Connect with your Kids at Christmas: Christmas Questions

I started this family ritual in an effort to keep my busy young kids at the dinner table for more than a one minute overlap, to practice  the art of dinner conversation! It’s also a fun thing to do at bed-time or just riding around in the car. You could just have these questions in the back of your mind to pull out at random, or you could write them down on scraps of wrapping paper, and stick them in a pretty Christmas box set on the table.  Let the kids take turns drawing a question out each night. Not only does it add to the anticipation of Christmas, but it gives you an opportunity to practice LISTENING, for gaining insight into the people that you love, for sharing a favorite memory, for imagining together, for learning something new about someone old! It provides an opportunity for true CONNECTION. (You could also use this idea for a holiday party or family gathering.)

  • What is your favorite Christmas Song? This is a hard one for me to answer, since I know and love them all! But the simple hymn, “In the Bleak Midwinter” by English poet Christina Rosetti (1872) not only has that elusive image of white Christmas (elusive for a Texas gal), “Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow“, but the whole poem is just beautiful – “Our God, heav’n cannot hold him” juxtaposed with the “stable that would suffice”, and the throngs of angels may have gathered there, but “only his mother in her maiden bliss worshipped the beloved with a kiss.” Yet my favorite stanza is the last, a verse that always gets to me in combination with its lovely melody: “What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a wiseman, I would do my part. Yet what I can I give him, give my heart.”  Isn’t that all God asks of us? In our work, in our parenting, in our relationships? It is both a relief and a …to sing these convicting words. Put yourself in this beautiful English cathedral on Christmas Eve with the children’s chorus and candles – WOW, it is beautiful, and will be a new “go-to” for me when I need to feel some Christmas “peace” this season: watch the video
  • What is your favorite Christmas Memory? I love to tell my children the magical story of the Christmas Eve when I was about 7 years old that I went to bed in my old bed, and awoke in a beautiful canopy bed! Santa had worked his magic while I slept! My parents caught my sleepy-eyed discovery on video, and it’s so fun to watch. My children love to hear about how Santa must have snuck me into my brother Jake’s bed with him while I was fast asleep, and then returned me to my new bed.
  • What is your favorite Christmas gift you ever received/ gave? I thought it was pretty clever of me to give my brother a big roll of bubble wrap one year as a kid – he loved it! The best gift I’ve ever received….the trip to Hawaii dustin is giving me this year. (Just kidding!) Last year Dustin did give me such a thoughtful gift – a paper airplane indicating that he would watch the kids one weekend so I could fly to visit my good friend Melanie in Tennessee. It had been a tough year, and I was really needing a break and to see her. This gift really made me tear up because it indicated how much he knew and noticed what I needed. (I have yet to make the time for the trip, but I still plan to!)
  • What is your favorite Christmas book? – My new favorite Christmas book to read with the children is “Unwrapping the Christmas Creche” by Lisa Flinn and Barbara Younger. It makes setting up your family nativity a magical event! GareBear read it yesterday to MJ’s class as the “Mystery Reader”! Read about more of my favorite Christmas books for children that we keep in our Christmas library:  see my list of 15 great readsCover of: Unwrapping the Christmas Creche by Lisa Flinn, Barbara Younger
  • What is your favorite Christmas ornament on the tree? My Gammy, my mom’s mother gave me a lovely silver angel ornament when I was 16, the last Christmas before she passed away less than a month later. I always think of her, one of my angels, when I put it on the tree. She was so dear to me, and I’ll always miss her.
  • What is your favorite Christmas Tradition? I love just being with our little family on Christmas Eve at bed-time by the tree, after hanging the stockings and setting out the cookies and carrots, to read “The Night Before Christmas“, then playing “Santa” with Dustin late at night. I’m thinking a nice new tradition would be a Christmas Candlelight slow dance to Diana Krall’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – it’s like wrapping yourself in a rich velvet blanket by a fire with spiked egg nog! Listen and enjoy…
  • What is your favorite Christmas Movie? My favorite one to watch with the family is a lovely, relaxing British film called “The Snowman” based on the book by Raymond Briggs. It has no words, but simple animation set to beautiful music by the London Symphony. And it helps to put us in a magical snowy land even if it’s 80 degrees outside! The one I like to watch after the kids are in bed while I’m wrapping gifts is “Love Actually” – such a feel-good movie! My favorite scene? Tie between Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister dancing to “Jump” (dance along to the video), and the proposal scene in…what country is that? watch the scene – I promise it will put a big smile on your face. Dustin and I still use the line, “just in cases” from it.
  • If you could be any character or animal in the Nativity story, who would you be? I’ve been asking the children at school this question, and it’s fun to hear their answers – a couple of “unicorns” mixed in with the other animals and shepherds and angels. Ellie would be a shepherdess out there under the stars, and MJ says he would be the baby Jesus, of course.
  • If you could have any of the 12 days of Christmas gifts, which ones would you choose? Ellie would like the 5 golden rings so she can color them, and MJ would like the 4 calling birds. I think it would be pretty thrilling to have the 12 drummers drumming show up on the doorstep as long as it wasn’t “rest time”!
  • If you could celebrate Christmas any where around the world, where would you want to go? We’ve been watching the Rick Steves’ European Christmas special which plays this time of year on PBS, and it really makes me want to experience a magical Christmas in several places – Paris where you can go ice skating on the Eiffel Tower, Salzburg where “Silent Night” originated under the towering fortress, and the Black Forest of Germany where you can take a sleigh ride through the snow to a magical castle.
  • Have you ever had a Christmas away from home? At a ski villa in the Alps? On the Beach in Hawaii? In busy, festive Times Square? At someone else’s home? Talking about the previous question reminded me that I have actually never spent a Christmas Eve-Day away from home in Dallas. I’d be up for an adventure sometime, but I am always mindful this time of year of how lucky I am to have a warm and loving “home for the holidays”. Not to spend Christmas in a hospital like Dustin’s dying patients, not to spend it separated from family in Afghanistan, not to spend it out on the streets or in a stable with no where else to go…
  • And that brings us around to a great question that focuses on the “giving” part of Christmas. What is your favorite way to spread love and joy at Christmas? Just by asking this question, by bringing it into conversation with your children, you are teaching them that it is something your family values.

Comments

  1. Liza Lake says:

    Thanks Lowry! Great idea and great questions!