Teaching Kids the Meaning of Christmas
A holiday that is etched into the fabric of our lives, Christmas is a globally recognized day of celebration, relaxation, and appreciation for our loved ones that takes place every year on the 25th of December. But how exactly did Christmas come to be? And why do we celebrate it to begin with? These are fascinating questions with equally fascinating answers, and hopefully, by the end, you will come to understand the many meanings behind celebrating Christmas and what this important year-end holiday, and special time of cheer, means to you.
A Brief History of Christmas
Many of you may already know Christmas as the day when you wake up at 7 a.m. and run to where the Christmas tree is so you can find the presents you were expecting under it. Inside of some of those presents may be something that you specifically wanted, while some presents may be wonderful surprises you didn’t even know you wanted!
However, it may come as a bigger surprise to find out that Christmas wasn’t always celebrated in the world the way we do now. After all, Christmas is a tradition that spans over 2000 years, so there are bound to be some changes to its practice throughout history.
Christmas has its roots in the times of the ancient Roman Republic, where the Roman people would celebrate a feast dedicated to the coming of the winter solstice falling on December 25th. Centuries later, the Christian Church would adopt this date as the feast day of the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, the word “Christmas” actually comes from a Greco-Latin combination meaning “Christ’s Mass”.
The birth of Christ is commemorated during Christmastime through the Nativity scene, which displays Jesus as a baby in the manger with his parents, Mary and Joseph, who are typically accompanied by the three wise kings and a few shepherds and lambs who followed the Star of Bethlehem to witness the birth of the prophetic Messiah.
The Meaning of Celebrating Christmas
Although Christmas began as a Christian holiday, it quickly rose in popularity to become a tradition throughout the Western world and beyond. Over time, the holiday even had its own iconic figures, most notably Santa Claus (and his magic elves and flying reindeer!) who delivers presents to children all over the world on this special day, adapted into its tradition, and even countries without a strong Christian presence, like Japan, celebrate and recognize Christmas too! As a public holiday in America, kids and families throughout the U.S. celebrate Christmas in their own unique way, many even follow a tradition of opening presents the night before on Christmas Eve!
Today, children of all kinds of religious and ethnic backgrounds can celebrate and get into the Christmas spirit in so many fun ways that make this holiday so memorable. Let’s take a look at a few that you can do to help spread your own unique Christmas cheer this year!
Getting into the Christmas Spirit:
Sing a song to the tune of a Christmas Carol – “Silent Night”, “Jingle Bells”, “O Christmas Tree”, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and so many others, there is a wide selection of wonderful Christmas-themed music to choose from that you can’t have just one favorite to listen to!
Visit your local Nativity scene – You can also look up different kinds of depictions of the Nativity from all over the world online which are absolutely stunning. To celebrate the Nativity further, Gospel passages from the Bible can be read detailing the birth of Jesus.
Decorate the Christmas tree – A Christmas tree complete with lights, ribbons, ornaments, and the star on top is at the heart of the modern holiday spirit. Help decorate yours at home and look up some of the huge Christmas trees throughout the world like the one at Rockefeller Center, New York.
Create your own holiday reef – Christmas reefs can be made out of construction paper in the same way you make hand-turkeys for Thanksgiving. You can get totally creative here by adding your touch of shapes, strings, sparkles, and other things you can think of that would add to the spirit of Christmas at home.
Write a letter to Santa – What do you want to ask Santa for Christmas this year? Be sure to include why that gift will be important and the good things you did throughout the year to earn your Christmas presents.
But The Best Way to Celebrate Christmas?
As you can see, there are so many ways that you can immerse yourself in holiday cheer. From the birth of Jesus, to the presents that Santa delivers, and the songs caroling through the streets – there is no one right method to celebrate this amazing holiday and year-end time. Whatever you do this Christmas, the most important thing is that you celebrate it the way you want to with the people that matter most in your life while letting them know that they’re appreciated. After all, that’s what the true meaning of the Christmas spirit is all about!