Every year, Christmas creeps up on families a bit faster. They’re pushed to do more, buy more, and make more meaningful, lasting memories. Yet the typical household is probably still discovering Thanksgiving leftovers at the back of the fridge!
During the holidays, your support is more valuable than ever for busy families. Rather than add one more thing to do or attend, help them slow down, connect, and enjoy the season. Try these five ideas:
- Boxed Christmas Cheer—Send teenagers home with a box (or bag) of Christmas cheer. Include cocoa packets, marshmallows, candy canes, a suggested list of Christmas movies, an inexpensive Christmas CD (or playlist suggestions), and 3X5 cards containing quick, fun discussion starters for an evening around the tree. For example: “If you were an elf, what toy would you invent?” “What’s your favorite Christmas memory from childhood?” “If you were the Bethlehem innkeeper, what would you have told Mary and Joseph?” If you’re ambitious, include the dry ingredients and recipe for easy cookies.
- Pop-Up Christmas—After youth group one night, encourage parents to enjoy a Christmas cheer station. Provide cookies and other snacks, plus a hot-cocoa bar with mix-ins such as marshmallows, peppermint sticks, and caramel sauce. Play Christmas carols and encourage parents to just hang out and chat with their kids or each other. If parents don’t come in or kids drive themselves to youth group, do a “to go” version that kids can take home.
- Textable Christmas—Every week in December, text parents two simple seasonal ideas for connecting as a family. For example: “In the car, talk about the joy and awe the shepherds felt when they experienced a host of angels celebrating on the first Christmas. When have you experienced “joy and awe” in your life, and why?”
- Old-Fashioned Christmas—Have kids each contribute $5 for supplies to make homemade gifts for parents. Often parents of teenagers (especially seniors) get nostalgic for the crafts their kids used to bring home from school. Ideas range from jars of snack mix to homemade bath salts. Be sure to have kids include a note!
- Advent Follow-up—It’s never too late in December to help families pause and remember why Christmas is important. Send home a “Last Week/First Week” note containing simple ideas for connecting with Jesus during the end of December and the beginning of the New Year. Ideas include: “Walk outside and look at the Christmas lights on your house or around your neighborhood. Discuss the star that appeared on the first Christmas—and how you think people knew to follow it.” “Each day, read a few verses of Luke chapters 1 and 2 together. As you encounter new characters, share how you’d feel and react in their shoes.”
Although the crazy-busy holiday season soon will be history, Jesus is with us forever. So help families make time together to reflect on this perfect gift.
Help Busy Families Focus on Jesus was last modified: December 12th, 2017 by