Hello Mamas (and Papas), are you one of those asking, “how to celebrate Christ-centered Christmas as Catholics with small kids”? Here are 9 ways based on my family’s practices and experience.
How to Celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas as Catholics with Small Kids
Celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas as Catholics is a must and it can be more fun and interesting with small kids. Start by explaining to them that Jesus is the reason for the season, observe and celebrate Advent, and make sure to display a nativity set in your home. Moreover, read them the story of the birth of Jesus, listen to Christ-centered Christmas songs, bake a cake and prepare a birthday party for the birthday celebrant – Jesus. Lastly, attend the Christmas mass together and prepare spiritually.
1. Explain to them that Jesus is the reason for the season.
Sometimes, as a parent, I think that it’s better to wait until the kids are older to explain to them things. But there are certain things that are better explained to them as early as possible and I believe that Christmas is definitely one of them.
When #1 was old enough to understand, we told him that we celebrate Christmas because it’s the birthday of Jesus. I thought he would just forget about it, but I was wrong.
When I picked him up at school the other day, I asked him questions about what he did at school. Then he told me they were drawing a star for Christmas. I asked him why we celebrate Christmas and he said: Because it’s the birthday of Jesus. I was so happy that he remembered. It’s really important to “start them young”.
2. Observe and celebrate Advent at home.
Observing and celebrating advent at home is really fun for kids because they love lighting the candles and then blowing them off.
I grew up seeing the lighting of the Advent candles every year in the Church, but we don’t have Advent wreath and candles at home. I only started having them after I got married imitating what I see on social media.
As shameful as it is, but I admit that as a cradle Catholic, I just recently learned about the true meaning of Advent, the Advent wreath, the candles, their colors, and other related stuff. However, it makes me excited to learn more about my Catholic faith because obviously I still have a LOT of things to learn.
I printed a copy of the Blessing and Prayers for Advent Wreath from Catholic Culture. I like it because it has detailed instructions on how to bless the wreath, how and who should light the candles with the corresponding prayers.
3. Display a Nativity set in your home.
If putting up Christmas decorations is not possible because of some circumstances, just make sure that the nativity set is up in your home – the most important Christmas decoration in my opinion.
Christmas 2017 was our first Christmas as a family, but unfortunately, I was not able to decorate our home for the season because I was still recovering from my c-section (2 months postpartum) and movement was still limited.
The only Christmas decors we had that year were a Christmas tree and our nativity set – a perfect reminder that it’s ok if we don’t have lavish Christmas decors as long as we have Jesus in our home.
Kids love looking at and touching the nativity set and it can also be educational as you teach them the different characters in the set. Christ-centered Christmas with toddlers is really fun for both kids and parents!
4. Read them the story of the birth of Jesus.
It’s the perfect time to get the book about the first Christmas from the bookshelf and read it to the kids along with other Christmas books.
We have a Jesus is Born book that we bought during our Philippine vacation in 2018 and we are trying to read it to #1 (#2 is not yet interested) every night until Christmas (trying because nights get busy and it’s forgotten most of the time).
5. Listen to Christ-centered Christmas songs.
This is an idea I got from one of the blogs I read that I want to practice, too. Christmas songs (Christ-centered or not) give a certain “unexplainable Christmas vibe and happiness” to me.
I am from the Philippines and I think we are one of those who celebrate Christmas early (if not the earliest). When the month starts to end with -ber, we start to celebrate Christmas! So, by September 1, radio stations, tv stations, and malls start to play Christmas songs and ads. And I am sure this is one of the things that Filipinos working and living abroad miss the most!
6. Bake a cake for Jesus, the birthday boy.
This is a tradition that I want to start with the kids this year. Though we always had cake during Christmas, I want to emphasize to the kids starting this year that we make and bake (or buy) the cake for Jesus.
I already told #1 about it and he is already excited. He said that it should be a chocolate cake! If you have a simple, yet delicious chocolate cake recipe, please share it in the comments below. 🙂
7. Prepare a birthday party for Jesus.
If we bake a cake for Jesus for his birthday, then it goes without saying that we also prepare a birthday party for him.
I want to tell the kids starting this year that the noche buena (that we always do every year) is the birthday party for Jesus, so they’ll get more excited about it and hopefully participate in the preparation, too.
We keep noche buena as simple as possible to avoid us from getting stressed from all the preparations. This year, I’m thinking of trying another recipe from the compilation I made of 36 Easy Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead Meals For Busy Moms. I have already tried several of the recipes that got the approval of the husband and the kids.
8. Attend the Christmas Mass together.
Everyone gets busy at Christmas because of all the preparations, but attending Christmas Mass should be on top of the list.
Kids will understand better that Jesus is really the reason for the season if we don’t skip the Christmas Mass. This is a must for me in really having a Christ-centered Christmas with kids.
9. Prepare spiritually.
This is mainly for us parents. We get so busy preparing for Christmas physically (gifts, food, drinks, etc., we should also not forget to prepare spiritually. After all, it’s the real essence of advent – to prepare for the coming of Christ.
The Catholic Church is encouraging us to go to confession at least once a year (during lent), but in a video that I saw recently from Fr. Chris Alar, he explains that their congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception (MIC) is encouraging us to go to confession at least twice a year (but the more the better) – during lent and advent – since both are preparations for the coming of our Saviour.
Are you almost done with your Christmas preparations Mamas? Do you have more tips on how to celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas as Catholics with small kids? Do prefer a Christ-centered Christmas? Please don’t hesitate to share them in the comment section below.
A Merry Christ-centered Christmas everyone!