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‘Tis the Season to Celebrate with New Traditions
By Dian Moore

FaithWriters 500 member, Lisa Bumgarner, asked her fellow writers for new ways to celebrate Christmas. The answers she received were fresh, unusual and meaningful. Consider some of these ways to celebrate the Christmas Season.

A Family Christmas Celebration …

Before buying presents, have all agree that since Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth (His incarnation), then it is His birthday party! Money set aside for buying several large gifts for each child is redirected through the child, making him or her a representative of Christ. They purchase gifts for Jesus, which are then given to an organization like Samaritan's Purse, Angel Tree, children in shelters for abused wives and children, a children's home, and other needy places.

On Christmas Eve, have the senior Christian male read the portion of the Christmas Story from the Bible, ending with there being no room at the inn. Sing some Christmas Carols and serve hot apple cider, cookies and fruitcake.

Start Christmas Day with Brunch. All adult members bring a dish as a gift to the hosting house. Before everyone eats, congregate and read the rest of the Christmas Story. This highlights the meaning behind the exchange of gifts.

After Brunch, distribute the gifts. Each child should expect to receive only one big gift, and the rest would be lesser gifts.

During Christmas dinner, everyone, from youngest to oldest, share what it is that makes Christmas, or a certain Christmas, significant to him or her.

After relaxing, playing and cleaning up, have the family gather once again to hear the senior Christian female read selected passages from the Bible to bring Jesus out of the cradle and into our hearts as our Blessed Savior, Lord of Lords, King of Kings.

(Contributed by Roberta Kittrell.)

Pictures, Stories, Games and Surprises

Wrap the doorway going in to the room that has the Christmas tree. No peeking until permission is given to break through the wrapping. Have the tree in the kitchen and a surprise cook can keep everyone in anticipation while he or she makes breakfast. The smells and sounds of cooking will add to the air of excitement.

For grown and married children, select a childhood photo to enlarge and frame to give their spouse.

Family keepsakes can be made for everyone using pictures. Try this clever idea of grouping photos based on common themes, such as look-alikes, people wearing hats, an all sports page and so on.

Write a story about a special gift, or make a game of ‘guess who gave who this gift.’

(Contributed by Darlene Hight.)

Adopt a Family, Caroling, and Sacrifice

Consider contacting a local homeless shelter and "adopting" a family or a group of people who are friends. Make sure to find out clothing and shoe sizes, and celebrate the joy of giving your "adoptees" some needed, as well as fun, gifts. Make a food basket to go along with the gifts, like the fancy ones you see rich folks get, with fruits and little cakes and munchies and then have a group that represents your family take it to them. Make sure you include a Bible and age-appropriate Bible reading for any children in the basket.

Instead of having an abundance of gifts in your home, add up what everyone would have spent on the gifts, and donate/tithe 10 percent to missionaries in another country. Consider "adopting" the missionaries, too. Make the donation in your family's name, and send a letter with a Christmas card … it could really cheer up someone who is living without running water or indoor plumbing!

A few days before Christmas, gather extended family and go caroling. Send copies of the music beforehand so everyone can sing. After caroling in your neighborhood, a nursing home or a hospital (be creative) return home for hot chocolate and desserts, while the family Elder reads the Christmas story straight from the Word of God.

Encourage children to buy their very own heart's desire … a game, a toy, whatever. Have them wrap it up and give it away to the Salvation Army for their toy drive. It might be difficult the first few years for them to give away the one thing they wanted so badly, but eventually, the value of the sacrifice provides more satisfaction.

(Contributed by Marina Rojas.)

Have a Slumber Party

On Christmas Eve, gather as many family members as possible, young and old, for a big slumber party. Everyone gets a set of new pajamas that fits their personality, and they must open them and wear them on Christmas Eve.

A slumber party brings out the child in everyone. Tell Christmas stories, play games, and have a hard time going to sleep. Guaranteed giggle time as the family gathers in a joyous way to celebrate being together on Christ’s birthday. Dian Moore, experienced the joys of a Christmas Eve Slumber Party at the request of her mother, two years before her mother passed away.

Childhood Dreams Come True

Quiz your parents about what they wanted as a child, and didn’t get. Start early with this one so enough time is at hand to find that special gift. Imagine the face of a 75-year-old woman who receives her first teddy bear.

(Contributed by Annette C. Agnello)

Come to my House …er…Hotel!

Is your family too large to celebrate Christmas in someone's home? Check into a hotel! Benefits include enough beds for everyone, a lobby to spread out food, a game room for the kids, possibly a pool, as well as a hot tub. The kids and adults will have a great time.

Consider hiring a clown or your own Santa. Use a conference room to play Christmas music and hold a Christmas service that the kids get to provide. It eliminates the mess in your house, gives you a lot more room, tons to do, and is super fun!

(Contributed by Lynda Schab)

Jesus, This is Your Life

Celebrate the Life of Jesus this year, using a "This is Your Life" format.

Each family group takes a portion of His life, starting with Mary and Joseph learning of His impending birth. Include the birth of Christ, His miracles, His choosing the disciples, and His ministry. Each family will have a time limit. Include as many family members as possible, including the children. Your goal is to honor Jesus and make Him the focus of your day.

(Contributed by Rita Garcia)

FaithWriters’ Books

Make sure to give the FaithWriters’ Books as gifts to family, friends, and colleagues.

(Contributed by Kenny Paul Clarkson)

Baby Showers for Jesus

Have the Sunday school kids bring a wrapped gift for a baby shower – clothes, diapers, baby toys, blankets, bibs, formula, and anything else suitable for a baby or new Mom. Have cake and punch and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Talk about when Jesus was born – his family were refugees, with very few of the comforts most of us enjoy.

Then donate the gifts to the local crisis pregnancy center.

(Contributed by Lynne Gaunt)

World Vision

World Vision is a unique place where your purchases provide basic needs and more for families in need. For instance:

$10.00 will buy soap, shampoo and other items necessary for one person's proper hygiene, reducing their chances of contracting diseases.

$15.00 will buy two bunnies for a poverty-stricken family to start a rabbit farm, creating a source of income for them.

$25.00 will clothe five homeless children in the United States in warm winter clothing. Or, it will immunize one child.

Gifts start at $10 and go into the thousands. Credit for the gift goes to the buyer or to a person the buyer selects. If you buy a goat for a family in Africa with your son in mind, you will get a gift card to give him that describes the benefits the goat will have on the community.

(Contributed by Dori Knight)

A Potluck Lunch, $5.00 Gifts, and a Movie

If your family is large, consider meeting for lunch on Christmas Eve Day. Require a potluck dish as the price of entrance and use the time to catch up on everyone's news. Perhaps a writer in the family will share a story or poem before the traditional Christmas Story and gift exchange. Keep gifts under $5.00.

See how creative your $5.00 gift to give can be. Crafts and homemade items are fun and guaranteed to be cherished.

Consider gathering family videos to share and reminisce. Take advantage of everyone’s unique talents. Children can perform a play, and singers can sing. Keep Christ at the center to guarantee a special celebration.

(Contributed by Teresa Lee Rainey)
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