Simple Ways to Keep Jesus the Focus of Christmas


The person who said they needed more things to fill up their December calendar was a liar.
A fictional liar.

Does your family need more to do this month? Yeah, no. Ours doesn’t either.

We want to give Jesus the attention he deserves.

But we don’t know where to put one more Christmas craft/activity/game/event.
How do we fit even more in the crazy busy?

Instead of ADDING things to our Holiday Bucket List, we can take things we are already doing and simply do a lickety-split SWAP to keep the right Guy in the spotlight this Christmas season. 

Here are a few ways to do just that:

Gingerbread Houses

Traditionally, we buy the kit and millions of tiny crystals of color so our kids can be creative about how they get their sugar fix.

Exactly how the cookie man got lumped into the celebration remains a mystery, but this is such an easy swap: a nativity scene for the gingerbread house. The creativity remains high and the Jesus story gets retold.

Window clings

If you buy these for your littles, consider swapping out the snowmen and Santas for baby Jesus and his barn crew.

This is one of the ones we have used and abused.


Is Christmas still a holiday without cookies? Someone should poll that question. I vote NO.

At our house we are sneaking red hearts, angels and sugar-coated donkeys into the mix of stockings and trees. The first year that donkey really got the stink eye. Until the kids remembered the story we tell all month long.

Here are some full sets of nativity cookie cutters in case you don’t have donkeys sitting in your baking drawer.

Books (and a Movie)

Our parental duties require us to read with our kids and watch hours of holiday movies.

There are many to pull into the rotation this month that subtly remind our kids of Jesus. And that don’t make the big people want to poke holes in their ear drums.

The Christmas Promise by Alison Mitchell
A fresh telling of the ancient story.

The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie
Giving Jesus birthday gifts all month long.

The Nativity by Julie Vivas
The classic telling with fun art.

The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
The words to the song illustrated like only Keats can.

God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell
Although not technically a Christmas book, it is the story of God in a most fantastic way.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever DVD
If you haven’t seen the rowdy Herdman kids take over the local church’s pageant, you really should. It’s our family favorite.


Even those “unbreakable” bulbs don’t stand a chance against the little kids in my house and every year we find ourselves buying a few new ornaments. Why not ones that tell Jesus’ story?

Angels, nativity scenes, crosses and stars, all bring it back around to the Main Guy.

If you have a hankering for some angels, check out these beauties that empower Ugandan artisans.

Gift Catalogues

If you slide the Toys R Us flyers and the American Girl catalogues into the garbage when your kids aren’t looking, they might never know they exist. We have swapped them out for those sent to us by non-profits and we display them in the living room this whole month. When our kids start talking about what they want for Christmas, we ask them what they want to give and point them to the shiney pages.

(For more on giving, check out ReThinking Christmas, our family’s thoughts on celebrating Jesus’ birthday.)

The Hot Chocolate Ride

Who doesn’t love to pile into the van after dark with a steaming mug to see the sights? Ok, besides tired parents?

Instead of the destination being the Crazy Lights Neighborhood, have Siri take your family to a live nativity or a Bethlehem walk. Interacting with Roman soldiers and petting live animals might make this one a new family favorite.


As parents, we know the value of  an actual conversation. We are also skilled at the game of Changing the Subject and we can use those talents to talk about Jesus a lot this month.

During Sunday lunch.
On the car ride.
During bedtime stalling.

Our kids are listening to us, whether they look like it or not.
It is our greatest honor to point our favorite people to the most beautiful baby ever born.

We can make the most of these little pockets of time this (crazy busy) month and
keep Jesus front and center this Christmas.

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