How Can I Provide a More Meaningful Christmas?
Each year, I ask myself, "How can I provide a more meaningful Christmas for my foster children?" You are probably exhausted with the hustle and bustle of a 'normal' Christmas season. Each year families are expected to buy more and more for their children. We buy gadgets and toys that are the latest and greatest so they will 'fit in' with their peers.
What if we decided to provide a meaningful Christmas to our foster family. Especially to our foster children! When we choose meaningful activities instead of materialism, we are giving them an even greater gift.
What is considered a '"meaningful Christmas"? It is a month of activities that are not meant to stress you out, but to point you to a season of giving and loving others. Christmas is a season of traditions and family.
When I was little, I would have to recite a poem for my Grandma Kidd. It was called, 'Twas the Night before Jesus Came". Each cousin had a part to play in a recitation. My brother read 'The Three Trees'. We would all get choked up every year, but my grandma wanted to establish a tradition of reading meaningful things before we ripped open those packages and made a mess in the living room.
When I was a young mother, we began going to Christmas Eve candlelight services. This was a fantastic time for me because we got to sing Christmas songs, like Silent Night and Joy to the World. I loved lighting the candle and having all the lights off reflecting on the goodness of the year.
Don't forget to ask them if they have any Christmas traditions that the foster child wants to incorporate. Ask them a few questions that will lead you to find out. Ask them the following:
Do you remember anything about Christmas at your home?
Have you ever decorated a tree? What colors did you use?
Have you ever been to see a lot of lights at Christmastime?
What do you want to get your mom for Christmas?
Tell me about last year's Christmas?
What is your earliest memory of Christmas?
How can I have a more meaningful Christmas?
Make a list of all the things you want to do at Christmas. I take a blank calendar and write a list of activities on the back which include cooking family meals with relatives that come in once a year, baking, seeing special, seasonal lights, movies that we watch each year, shopping days, church services, and more. Then I write a draft of the calendar. I run it by my family for conflicts and add church events and Christmas parties.
Next, I type the up the calendar and post it on my fridge. I then email it to my extended family. We have days to look forward to each week. Meaningful things, purposeful shopping, and fun activities, like making gingerbread houses. I like the coordinated calendar because it gives us an idea of what is coming up and I can space wrapping after shopping days. This means that my family doesn't wrap gifts on the day before Christmas; I attend Christmas Eve candlelight stress-free.
Another way to provide a more meaningful Christmas for foster children is to read books together. We enjoy reading the Christmas story from Luke in the Bible. My family enjoys doing advent devotionals. After seeing the Nutcracker play, we plan to read the book. Then we watch a movie on it. The children will choose The Nutcracker for our music to listen to while doing chores.
Try doing chores to this: https://youtu.be/jNQWdaFoiN4
How can I have a more meaningful Christmas with my foster children?
Utilize a Nativity to discuss the characters of the Nativity. Act it out and then let them play with a set. (Use a grownup set for displaywhile showing them this one as well. Buy a cheaper one for playtime.) Listen to traditional Christmas songs. Go on a road trip to see Christmas lights and let the children point to the best ones. Watch the traditional movies that you watched as a child. Here is a list to get you started: https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/news/g962/the-most-classic-christmas-movies/
Another way to have a more meaningful Christmas with foster children is to decorate together and go over the decorations and what they might mean at your house. We have two trees, one for pretty silver and blue decorations that match my living room decor. Another tree has all the homemade ornaments, kids desired ornaments, and sentimental decorations.
Use Their Creativity
Make ornaments personalized to them. Likewise homemade ornaments that they can take home with them or give to their first family. Check this site out with multiple ideas on how to make more meaningful Christmas ornaments: https://handsonaswegrow.com/30-homemade-ornaments-for-the-kids/
What do you think about teaching the original meaning of Christmas where Christ was born? There are many movies and books about the Nativity. When a child comes into foster care he may not know the reason to celebrate Christmas, why we give gifts, or visit family. They may not have had traditions. To see what it is like in foster care, from the eyes of a child, read a post written by a 12-year-old girl who was in foster care twice: https://impressingminds.com/what-is-it-like-to-be-in-foster-care/
How will you make Christmas more meaningful for your foster children?