What is Christmas like in a Charlotte Mason home? How can we focus on Christ and not the excess? Amy and Leah address these questions in this episode of the Thinking Love Podcast.
"...it takes the presence of children to help us realize the idea of the Eternal Child. The Dayspring is with the children, and we think their thoughts and are glad in their joy; and every mother knows out of her own heart's fullness what the birth at Bethlehem means." Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children
Traditions take a while to get cemented in when our children our little, but they help to make the season special and memorable. For Amy's family, special breakfasts and staying home without traveling are little things that can make a big impact. In Leah's family, a board game is presented as a gift on Christmas Eve, and everyone plays it before bed. The game is enjoyed throughout the year, and the board game collection grows.
A lot of parents wrestle with how to keep the traditions from going overboard, and how to keep the focus on Christ at Christmas. Leah and Amy both use the four gifts rule: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. Amy combines gifts for her children to even further decrease the influx of gifts. Leah's family views Santa Claus as a fairy tale- not completely ignoring him, but acknowledging that he's pretend.
Keeping Christ in Christmas involves serving others, being the hands and feet of Jesus. Amy's church helps support the local food bank, and posts what is needed around the holidays. She involves her children in picking out the items to donate.
There are so many great Advent resources available that it's easy to get overwhelmed. Leah is using A Gentle Advent Jesse Tree for her oldest child, and The Peaceful Press Christmas Guide for her younger two children. Amy is using the first 24 stories in the Jesus Storybook Bible, and has a Christina Rosetti Christmas Poetry book. There is a free guide to Advent using the Jesus Storybook Bible which we've linked to in the show notes below.
We get focused on preparing our children's hearts for Advent, and often forget to prepare our own hearts. But, if we don't have the habit of finding space in the busyness of life to read the Bible and spend time in prayer, it's going to be even more difficult during the Christmas season. Amy focuses on the process of developing these habits throughout the year instead of just at Advent.
A Charlotte Mason style Christmas means that we don't need to try to do all the things. We can present a feast for our children, put the ideas in front of them, and not feel the need to make the connections for them. We don't have to make Christmas meaningful for our children because it is already meaningful.
The Savior of the World on Ambleside Online
Charlotte Mason's Home Education Six Volume Set (Don't buy a bootlegged copy!)