Christmas is about family. Here is a collection of five crafts that you can make as a family to teach the true meaning and symbols of Christmas. Children will learn to identify Christmas using their five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Pick and choose the activities you think your family will best enjoy, and spread them throughout the season. Start new traditions. Most importantly, use the activities to talk as a family.
Take a Christmas Lights Drive: Pile everyone in the van after dark and tour your city or a nicely decorated neighborhood. Some cities will have a town center that will be lit up. Ask your children which decorations are their favorites and why. Talk about how the twinkling lights resemble the stars. Remind them that on the night Jesus was born a new star shone in the sky, announcing his birth to the whole world. Even people in different countries knew the Christ-child was born, and some wise men traveled to find him.
Christmas Caroling: Delight your neighbors by singing on their doorsteps, or just gather around the piano and sing as a family. You may even attend a community “sing-in,” or another recital, or watch one on TV. Christmas carols and caroling have a somewhat obscure history. Indeed, in many countries any jovial celebrating of the holiday was outlawed until the 1700s! Caroling can be traced back to England around this period, and it was a community event. Groups would go house to house, singing in exchange for eggnog or wassail. Caroling fosters a feeling of community as we reach out to others and spread joy. Some of the most popular carols to sing are Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and We Wish you a Merry Christmas.
Trim the tree: Like holly, the evergreen reminds us that life will come again. The pine aroma fills our heart and mind with hopes of the year to come. If you use an artificial tree in your home, you can take your children on a walk through a Christmas tree lot. You can hang a swag, or even a branch with a fragrant pinecone.
Peppermint Candy Canes: As you enjoy a candy cane with your family, point out the symbols of the shepherd’s crook, and the colors. Red represents Jesus’ sacrifice, and white is for his purity. When turned upside-down, the shape also becomes a “J,” which can also be a reminder that Christmas is a time to remember Jesus. The mint flavoring also has seasonal significance. Hyssop, a plant in the mint family, was used in Old Testament times to purify (or cleanse) oneself. Peppermint might now remind us of Jesus’ purity.
Snow Angels: After a good snowfall, bundle everyone up and walk to the park or your own backyard. Demonstrate how to make snow angels by falling backward into a fresh bank. Sweep straightened arms and legs back and forth to create the wings and gown of the angel. Stand up carefully and admire everyone’s work. When the family is back indoors talk about the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, when she found out she would soon give birth to the baby Jesus. Also talk about the angel who visited the shepherds on the night Jesus was born. He said to them, “Fear not, for I bring good tidings of great joy!” Although Christ was not really born in December, it is the time chosen to celebrate his birth. During the winter all the plants seem dead, but after Christmas the world gets closer to spring when all the flowers come back to life. Jesus’ birth was a promise that everyone who followed him would also live after death.