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The Reason for the Season- A New Family Tradition

The Forys are trying something new this year! In an effort to keep Christ in Christmas, we are adding a holiday tradition in our home. Our family has chosen not to participate in the “Elf on the Shelf” craze, and our kids have asked us why we don’t have one. We’ve explained that certain traditions aren’t right for every home, and it is ultimately up to the parents to choose which ones to enjoy.

I’ve racked my brain trying to think of what would be right for our family and what would still bring a little fun and magic to our home in December. I finally came up with the idea of using a nativity scene to do this. Not a fancy, elaborate one, but one my kids could play with if they wanted- not something breakable! I found this adorable wooden one on Amazon. It’s perfect!

Where’s the Fun and Magic?

Here’s how the fun comes in… Once December comes and all the Christmas decorations are coming out, I won’t display the entire scene- only the empty stable. Then, piece by piece and little by little, the characters will appear (similar to the elf of the shelf) with a special message or scripture to share with the kids. They may find a Wiseman at the breakfast table, sharing the good news, or maybe they will find a shepherd in the bathroom before they brush their teeth or a donkey sitting on the mantel one morning. It will be the kids’ job to assemble the scene piece by piece throughout the month as they find the characters each day (or every other day) We haven’t fine-tuned the details yet!

The Best Part-

We will save the best part for last! Jesus will be the first gift they open on Christmas! I will wrap baby Jesus and hide him somewhere fun for them to find. We will start our morning with searching and finding the best gift of all- the manger scene will be complete on Christmas day!

Possible Changes to Make-

Since this is the first year we will be doing this, we haven’t set in stone how it will actually work. You could set the whole nativity scene up when you’re doing all your other Christmas decorating, and then certain pieces/characters could disappear and make their way to another location with a message (or doing something fun) for your kids to find. You can even mix it up from year to year or find what works and flows best with your family.

How to Kick it Off-

I have the perfect book to read together as a family. Books are always a great way to kick off a fun activity! We plan to read This Is the Stable. (Other good options would be The Story of Christmas, or Christmas is Here)

Once the tree is up and the living room is all cozy with your holiday décor, you can snuggle up and read it together, then tell your children to be on the lookout in the month of December for certain characters to come and join the scene.

I’m excited to get this new tradition started and praying my children can learn more of the real reason we celebrate. We give gifts to show our love for others- because of the gift of love that was given to us, long ago.

Wishing you and your family a blessed holiday season!


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