1. Relive special moments. Buy yourself a beautiful journal and set it by your bedside. Each night, before going to bed, write two sentences about something special that happened that day. Maybe even share the moment out loud with your spouse or a friend.
2. Look for God in your traditions. Print off the words to your favorite Christmas carol. Find a comfy place to sit (like in front of a fireplace) and just read the words. You may discover some richness there you haven’t noticed before.
3. Your words are one of the most meaningful gifts you can give. When friends and family ask you what you want for Christmas, ask for a meaningful handwritten note. This will be a gift that will keep on giving all year long.
4. Peace begins with thankfulness. Don’t just bake Christmas cookies, share memories while you do it. Turn on Christmas music in the background while baking Christmas cookies, and have everyone share their favorite Christmas memory or what they are thankful for.
5. Reflect on Jesus together this Christmas. Set the nativity on the center of the kitchen table and act out the Christmas story as best you know how. Let each family member be responsible for one or two roles and resist the urge to make corrections.
6. Friends need your prayers more than a fancy gift. Christmas cards remind us of loved ones we don’t see very often. Collect Christmas cards in a basket and at meal time, set it in the center of the dinner table. At each meal, let the kids pick one of the cards out for the family to pray for.
7. It’s okay to slow down and take care of yourself. Take three deep breaths, in and out, each day leading up to Christmas. This will help you slow down.
8. There is a lot to be learned from everyone. Ask the grandparents to share stories of how they celebrated Christmas growing up. What were the meaningful things they did that still create warm memories?
9. It’s better to give than to receive. Go to Compassion International’s website and buy a life-giving gift for a family in poverty. If you have kids, explain what each of those gifts might mean to a poor family and let them choose.
10. Christmas is not found in presents, but in His presence. Write out the Christmas story on a piece of paper. Then put it under the tree as a sweet reminder of the real meaning of Christmas.
11. Wish Jesus a happy birthday on Christmas. Hang up a Christmas stocking for Jesus. Leading up to Christmas, encourage your family to do small acts of kindness or to write little notes of thanksgiving to God. On Christmas day, each family member can take turns reading the acts of kindness, and finish by wishing Jesus a happy birthday.
12. Just say no. And say yes to things that bring you joy.