By Susan Ciancio

Christmas is nearly here! And though it may look different this year, no one can cancel the true meaning of Christmas. Indeed, you cannot have Christmas without Christ.

Christmas morning often becomes a flurry of activity, with excited kids opening gifts, extended family visiting, lots of cooking, and of course, Mass. It goes by too quickly.

But though the day can get crazy, it’s important to keep Christ first and foremost in our minds throughout the day. To help celebrate the real meaning of Christmas, we want to share some fun and easy ways (outside of Mass) to do this.

1. When you first wake up, before you even open any gifts, say Happy Birthday to Jesus. Teach your kids to do the same. Then take a few minutes to say some prayers of thanks for all your blessings. Pray as a family.

2. Play this beautiful video set to Josh Groban’s “O Holy Night” for them. It depicts the birth of Baby Jesus and the immense love and joy felt by both Mary and Joseph. It’s definitely a must see every Christmas. The pure love and happiness on Joseph’s face will make you weep!

3. Everyone loves birthday gifts! Talk about what you can give Christ for His birthday. This is a great conversation to have with kids of any age. Explain how Christ really only wants us to follow His will and be close to Him. Talk about what you can all do to better yourselves so that you will become closer to Christ. Help kids come up with ideas.

4. Give your kids (collectively) a family journal that you will keep in a common area of the house. Explain that they should write their prayers and thoughts for Jesus in it throughout the coming year. They can write anything in it—from something they did for others that was also a gift for Christ, to a prayer they said, to something they need, to a struggle they’re having.

5. Read the story of Christ’s birth from Luke chapter 2.

6. Make a birthday cake as your dessert and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.

7. Play a board game as a family. As you play, talk about how fun it is to do things as a family. Weave into the conversation a discussion about the Holy Family.

8. Read Max Lucado’s An Angel’s Story aloud. This short book tells the story of Christ’s birth through the eyes of the angel Gabriel. (It will only take about 20 minutes.)  

9. Watch a Christmas movie or show, such as A Nativity Story, A Christmas Carol, or Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Then talk about the true meaning of Christmas.

10. At the end of the day, thank everyone again for their gifts. This includes Jesus, as we would have nothing without Him! Have everyone write a short note of thanks to Baby Jesus and place it under or around the manger scene.

Christmas is a wonderful day filled with fun, laughter, great food, and awesome gifts. And all of this is because of Christ’s immense gift of Himself to us. Let us never forget to give Him the gift of ourselves and our love.

We thank you all for your support, and we wish you a very happy and blessed day! Merry Christmas!