Can you say the word “Tradition” without singing the Fiddler on the Roof song? Me neither. Traditions pull us together, and keep the family threads from unraveling too far. I fondly recall going to my Italian grandmother’s and waiting until midnight before we could open the gifts. In reality, we probably opened them at 9 p.m. But in my childhood memory, this tradition was SO LATE at night. The point is, we don’t have to remember the exact details OF a tradition for it to impact us.
We have several traditions as a family at Christmas time, and I’m sure you do as well. We generally cut down a fresh Christmas tree, drive through holiday lights, and read the Christmas story. I’ve always done some kind of Christmas or “Advent” calendar to help us focus on the celebration of Christ’s birth.
These “advent” activities are the tradition we’ve created, but I like to change up the way we do them or the materials we use. I’m always trying to find creative ways to tell the Christmas story to my kids. I’m hoping they hear the story fresh each year, and it sparks a deeper level of understanding as they grow.
Creative Ways to Tell the Christmas Story to Kids
One Advent curriculum I used for years is Truth in the Tinsel. It’s a wonderful collection of devotionals and activities that offer four ways to tell the Christmas story to your kids.
When I first taught Truth in the Tinsel, we did every craft and every lesson. My son was not even three! LOL! Hindsight: this may have been overkill!
Still, this mama was doing all the crafts and musing over the questions at the end of each lesson. Meanwhile, my dear, patient toddler gazed at me wondering who was this lady assigned to feed, care, and entertain him. (To this day though, he is still agreeable to nearly any activity I want to embark on! It’s a blessing because I love trying things!).
That first year, I dove into the TinT lessons, so I didn’t see till the END that Amanda White has FOUR ways to tell the Christmas story using her curriculum! If you’re wondering how to use your Truth in the Tinsel curriculum, I’m going over the benefits of each!
1. Tell just the Christmas Story Basics
Because you can use the Truth in the Tinsel year after year, don’t feel pressure to get through all twenty-four lessons and crafts your first year. If you have small ones. Amanda outlines six Christmas Story Basics lessons: Light, Mary, Joseph, Swaddling Clothes, Shepherds, Gifts.
I wish I’d done this my first year! For young ones, take your time and spread them over several days, like this:
Day 1: Read the Scripture and sing a song.
Day 2: Do the craft. Singing or re-share the verse from the day before.
Day 3: Use your craft to teach the lesson. Little hands will happily play with their small craft while you teach. If the questions are beyond them, just tell what’s on your heart. As they grow they’ll have their own responses to these parts of the Christmas story.
No time or mental resources for crafting during this busy season? Get the Truth in the Tinsel ornaments printable and have kids color as you read the lesson. Then hang the ornaments day by day! Color an ornament each day and do the six Basics lessons sprinkled throughout the weeks before Christmas!
To enhance these lessons, fill the other days with these Picture Books that Go Along with Truth in the Tinsel.
2. Read Various Scripture Accounts that Tell the Story
I’ve been impressed at how Amanda uses a variety of Scripture passages in her lessons. She visits Isaiah in the Old Testament, as well as the Luke and Matthew accounts. Plus, in the final lesson, she points to the Cross and the real purpose and message of Christmas.
So, one way to share the Christmas story is to read various Scriptural accounts of Christ’s birth to see the different details! Studying by Books of the Bible gives the option to consolidate to just six days of TinT lessons. If you do several lessons on the same day, just pick your favorite craft from that set to do.
I love this Books of the Bible schedule for teaching a kids’ class (like a homeschool co-op). Or, use it for a Sunday School class where you have to fill larger chunks of time. (Truth in the Tinsel IS available as a Sunday School curriculum in 4 expanded lessons!).
3. Focus on the People of Christ’s Birth
A focus on the characters (real people, actually) of the Christmas story is perfect for preschool and kindergarten. Or for kids who have done the crafts but are unsure of all the people of the story. Ten lessons in Truth in the Tinsel focus on people: Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, Jesus, Angels, Shepherds, Simeon & Anna, Wise Men.
Amanda’s vision is that by doing these ten lessons, kids will craft a nativity scene by the end. Ad in animal figurines for the rest! Do this early in December and let them play with their homemade nativity for the rest of the month. They’ll learn so much by telling and retelling the story! Or, if it’s mid-December and you’ve not cracked open your TinT curriculum, this is a perfect lead-up to Christmas day!
4. Share the Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus’ Birth
For older kids who’ve done Truth in the Tinsel for several years (like mine!) it’s nice to have a different lens. Amanda’s lessons touch on seven prophecies fulfilled in the story of Jesus’ Birth: Light, Jesus’ Name, Bethlehem, Swaddling Clothes, Temple, Gifts, Cross.
With the focus on fulfilled prophecy, kids (and you!) will see familiar stories and lessons with fresh eyes. We used this focus when the boys were 8 and 6 years old! It was exciting to dig deeper into the prophecies of Scripture because it was a new perspective for my kids.
Get your copy of Truth in the Tinsel!
If you have feel like you can’t keep up or you’ve gotten too far into December to get started–don’t! I hope these ways to share the Christmas story inspire you to open your Truth in the Tinsel ebook and get going!
New to Truth in the Tinsel? There’s even more resources!
Already using Truth in the Tinsel? Consider adding the printable ornaments, printable tree, or the Printable map to your activities!
And don’t forget you, Mama! Parent Prayers is a resource for parents to use in your devotions or quiet time. Use the prompts to pray over your kids as you teach them the Truth in the Tinsel lessons! Parent Prayers is available as an ebook or printable and is perfect for adding a special focus to your Bible study this year.
So there you have it: Four creative ways to tell the Christmas story to your kids. Even if you don’t use the Truth in the Tinsel, you can see how these ideas can create a focus for your family readings and devotional times.
Another Creative Way to Celebrate Christmas
Oh, and if you want to get super creative? I have a delightful post about how to throw a Birthday Party for Jesus. It’s a fun way to have an experiential (and tasty) celebration that shares the events and culture of Jesus’s birthplace.
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