Christmas is my favorite, but it is really easy to shift the focus of Christmas away from Jesus and towards Santa and material things. The Jesse Tree and The Truth in the Tinsel help a lot, but still my kids talk all through the months of October, November, and December about the presents they want and the presents they think they will get.
We do Santa. We like Santa, and we like all the magic and warm fuzzy feelings that he brings our kids. But still, I want to point Christmas morning back to Jesus. To that end, some of my kids' Christmas morning gifts (from Santa) will be Christian-themed gifts. They will bring us back to the real Reason for Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
40 Positive Affirmations for Christian Kids (especially with anxiety) - These printable affirmation cards will be a blessing to any child who can read, but especially to those who struggle with anxiety. All you need to do to give them as a gift is to print them on cardstock, laminate, and place them in a small box or tie them with a pretty ribbon. To use the affirmations, your child would read one several times a day, whenever she thinks of it, and let the words sink in to her heart. It's a simple but very effective way to boost her mood and center her in God's love.
Little People Nativity - This was our very first Little People purchase over 10 years ago, and we have loved it hard ever since. We have the whole package - all the wise men, their camels, the animals and shepherds, and of course, the crèche and holy family. Every year, we get it out around Thanksgiving, and we set it up on a shelf where the kids can reach it - and they play with it every day. They act out the birth of Jesus. They make up stories about the baby and his family. It is wonderful. When Grace was one or two, she carried baby Jesus around everywhere she went, and I was terrified that she would lose Him. But she didn't because she loved Him so much.
Our nativity set has been so loved that we've had to replace the batteries a couple of times. (It plays Silent Night when you press down on a button on top.) I can't recommend this nativity set highly enough.
Little People Noah's Ark - This was another of our very early Little People purchases. Back then, it came with Noah and Neenah, his wife. Neenah has disappeared along the way, but it still has the ark and lots of animals. Great for many hours of pretend play.
Christian DVDs - As I write this, my kids are watching Descendants on Amazon Prime. I hate the way Descendants glorifies evil and wickedness, even though it has a good ending. I would much rather they watch Christian TV like Veggie Tales Holiday Pack or Veggie Tales Ultimate Christmas Collection or Merry Larry featuring Si Robertson or What's In The Bible? Why Do We Call It Christmas? but they feel they are too old for these classics nowadays. I would love your older kid Christian Christmas movie suggestions if you have them.
Children's Bible - This year, Grace asked for the Minecraft Bible which I think is fantastic. It isn't a full text Bible but rather a highlights version, but it is all graphic novel style. The Jesus Storybook Bible is my favorite Bible for small children as every story in the book references to the coming of Jesus and how he saved the world. I have loved it for many years. Grace really likes the Brave Girls Holy Bible because of the tween girls it features. There's also the God's Mighty Warrior Bible for boys.
Christian t-shirts - When we were on vacation last year, we stumbled upon some Christian t-shirts that Joe, Grace, and Allie loved. (I don't generally wear t-shirts.) They have great messages, and I had never seen them anywhere before. I went looking for something similar and found some really nice ones: strong & courageous, sparkle and shine for Jesus or Jesus is Dino-Mite or let your light shine
Christian Christmas books - Last year, I wrote a post called 101 Best Christmas Books for Kids which I still find amazing. It is so full of so many wonderful books, some secular and some Christian. Some of my favorites from the list are God Gave Us Christmas, The Christmas Cat, The Christmas Fox, The Crippled Lamb, The First Christmas Night, and The Legend of Old Befana.
A beautiful devotional - A good children's devotional reaches kids where they are and leads the way to big juicy conversations between parents and kids. Just like the adult versions, they give kids something to think about and reflect on all day long. Two that I am loving right now are Jesus Always for Kids and Indescribable. See below for a giveaway of Jesus Always, which is the newest in the Jesus Calling for Kids series by Sarah Young. I'm also curious about The Purpose Driven Life Devotional for Kids, though I haven't actually seen it yet.
