Traditions!  At no other time of the year are traditions more important than at Christmastime.  A tradition is like a secret password that allows you into the club and tells you that you belong to something bigger than yourself.  Traditions bind people together as family, church, nation or culture.

Some Christmas customs and rituals cross cultural lines; others define them.  In Australia, Santa's sleigh is pulled by eight white kangaroos.  In Finland, it is traditional to take a sauna bath before Santa's visit.  In Spain, Papa Noel delivers presents by climbing up balconies.  And in New Zealand, Christmas is in summer, so families head to the beach for a yule-"tide" picnic.

When and how to open gifts is another tradition that varies the world over.  Should presents be opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?  Do you put them under the tree or hide them in the branches?  Are they wrapped or unwrapped?  One thing is certain:  In the end, it doesn't really matter how a present is opened, so long as it is opened.

What if you had put a lot of thought into finding the perfect present to give someone you loved very much?  This gift cost you more than anybody could ever know, but to you, this person was worth it.  Now how would you feel if the one you adored never opened the fit, or refused to even notice it?

God gave the gift of His Son, Jesus, to you.  Have you opened your heart to receive Him as your Savior?  The Bible says, "It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you" (1 Corinthians 11:2, The Message).  This Christmas, it would please the Lord if you would open the gift He has given you. 

You don't even have to wait until Christmas.

This Gift Comes with Strings Attached!

Tie a very, very long piece of yarn to one of the wrapped gifts you're giving.  Now hide the present.  Take a hold of the loose end of the yarn and wrap it around chair legs, through stair banisters, over tables, under couches – all over the house!  To make this activity even more fun, hide a present for each member of the family, using a different color of yarn for each person.  When it's time to hunt for the presents, just tell each person which color of yarn to follow.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave!  And what fun it is to hide and seek!

It's All in the Present-ation

Place enough small candy canes for each member of the family, and a single large one, inside a small box and then wrap the box.  Put the wrapped box inside a larger box, wrap it, and then select another larger box until you've used all the boxes you can find.  Have everyone sit in a circle and pass the package around as you play Christmas music in the background.  When the music stops, the player holding the package unwraps it to reveal another wrapped package.  Start the music again and continue passing the package around, unwrapping a box every time the music stops.  The person opening the final box gets the large candy cane and shares the rest of his gift with everyone else.

Teachable Moments

  • "What is your favorite Christmas tradition we celebrate as a family?
    (Share some of the funny Christmas traditions experienced around the world.)

  • "When do you think is the best time to open presents?"
    (Share some of the family traditions you and your husband celebrated as children and why you've chosen to celebrate the ones you have for your family.)

  • "How do you think you would feel if you picked out something extra special to give someone you loved and they didn't even open it?"
    (Talk to your child about how she can open her heart to receive the gift of Jesus.)