After adopting three children in 2012, my newlywed husband and I decided it was a good time to start some Christmas traditions. Since then, we’ve started three unforgettable Christmas traditions: Our Christmas Shopping List, Reverse Christmas Cards, and Christmas Card Tree Decorations.
Our Christmas Shopping List
Although we wanted to shower our new children with gifts, we also wanted to teach them about the spirit of the season, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ—not receiving lots of gifts, toys, and electronics. I created a printable Christmas shopping list that reflected the gifts the three wise men gave to baby Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Each family member gives every other family member three gifts.
Because the gold is valuable, we give each family member something the person really wants.
To represent frankincense, we give each family member something that helps them get closer to God, like a Bible, a Christian book, CD, etc.
For myrrh, we give each person in the family something they can use for their body, like clothes or perfumes.
Each family member creates their shopping list for the other family members. This helps everyone integrate aspects of the first Christmas into our yearly Christmas celebrations. Although there are variations of this Christmas tradition around the internet, here is our printable shopping list—in color and black and white.
Reverse Christmas Cards
Last year, our family didn’t send out traditional Christmas cards. Instead, we sent pictures to our friends and family members of them from throughout the year. As we looked through our digital pictures, it was great to reminisce of times we shared with loved ones throughout the year. Our friends loved getting pictures of themselves they didn’t know had been taken or had forgotten about.
Christmas Card Tree Decorations
We love getting Christmas cards in the mail and we want to highlight them during the season. So instead of setting up a spot for them in the house, like a mantle, we put them on our Christmas tree as decorations. We cut down on the number of actual ornaments we put on the tree, leaving spots for Christmas cards as they arrive in the mail. As we walk past the tree throughout the day, we get to admire the ornaments, and our favorite decorations: the Christmas cards from family and friends.
We hope these ideas help you to start new traditions in your family. They’ve helped us to simplify the holidays while maximizing Jesus, friends, and family.