Even when times are filled with more "downs" than "ups" - it's important for you, and your children, to keep family traditions alive, especially during holiday seasons and special days like Valentine's or 4th of July. Whether it's driving down the street of a decorated neighborhood at Christmas, or going to the big egg-hunt in your community on Easter, make the time to get out there and do it. It shows your children that family and traditions are special and will continue no matter what is going on in your lives. It gives them a sense of stability at that time, and they'll appreciate your effort for the continuity in the years to come.
Tired of Santa getting all the credit for Christmas? Here's a fun way to teach your children about the meaning of Christmas - it's a tradition passed down from the Conway family to ours, and we cherish the memories we've made over the years.
When you get out the Christmas Nativity set, just put out the "stable" in your special place, hide the baby Jesus until Christmas morning, and keep the other pieces in a box nearby. Each day you'll hide a character (1 for each kid to find) to place in the stable. Each evening, read the Nativity story and then have the kids find the hidden characters. Mary and Joseph would always be saved for Christmas Eve. And here's the best part - when the children go to bed on Christmas Eve, that's when you'll place the baby Jesus in the manger. On Christmas morning - our children would race down the stairs to see if baby Jesus arrived. It was a delight for everyone!
A couple more special ideas:
On Christmas Eve, we'd decorate a birthday cake for Jesus, and place a candle on it for each of us, and a white candle for Jesus. We'd also make a home-made birthday card for Jesus (with our family photo on the front) and everyone would sign it. We'd put the cake and card out Christmas Eve next to the Nativity set. When the kids raced to see the baby Jesus, they'd find a piece of His birthday cake missing and His birthday card is gone. Right then and there - we'd light the candles, sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, blow out the candles, and enjoy cake for breakfast!!
Now, our kids are in high school and know we're the ones making it all happen. Even though - they still enjoy decorating the birthday cake on Christmas Eve, reading the Nativity from their Bibles, and looking at the Birthday cards in our special album.