Celebrating the Christmas Season at Home

Living the Liturgical Seasons at Home - Christmas - children with Nativity scene

The Christmas season—which begins on December 25 with Christmas and ends with the Baptism of the Lord—offers many opportunities to celebrate Jesus’ Incarnation. Here are a few ways to celebrate Christmas that will bring you closer to Jesus and to the ones you love.

Prepare During Advent.

The time spent preparing for the coming of Christ during December will affect our experience of Christmas when it finally arrives.

Attend Mass and a meal with family and friends.

Going to Mass with family and friends is the easiest—and most important—way to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Afterward, gather as a family and enjoy a special meal. Meals are a great way to celebrate family traditions and make new ones. Savor the magic of waking up on Christmas morning to a fully lighted tree, full stockings, and presents. Open Christmas presents with a spirit of gratitude by acknowledging the gift, the giver, and the recipient.

Reflect on the Holy Family.

On the Feast of the Holy Family, gather around a Nativity scene and retell the Christmas story. Imagine that you are part of the scene, such as a member of the Holy Family, one of the shepherds, an angel, or even one of the animals. Talk about how faithfulness and love are part of your family.

Play Christmas music.

Listen (or sing) traditional and modern carols with your family. Enlist friends to go caroling during the week after Christmas around the neighborhood or in a nursing home.

Watch Christmas movies.

Come together to watch some of your favorite movies that reflect the meaning of Christmas. Share your thoughts about how these movies help you understand the miracle of Jesus’ birth.

Celebrate Mary on New Year’s Day.

Mark the beginning of the new year by celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Remember Mary’s role as the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and our mother. Turn off a college bowl game at halftime to pray a Rosary!

Mark the journey of the Wise Men.

If you have a Nativity scene at home, move the Wise Men closer to the stable each day, singing “We Three Kings” as you move them. Watch a video inspired by their story, such as Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Gift of the Magi, or The Fourth Wise Man, and reflect on it as a family.

Have an Epiphany party.

On the Feast of the Epiphany—which is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8—bless your home and household. Gather together and mark with chalk “20 + C + M + B + 18” above the door (the initials of the traditional names of the magi). Invite family and friends to share a special meal, accompanied by Christmas music. In Spain and Latin America, many children receive their Christmas gifts from the Three Kings on this day rather than on Christmas.

Take down decorations with family or friends.

As you “undecorate” your home, play Christmas music and serve hot chocolate as you take down Christmas decorations and put them away. Make sure everyone has a job, even the youngest. Enjoy a simple meal afterwards.

Christmas is not a single day; it is a treasured season of the Church year. Enjoy your favorite traditions—and make some new ones—as you celebrate Christmas. These lasting memories might just be the most important gift you can give your loved ones this season.

Download the Christmas Bible story booklet to share with your family, and read more stories for Christmas in the Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories by Amy Welborn.

About Joyce Donahue 55 Articles
Joyce Donahue, MA, MPS, is a liturgical catechist and former diocesan administrator. She currently volunteers as parish catechist and musician at St. John the Baptist Parish, Joliet, IL. She blogs at Liturgy and Catechesis Shall Kiss and maintains The Liturgical Catechist website.

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