How I Teach My Littles the Meaning of Christmas


In my home, my family and I are Christians. So it’s important to me to teach my kids the meaning of Christmas and that it isn’t just about presents and trees. We celebrate that Jesus came to live on earth.

I strongly believe in the importance of fostering a God-centered, day-to-day environment at home. But coming up with Christ-focused activities feels like a daunting task sometimes, especially during the hectic Christmastime.

One of my favorite ways to overcome this is by creating family traditions. My musts? Traditions should be straightforward, impactful, and Jesus-centered.

Two of the coolest Christ-centered Christmas activities that I have come across are simple but extremely effective. As a family, these traditions help us focus and learn to truly celebrate Christ in Christmas.

Teach the Littles to Celebrate the Christ in Christmas

A String of Nativity Gifts

This first tradition is a great tool to teach children the Christmas story through what the Bible says. It is one thing to expose kids to what happened. But to do it with Bible on hand makes it extra special, in my opinion.

When my daughter was a toddler, I bought a Little People nativity set. I soooo wanted a fancy, stylish setup. But it was more important to incorporate something that our 1-year-old could touch, handle, and experience without the stress/fear of breaking it.

How It Works

First, I broke down the Christmas story into 12 parts.

Teach the littles to celebrate the Christ in Christmas

The Little People set has all but one of the elements that we need. So I got a separate little guy to serve as a shepherd and voilà.

We begin our string of gifts on the morning of 12/12. With 12 components, technically we should start on 12/14 so it is 12 consecutive days ending on the morning of 12/25. But I know how overwhelmed I can get. So I decided to give myself grace in the form of wiggle room to miss two days. Sigh of relief.

Every night after the kids are in bed, I place a nativity piece and its related Bible verse (both in English and Spanish) in a gift bag. I use fluffy paper to make the offering attractive. And I lay it under the Christmas tree.

When both children wake up the next morning, they open the present. Then, together as a family, we read the verse from the Bible. My husband has been our official reader, but I think my daughter will take over this year.

My husband Ryan and I briefly discuss what happened in the story, and we answer any questions the littles may have (usually related to what words mean). We follow this with a question or two to make sure the kids understood the gist of the passage. And one of us closes up with a short prayer. Finally, we place the nativity piece on the little table next to the Christmas tree.

We do this (almost) every day leading up to Christmas. In this way, we witness the story of Christ’s birth taking shape one bit at a time!

A Big Win

In my ideal world, the nativity would remain nice and neat the whole time. Also, the kids would participate perfectly every day like I described above.

The reality is that the kids like to play with the pieces. They rearrange them and manhandle them. And truthfully, they do not listen or are super engaged every single morning.

Buuuuuut . . .

Last year, I caught my then preschooler acting out the Christmas story with the nativity. She was playing and saying things that she had heard for three years.

I realized then that even though any nativity set works great for this project, buying one that is technically a toy was the best decision for our family. I saw my young daughter actively involved with the Christmas story!

I may have shed a teeny, tiny happy tear.

I am excited to see what happens this year now that my son is a curious toddler. I am excited to find out what his first big win will look like. I am excited to be further surprised by my daughter Olivia with her next big win.

A Birthday Cake for Jesus

This second Christmas activity is technically not a family tradition . . . yet.

A few weeks ago, Ryan and I attended a parenting conference at church. One of the speakers provided a WEALTH of practical advice and resources in God-centered parenting.

She shared this wonderful red booklet that she created many years ago when her children were young. It is a guide, as practical as they come, on leading a kid-friendly, Christ-centered Christmas celebration.

A birthday cake for Jesus

How It Works

Christmas celebrates Christ’s birth, so baking a cake for the occasion is in order.

For our practice run, I had my kids help me prepare my (somewhat) nutrient-dense cake. Then, they covered it with white frosting and decorated it with colorful sprinkles. We put a candle on it, and sang “Happy practice birthday, Jesus.”

That is it. Easy, peasy.

The true magic lays in the imagery and narrative tied to the different colors that adorn the cake:

  • The cake and frosting are white because this color represents purity, and Jesus is without sin.
  • We add silver sprinkles that remind us of heaven, as Jesus is our Lord in heaven.
  • The purple sprinkles depict royalty, and Jesus is the King of kings.
  • We also include green sprinkles as this color relates to earth, and Jesus is the Creator.
  • The brown sprinkles represent service, and Jesus is the Servant of all.
  • White illustrates holiness, and Jesus is Holy God.
  • Yellow symbolizes light, and Jesus is the Light of the world.
  • The red sprinkles stand for blood, and Jesus is our Savior.

The booklet contains a short script and accompanying Bible passages explaining each color. As each hue of sprinkles is being added, we get the opportunity to listen/learn about who Christ is.

Talk about a Christ-centered Christmas activity!

For our first official try this coming Christmas, I have assigned a color to each adult in the family. I also provided the explanation and verses from the book. Then, each person will talk about the Jesus attribute attached to their color as the children add the frosting/sprinkles.

I am eager to give it a go and see the kids’ (and the adults’) reactions to it.

How to Find the Booklet

I am thankful for coming across this resource. It details the process above beautifully. It also provides other ideas to incorporate to the party. To order a copy, please contact the author, El Paso resident Christi Brown, at [email protected].

Enjoy a (Simple) Christ-Centered Christmas!

Christmas celebrations do not have to be complicated or elaborate. This is not a time meant to feel overwhelmed, but rather a time to rejoice and celebrate. These two family traditions are manageable, awesome ways to engage littles and bigs and keep the festivities Jesus-focused.


Originally published December 2021.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of El Paso Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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