children take turns picking out what we use for the birthday cake. One year my daughter picks the cake, if it’s chocolate or vanilla, etc. And my son picks the icing, then they switch the next year. We bake the cake and decorate, write “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS” on it and then we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. My son gets a piece of cake for Santa instead of the traditional cookies. Sometimes, especially when they were younger, the cake would look so SAD with the horrible writing and erratic decorations – but my kids did it so it was still PERFECT! It’s a tradition we just started one year and look forward to every year! While we bake, we discuss the first Christmas and why it matters so much! We talk about what Jesus did for us, what God does for us and what we did for Him, we host pet food drives and human blood drives in our community every year now as presents to Him! I’m super proud of my kids!

  3. I’m trying to teach my almost 3 yr old son about why we celebrate Christmas and my idea was to have Jesus a birthday party on Christmas morning! His birthday is the 29th of Dec. and he is super excited about his party so I thought having Jesus a birthday party would be a good way to teach him about Christmas! We tried giving some toys away but he didn’t really understand so I had to sneak those out!

  4. Our whole family walks to the barn on Christmas Eve night in the freezing cold and reads the Christmas story, thinking about what it must have been like the night Jesus was born.

  5. I had an Advent calendar as a child & loved opening a new window every day. At nap time I’d sneak & read ahead. We read the Nativity story from the Bible on Christmas Eve & had a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake. I now do all of this with our three year old son.

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