7 Ways to Have a Christ-Centered Christmas

by - November 14, 2018



Long before we got married, Wayne and I have talked about how we would like to approach Christmas. Taking what we liked from our families, and trying to avoid what we didn't. It came down to the fact that we wanted to make sure we never lost focus on the real reason for the season.

In essence, we talked, and still talk to this day, about how we want our Christmas to be Christ-Centered.

It has been a very interesting, on-going discussion that takes into consideration the world we live in today, and what we really want to pass down to our children. How do we celebrate this holiday with the reverence it deserves? How do we make it an opportunity to glorify God and grow as a family? How do we avoid the frivolities and marketing schemes that plague the season?

Note, that there is NO commandment in the Bible to celebrate Christmas at all. Practically all of our typical traditions and activities come from old pagan winter festivals. But this shouldn't really excuse us from celebrating the birth of our Lord in our own small way.

So whether you feel like maybe your Christmas is bordering on too worldly, or you are a Grinch-y person, this post is for you. We have come up with some ideas to help guide any family who is wanting to celebrate Christmas with the right heart and focus. There is no ONE way, in fact the beauty is that the Bible actually gives us a great deal of freedom to celebrate Christmas how we want. I believe, as long as we follow these 7 ideas, we will truly experience the profound truth of Christmas.

1 - Make it SIMPLE


In our consumerist society, businesses are doing anything and everything possible to make us believe we need all these decorations, sweaters, lights, CD's, gifts, meals, toys and more to have the "full" Christmas experience.

When we were in Germany for our first Christmas as a couple, Wayne and I stayed with family friends. We were both shocked by the simplicity of their Christmas dinner. I would go as far as to say we were a little disappointed. Plain German sausage, some potatoes, some veggies or salad. That was it.

Our hosts then explained to us that they eat a simple meal on Christmas Eve to remember how poor and simple Mary & Joseph were. It was to remind us that the Lord Jesus Christ came down and was born to simple and relatively poor parents. Much poorer than we are.

This explanation really humbled me.

Does this mean Wayne and I now eat very simple Christmas eve dinners? No. In Germany they than do another meal on Christmas Day that is very similar to the turkey dinners we know.

The point is to find the area of the Christmas celebration where you think you could and should simplify. For you it may the decorations. Or the amount of dinners you go to. I find there is at least one part of Christmas that causes people to stress or obsess over.

For Wayne and I, it's the gifts. We truly are not in favour of having many gifts, or to spend to great a deal on them. Now that we have a child whose birthday is 10 days from Christmas, we are even more motivated to make sure gifts are not a focus in our family.

In fact, last year my parents were tight financially and joined us in a minimalist approach to gifts. A candle, some yummy chocolates and maybe some warm socks make a perfect gift for maybe 30$ at most.


2 - Limit Santa


Funny enough, Wayne and I are on different sides of this debate. He doesn't want to raise Laurie with the belief in Santa Clause. While a part of me completely understands the reasons why, I can't help but remember the 'magic' of childhood belief. And I was fortunate to not suffer in any trauma when I discovered at the age of 7 that Santa wasn't real.

However, I know it isn't the case for all kids, and we must always remember that our children are unsaved sinners until they come to the mature understanding of the Gospel and convert on their own.

Laurie is still much too young to understand - plus she's terrified of beards! - so we still have time to figure out which side of the debate we will land. But it does bring up the question: how do your children view Santa Clause? If he is in the top three things your children think of when they think of Christmas, there may be a problem. There are plenty of reasons to not indulge in this secular belief.

Sarah, a fellow blogger from Christ-Centered Mama, explains it really well in her post "Why Skip Santa" and it's worth a quick read!

Ultimately, the bottom line is that I am very willing to give up Santa in order to have a Christ-focused Christmas.

3 - See & Hear Jesus


I think a visual reminder, whether in the form of a manger or even a verse printed large on the wall, can be a subtle way to remember what Christmas really about. It is so easy to get carried away with the idea of family gatherings, large dinners, and gifts, especially when so many songs and movies focus on these things. Countless "Christmas" movies might not even mention God or Jesus at all. So take the extra effort to play music and movies for your family that praise God and move us to worship Jesus.


4 - Do Charity

This is probably the easiest one, but it can be done as an automatic response or without the right emphasis that makes the experience an afterthought.

Depending on the age and personalities of your children, there are many ways you can have them involved in a charity experience that is very real to them. Maybe a service, like visiting the children's hospital, or donating their nice toys and clothes they no longer use, it gets them much more involved than simply having mom and dad buy some new things to send to Operation Christmas Child (which is still a lovely charity to be involved it).

5 - Love on Your Church


The Church is often a neglected entity, or one we take for granted. But we should actually love the church even more than our own families. And if we are making an effort to spend more time with in-laws, aunts and grandparents, shouldn't we make the same effort with the body of Christ? Go to the events your church is holding (likely they are holding at least one charity event), go to the candle lit service, and support the Christmas production if you can.

Is there a new family from a new country at your church? Is there a senior who has no family coming to visit? We see the early church in the bible going above and beyond to share the love of Christ by caring for those in the body, and what could be more beautiful than to share your warm home, family, and food with others whose spirits could truly be lifted?

6 - Be Still with your Family

We're called to be still and know God. We know God by reading his word and speaking to him. So why not take on a refreshing challenge to pray more purposefully during the season of advent? You can reflect on a verse of the nativity every day for 12 days after dinner. You can pray before you open gifts. Pray on Christmas Eve before your children go to bed. Find a time every day to be still, focused on God's word, and be in communion with Him.


7 - Replace Secular Traditions With Christ


Instead of regular gingerbread houses, make a manger scene. Instead of having typical Christmas dessert, have a cake to celebrate Jesus's birthday. Instead of a typical Advent calendar, maybe do a new bible verse each day about Jesus to read at dinner. Challenge older children to memorize these verses!

If you simply strip away all the traditions that surround a secular or consumerism notion, you are left with basically nothing. Christians didn't really celebrate Christmas for hundreds of years. But, we can take the traditions we like (or don't like!) and have a Christian twist on them to enhance the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.



These are all fairly easy ways to dedicate your celebrations to Christ, but it does take some planning and commitment. Be sure to talk to your spouse before the season is in full gear. And don't feel pressured to do a whole bunch of changes unless you suddenly feel prompted by the spirit that you need some radical change to your Christmas traditions and activities.

Pray and ask God to lead you and your family into this season with hearts set on him. Ask for wisdom and guidance as you make decisions on how to enjoy the holidays and bring glory to Him on high.

And lastly, share what you already do as a family that helps you keep the season Christ-Centered! I'd love to hear your ideas down in the comments below!

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