I’m one of those sentimental types of moms. The kind who loves to take a ton of pictures, surprise her kiddos as often as possible, and celebrate holidays in an over-the-top kind of way. In fact, Christmas is a pretty big deal around our house. Traditions, too. There’s just something super special about establishing memorable family moments and events each and every year—something your family can participate in together and look forward to one holiday season after another.

Well, that is, until your children decide the family tradition you schemed up long ago is not only boring, but also slightly dumb and downright annoying. Ugh.

Allow me to explain.

When I was a girl (many, many Christmases ago), I knew of a number of families in which each member received a new pair of pajamas every Christmas Eve. They’d open up their jammies as a family, only to put them on just prior to turning in for the night. I loved everything about that idea so much so that, when I became a mom, it was the first custom I established, and the one ritual I loved shopping for year after year. It was the tradition I most looked forward to come Christmas Eve.

And my boys enjoyed it for a while, too.

But they grew. They grew and they grew. They reached a point where that wrapped box of PJ’s on Christmas Eve was no longer anticipated but avoided. A tradition they would groan at the mere mention of. The one they would roll their eyes at and begrudgingly complete only upon my request.

It appears not all traditions are a hit, nor will they be carried on in generations to come. But you know what I’ve realized? Sometimes our kiddos know best. Sometimes we can learn more from our boys than they can learn from us. Indeed, sometimes our children are the ones doing the teaching on this journey we’re walking together. Because even though my PJ custom resonated with me, my sons preferred the more meaningful Christ-centered traditions instead.

  • Packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
  • Delivering home-made care packages to our city’s homeless.
  • Purchasing and donating a toy for Toys for Tots.
  • The selection of gifts from the Samaritan’s Purse catalog to bless those in need.
  • Donating their time to local shelters.

It is the act of giving they prefer. It’s blessing others year after year that resonates with them the most. Now, don’t get me wrong: my kids have a wish list a mile long. But when it comes to Christmas traditions, they’d rather love on others and commit acts deeply rooted in Christ above all else.

The best traditions are ones where we get to glorify Christ…
together, as a family. Where we have the opportunity to bless others. Where we choose to give rather than receive.

This year, those Christmas jammies will appear under the tree once again. Undoubtedly, eyes will roll, just as sighing will take place.  But I won’t take offense, nor will I delve into my annual lecture on the act of being grateful. Not anymore. Not when their desire is to exemplify the true spirit of Christ and the celebration of our risen King’s birth. Not when they’re opting to give rather than receive.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17