Butterfly Impressions

10 Family Christmas Traditions

on December 24, 2014

I love Christmas!  One of the things I love most about Christmas is how Christmas Traditions can help us to turn our minds and hearts toward the First Gift of Christmas – our Savior, Jesus Christ!

This Christmas, I want to share some of my family’s Christmas Traditions with you!  May they help you to feel the Spirit of Christmas, and maybe strengthen your own Christmas Traditions as well. 🙂

1) “I Am the Light of the World” Advent Calendar

We use this Advent Calendar each year as a family.  Our young children really enjoy listening for the name or title of Jesus as my husband reads the scripture for each day.  Then, they take turns sticking the appropriate name on that day.
We printed it out from this webpage onto white card-stock.  Then, we cut out the pieces and laminated them.  We’ve been able to reuse this Advent Calendar each year, and it has become a wonderful Christmas Tradition that helps us all to remember Christ!
2) The Giving Tree
At Christmas, to help our children focus on giving rather than getting, we put up a Giving Tree.  Beginning on December 1st, at the end of each day, family members can share acts of kindness that other family members did for them.  Each “nominee” then gets to put an ornament on the Giving Tree.
You can do this Christmas Tradition with your family’s main Christmas tree, a smaller Giving Tree, or make a Giving Tree from card-stock and laminate it to put up on the wall.  Then, you can either buy some special Giving Tree ornaments or make them yourself!

This is our first year to use this particular Advent Calendar, but it has been a great supplement to our homeschool!  Each day we read about the country and watch a short video (from YouTube) about Christmas in that particular country!  I wanted to do a Christmas Around the World study for our homeschool, and this one is simple, as well as interesting!

You can find the files to print on this webpage.
4) Opening Presents on Christmas Eve
In our family, we open our presents on Christmas Eve to share the Spirit of Giving.  Then, on Christmas, we focus on celebrating the Spirit of Christmas!  By opening presents in the evening before going to bed, we’ve found that, although our children may get to bed a bit later, they sleep much better during the night of Christmas Eve!
5) Notes in the Tree

This year, our family has begun a new Christmas tradition!  In addition to the presents under the tree, we write special Christmas notes to each other, and tuck them between the branches of the Christmas Tree.  We’ll open these notes and read them together before opening our presents on Christmas Eve.

6) The Symbols of Christmas

Also, before opening our presents, my husband and I like to remind our children about the symbols of Christmas.  We have ornaments to represent each one, which we let the children take turns putting on the tree.  As the ornaments are hung on the tree, we read about each of the symbols:

Red The first color of Christmas— it symbolizes the
Savior’s atoning sacrifice for all.  
(Doctrine and Covenants 138:2-4)

Evergreen (Green) The second
color of Christmas—it symbolizes everlasting life through our Savior.  (
John 3:16)

 The Fir Tree Its evergreen needles
point heavenward—reminding us to maintain a constant focus on eternal, heavenly
things.  (
2 Nephi 31:20)

The Star The heavenly sign of Christ’s birth—the shining
hope of mankind.  (
Helaman 14:3-8)

The Candle A mirror of starlight—it symbolizes the Light of
Christ, and reminds us to share our Light with others.  (
Matthew 5:14-16)

The Bell It rings out to guide lost sheep back to the
fold—signifying that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord.  (
John 10:14-16)

The Candy Cane The shepherd’s crook
used to bring lambs back into the fold—a reminder that we are all our brother’s
keeper.  (
Luke 15:4-6)

The Gift A representation of the three gifts given by the Wise
Men to their Savior, and a reminder of the eternal gifts that Christ has offered
each of us.  (
Doctrine and Covenants 6:13)

The Gift Bow Tied as we should all be
tied together—in bonds of goodwill and love forever.  (
John 15:12-13)

The Wreath A symbol of the eternal nature of love—having no
beginning and no end.  (
Moroni 7:46-48)

7) The Christmas Story (from the Bible)

We begin Christmas morning by reading the Christmas Story from the Bible.  This year, we’ll be using the version found on this webpage.  It’s new this year, and provides more background information and things to think about.  There are so many ways to present the Christmas Story, and I’m hoping that this one will help our family feel the Spirit of Christmas!

8) Christmas in America (from the Book of Mormon)

After reading the Christmas Story from the Bible, our family will read about Christmas in America.  It’s an amazing, inspiring story that greatly enhances the story of Christ’s birth.  The resource we use is a compilation of several scriptural passages in the Book of Mormon recorded by the people who lived in America at the time.  You can access the link here.

9) Opening Stockings on Christmas

After opening all of our presents on Christmas Eve, it’s nice to have a little something to enjoy opening on Christmas morning.  So, after reading the Christmas stories, and opening Christ’s Stocking, we open our own stockings.  We may not have much candy in our stockings, but we always have toothbrushes to use for the next year!

10) Christ’s Stocking

Before opening our own stockings on Christmas, we always open Christ’s Stocking first.  It is a special, small white stocking that hangs, as an ornament, at the top of our tree – right under the star.  Inside is a small piece of paper with a poem that reads:

It wasn’t that anyone had really been forgotten-
No children had been slighted or made unhappy,
And no adult had been left unremembered.
The presents had all been distributed,
And all the stockings were beautifully filled-
All that is, except one:
It was the stocking intended for the child of Bethlehem.

Of all the people belonging at that Christmas gathering,
Only He had been forgotten-
Only He had been left out of the festivities.
This didn’t seem quite right,
Inasmuch as it was His birthday that was being celebrated.

This year, fill the little white stocking
With something that you will give
To the Christ child who gave up His life for you.

After reading the poem, we take out another piece of paper from inside that lists the things we chose to give Christ during the previous year.  We read the list and ponder on and/or discuss how well we think we did with improving.  Then, we get a new sheet of paper for the next year’s list.

On the new sheet, we each write some way that we would like to personally improve in the coming year.  Because the gift is for Christ, it is always something we can improve within us – like something about our character or some way we would like to spiritually develop.  When everyone who is old enough has contributed to the new list, we place it inside Christ’s White Stocking along with the poem – ready to be reviewed next Christmas!  This has been an inspiring tradition for us the past few years, and it really helps us to focus on the First Gift of Christmas – Christ!

I hope you enjoyed reading about all of my family’s Christmas traditions!  We keep adding to them each year, and they keep enhancing the Spirit of Christmas in our home.  If you have any special Christmas Traditions you would like to share, please comment below.  I would love to get even more great ideas!

*The Symbols of Christmas clip art from: themormonhome.com

*White Stocking photo from: cookingwithalison.com


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