Christian magazines - Grace is gaga over magazines. She gets four or five different ones, and she faithfully reads them from cover to cover the day they arrive. I just ordered her a new one called Shine Brightly which is for girls in grades 4-8. There's a sister magazine called Sparkle for girls in grades 1-3. There are also these magazines for kids of different ages:
- Clubhouse or Clubhouse Jr. from Focus on the Family – Christian stories, activities, comics and more for kids ages 3-7 and 8-12
- God’s Big WORLD, WORLDkids or WORLDteen – Relevant world news from a Christian perspective for children and teens of all ages.
- The Kids’ Ark – Quarterly Christian magazine full of the truth of God’s love for kids ages 6-12
- Pockets – Stories, news, games and Christian history for kids ages 6-12
Precious Moments Prayer Pal - When Grace was born, Joe's godmother gave her the girl version of this stuffy. It plays a traditional prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" when you squeeze it. There's also a boy version. These are really nice for toddlers and maybe even preschoolers.
Christian board game - There are literally hundreds of Christian and Bible themed board games. Here are just a few of them, in alphabetical order:
- Apples to Apples – Bible Edition - This is the traditional party game except all the cards are Christian-themed. Billy Graham, amazing, Prince of Peace, and Isaac are just a few.
- Archelino - This fun little one person logic game includes Noah, an ark, and six little animals. You have to figure out the position of each animal as well as who is talking to whom. Allie has had it for a couple of years and loves it.
- Bible Mad Gab - This is a neat game where you have to read a clue aloud and guess what famous saying it is supposed to be. Like "Know Ozark" is supposed to be Noah's Ark. I am notoriously terrible at this game, but a lot of people love it.
- Bible Sequence - My kids really enjoy Cat Sequence which is a game of chance and strategy where you have to get four tokens in a row. This Bible version has images from the Bible.
- Bible Snap - This is a card game featuring Bible verses and stories for younger kids, maybe age 4-8 or so. It's very inexpensive too.
- Bible Taboo - Remember this game? You have to get your teammates to guess a word without saying any of the taboo words. It's super fun, and all the words and clues are Christian-themed. My family is getting this for Christmas this year.
- Cranium Bible Edition - If you like traditional Cranium with all its crazy challenges, you will love this Bible edition. Some of the clues are either very hard or very easy, but overall, it's a good game.
- Children’s Bible Trivia - This is an awesome game based on the KJV of the Bible. It's made up of over 1,000 questions about all different parts of the Bible and Christian faith. Comes highly recommended.
- Guesstures: Bible Edition - Guesstures is a game of fast acting charades where you only have a few seconds to act out each word. This one, of course, uses all Biblical characters and words.
- Ideal Bible Trivia - This is a lot like Trivial Pursuit, so probably most appropriate for tweens and up, but it is a fun game. It comes with separate children's and adults questions, so you can tailor the game to the players.
- Outburst Bible Edition - We played Outburst all the time when I was a kid and teen. I loved it. The Bible edition uses categories like "Sons of Abraham" and you have to get the 10 names in that category that appear on the card. It's super fun.
- Scattergories Bible Edition - Scattergories is my all time favorite game. This version has categories that are related to things in the Bible, things like "A name for the Holy Spirit" and "A place that Jesus walked."
Christian jewelry - I wear a cross necklace all the time. I never take it off. Because I wear it, I know my girls would like their own cross necklace like the Lego cross necklace or the butterfly cross necklace, and I think they would wear them consistently. I also found a pretty faith hope love bracelet that I think would be nice for girls.
Worship music - My all time favorite kids worship music is Cedarmont Worship for Kids. We have all four discs which are all popular worship music like Beautiful One and Lord I Lift Your Name on High. Shout Praises Kids is also popular worship music but slightly different. We have had Wee Sing Bible Songs since Grace was two or three, and that was super popular with both of my kids. They know all of the little kids' church songs thanks to that disc.
Prayer journal -If a habit of prayer is something you're trying to cultivate in your older kids, a prayer journal might be just the thing. I like the kids prayer journal or My Doodle Prayer Journal for girls. I didn't find any prayer journals that would be good for boys.
I know my kids would be happy to receive anything on this list - and they are going to get a few things! It can be so hard to bring the greediness of Christmas presents back to Jesus, but if you provide Christmas presents that are faith-based, you can take an important first step.