Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Reason For Christmas

I can't believe it's Christmas in just 6 days!  I feel so unprepared.  I apologize profusely for the recent neglect of this blog.  Things just got soo busy.  I had my Primary class of four boys and two 9-year-old girls by myself for a few weeks.  It was a miracle we got through the lessons, all though I'm not sure they learned much.  And before that we were traveling and visiting family.  So, enough of my excuses... the reason you're here:

This will actually be a few ideas and you can mix and match as you wish.  The ideas that are not originally mine I tried to link to my sources.  

Lesson Ideas:
Act out the story of Christ's birth - Grab some towels or bathrobes, stuffed animals and a baby doll.  You can either read the story from Luke 2 or paraphrase for your younger kids.  Whichever is more appropriate.  It's awfully hard to act out something you don't understand.  Choose a Mary, Joseph, Angel, Shepherds, Innkeeper, and 3 wise men.  Have your kiddos act out the scenes described as you read the story.  Some people may need to play more than one part, if you don't have enough family members to only have a single part. 
Jesus' Birthday Party - We actually did this in Primary yesterday.  I wanted the kids to realize why we celebrate Christmas the way we do.  The star on top of the tree.  The gifts underneath.  All the symbols of that special event so long ago.  Bake up some cupcakes before hand.  Have a single cupcake with a single candle on display.  Begin by talking about the story of Christ's birth.  Maybe even read it out of the scriptures.  Have your kids help you tell it.  Point out that it probably took Mary and Joseph about 3 days to travel the approximate 60 miles to Bethlehem.  There were so many people in the city of David that there was no more vacancy in any of the inns.  Christ was born in some of the lowliest circumstances imaginable, among the animals and everything that animals expel.  Imagine a hospital with doctors and nurses.  It might smell funny, but it doesn't compare with the smell of animal excrement.
We also pointed out that Jesus could probably be called the "most important person ever born".  He came to save all mankind, a feat equal to that of no other person that has walked the Earth.  The shepherds came to see the child at the angel's direction.  They came to worship Him.  The wise men travel for years to find the babe.  Some of our Primary kids didn't realize that the wise men didn't visit Jesus in the manger, you might want to also point that out.  We talked about the star leading the shepherds and how it was also a sign to the wise men.  It took the wise men approximately two years to reach the Christ child.  They brought the baby gifts for his birthday.  We likened Christmas to Christ's birthday party, that's what we are celebrating.  I knew it was a success when several of the kids said, "Oh, now I get why we give presents!"  I was thrilled. 
Christ-Like Service - On the Monday before Christmas we have spent many years making up goody trays (or if planned a little earlier with more time to collect, we find families that may not have much and purchase or collect small gifts that can help make their holidays easier.  Some ideas include:  ingredients and recipes for some easy meals, clothing that may be too small for your family that is still in good condition, toys that are still in good shape - a FABULOUS way to clean out the toys before Santa brings more...).  Decide as a family who you want to deliver these goodies to.  Deliver them anonymously or not.  If you choose to disclose your identities, considering singing a carol or two when you deliver.  This is a good way to help your family focus on giving instead of getting.
Family Gift Exchange:  This could be done several ways.  Spend half an hour around the kitchen table, making something.  Handmade cards, coupons for doing one chore or getting out of one chore (on mom and dad's approval), a coupon for watching a movie together or spending time together in some other way.  Or you could take a quick trip down the candy aisle at the grocery store and let everyone chose one candy bar.  Give each person a brown lunch sack to decorate.  After the sacks are decorated, put one gift in each sack and sit in a circle, each person holding one gift.  Read this story, or this story, or this storyThis story is my favorite and this one is really cute too.  Exchange gifts according to the directions in the story.  Each person gets to open the gift they end up with.  Try to exchange if someone got the gift they chose or made.

Here are some cute little reminders about the true Reason for the Season:
M&M Poem
Candy Cane Poem
Hot Cocoa Poem
Star Poem

If you use the poems above, make sure you have the subject of the poem to have as a little treat.  You could easily combine the M&M's and the candy canes.  Or make star-shaped sugar cookies and hot cocoa and share the Hot Cocoa Poem and the Star Poem.  Or try this Super Simple Fudge recipe.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, filled with cheer, family, and laughter.  I may or may not get a post done in the next couple weeks.  My brother is coming home from his mission at the end of January and we have some things to do to get ready for his return.  I will try my hardest, but posting should return to once a week around the middle of January.  Thanks for sticking with me in this super busy time of the year.  I wish you and yours the best!

<3 Krista