I love Christmas. Some of the best memories of my entire life are connected to this special time of the year. There’s something about celebrating the birth of God’s Son that sets this day apart from all the rest. Even the angel announcing Jesus’ birth said that it would, “ . . . cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10 NIV).
But making great memories is a lot like making money; if you want to have an abundance of either one, you have to be intentional about how you do it. Some memories will be made spontaneously this Christmas, but don’t miss your opportunity to purposely create some unforgettable memories for you and your family.
Below I’ve listed a few ways the Hall family makes Christmas memories on purpose.
1. Break Out The Christmas Music
Music creates atmosphere.
Pick the day when you’re going to break out the Christmas music, and make it the same day every year. By doing so it becomes something that the whole family starts anticipating (especially the kids) as you get closer to the 25th. As the years go by, certain songs will illicit specific memories for everyone. We start playing Christmas music on November 1st. I know, this sounds early for some, but we love this time of the year, so we try to get as much out of it as we can. As 11/1 draws near, the kids start saying, “It’s almost time for Christmas music!”
2. The Tree
Be intentional about what day you’re going to put the tree up. We try to put it up no later than the day before Thanksgiving. To truly make this a memory that your family will never forget, you have to let EVERYONE help decorate the tree – including the kids. It’s true, if you let the kiddo’s help decorate your tree may not win any Home and Garden awards, but the memories you make will be well worth it.
3. Keep the Camera Rolling!
With HD video cameras and video editing software coming standard on almost every smart phone, this is easier than it’s ever been. I try to catch special moments throughout the Christmas season and then put together a 5 minute highlight reel the week between Christmas and New Year’s, while I’m still in the Christmas spirit. I also try to pick one Christmas song as the background music for the video to help set the theme of Christmas that year.
(Tip: Nobody wants to see the back of everyone’s head in your home movies. Catch those “smiling shots” while the kids are opening their gifts, and make sure you get yourself in the video).
4. A Christmas Movie Marathon
Twelve days before Christmas Day, we start a Christmas Movie Marathon made up of our favorite Christmas movies. We watch one movie every night before bed. Tina (my wife) is great about incorporating a special snack that correlates with the movie of the night. For example, she’ll make some “Hot-Hot-Hot-Hot Chocolate” the night we watch “Polar Express.” Or we’ll order a “Hot Pepperoni Pizza” and let the kids make their own Ice Cream Sundae the night we watch “Home Alone.” To help get you started, I’ve listed some of our favorite Christmas movies below:
- The Polar Express
- A Christmas Carol (Disney)
- The Santa Clause
- Jingle All The Way
- Home Alone
- Miracle on 34th Street
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- The Nativity
- The Christmas Story
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
- Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
5. Christmas Morning
3 Things happen before we open gifts on Christmas morning.
- Dad makes breakfast. It’s one of our favorite Christmas traditions. I make stuff that everyone likes, and I make a lot of it.
- We sit down around the Christmas tree, and I read the real Christmas Story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-14).
- We pray. We give thanks for another year, another Christmas, and for the gift of God’s own Son. By doing this, we make sure that we always keep the main thing the main thing.
I’d love to hear about your favorite Christmas traditions in the comments section below!