Birthday plans—finalized! We sat down as a family last week and talked about what each person enjoys doing (or eating) to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, then we picked a few and created a plan. Jesus’ Birthday is the biggest birthday celebration of the year. It should involve as much (and more) attention than my child’s birthday. But selfishly I struggle with all the work it can require. My request at this family meeting was to pick the ideas that would allow me to enjoy the day too and not feel so overworked that I dread it each year. Thankfully my family agreed and I breathed a sigh of relief. This is what we hope the day will look like. Just a guide with a lot of flexibility and whoever comes by to visit can just jump in!
There will be a 6 course feast all day long in honor of Jesus’ Birthday
with an activity planned in between.
1st Course: A Stocking Breakfast.
(First thing in the morning) The stockings are going to be stuffed with a few small busy items and breakfast treats that can be enjoyed whenever the house wakes up. This makes for an easy and quiet morning for all of us. I pick breakfast items that they don’t normally get.
Activity afterwards: Our two favorite things to do — Reading and art (Christmas books, current series we are working on, and coloring in our advent book).
2nd Course: Brunch.
(Around 10 or 11) We all head to the kitchen to make some bacon, sausage and muffins together. Add some berries and this is probably our favorite meal in the world.
Activity afterwards: We will exchange presents with each other. Each person in the family has a gift in front of them for the other family members. We take turns giving not getting. This is our reminder, “We’re giving you a gift to celebrate Jesus’ Birthday and hope that you will use your gift to love Jesus and others.”
Then we are planning to learn a new game (because we just love games!)
3rd Course: Fruit and Bread.
(around 1ish) We will have some kind of pretty Christmas bread and then the kids had the idea of making a rainbow fruit tray. We bought a fruit for each color of the rainbow and I’ll let the kids arrange that how they think best.
Activity afterwards: Watch a Nativity movie
4th Course: Vegetables.
(maybe 3ish) Again we’ll all head to the kitchen to pull out some favorite veggie snacks. Some I will make ahead of time and reheat. The kids picked sugar snap peas and red peppers to make into a shape of a tree. I like to find easy ways to keep them involved.
Activity afterwards: A Nativity or Christmas play directed by my daughter, the want to be drama expert. We will just use whatever we have around the house to retell the Christmas story.
5th Course: Meat and Cheese.
(around 5 or 6) My family wants bacon (who wouldn’t!) and Polish sausage. It’s Christmas and these are not foods we get to eat all the time. Makes it feel really special when we go to the Polish deli with the kids and pick up special sausage and cheese just for the Christmas feast.
Activity afterwards: We love to pull out our instruments and sing together so Christmas caroling will be next and is always a highlight for our family.
Finally the 6th Course: DESSERT.
What we’ve all been waiting for! The cake is in honor of Jesus. We have a birthday song for Jesus that we found many years back. It’s beautiful and perfect to sing with the lights off and all the candles lit around the house. Just like all the birthday parties we’ve thrown or attended, this is the climax of the whole day. The fulfillment of the anticipation. Jesus the light has come! Sweet it is!
The ease of this schedule for me is that I don’t have to get everything hot and ready at one time. Stressful! The fun is in making the courses together. And we didn’t pick complicated items, just favorites. I think as the kids get older I’ll put them in charge of making one of the courses. It’s really not about what is being eaten, it’s about the anticipation. And when your kid picked it – they can’t wait! Anticipation is the best emotion to stir up in our kids as we share throughout the day about the Messiah who came. Finally here!
We’ve been waiting! Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Disclaimer: I worry as I write down my ideas that friends will feel overwhelmed or think that they are celebrating Christmas all wrong. My goal in putting out these ideas is just that, to spur on ideas that will make Jesus beautiful in our celebrations. Are there some traditions that need to be put to rest as Christ followers? I’m sure there are. But I assure you that there are thousands of ways to make Him beautiful in your family. All kids know how to anticipate! use that knowledge to point to Christ’s coming. It’s that wonderful – more than that wonderful.