Christmas Day

When December 25 finally arrives, here are some ways to keep the true meaning of Christmas front and center.

Read the Christmas story. No matter which Gospel you pick, reading the Christmas story with your family around the tree can be a special time. Hearing the story of God incarnate becoming man sounds as fresh today as when it was new more than two centuries ago.

Birthday of Jesus. Singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus or baking Jesus a birthday cake can help everyone remember Dec. 25 is celebrated as his birth date. Nancy Swarthout of Kasson, Minn., bakes a cake for Jesus at Christmas. “It reminds my family that Jesus is the reason for Christmas and it is not about Santa. We also say a special prayer before we have the cake thanking God for sending us his son,” she says.

No matter how you celebrate Christmas, keep in mind that your family is not like anyone else’s—and your holiday traditions don’t have to be, either. Use these ideas to develop your own Christmas traditions and cherished holiday memories.

Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer and editor, and author of Hired @ Home: The Christian Mother's Guide to Working From Home. She lives in Fairfax, Va., with her husband and four children, and loves to see the Christmas lights each season. Visit her at www.sarahhamaker.com.

Recommended Reading

If you want to explore more ideas about simplifying your Christmas holiday, these books might be a good starting place.

Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas by Bill McKibben

Redeeming the Season: Simple Ideas for a Memorable and Meaningful Christmas by Kim Wier and Pam McCune

Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back Into the Season by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli

Visit Crosswalk's Christmas Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LuvChristmas.