Tuesday’s Answers: Celebrating Christmas with Newly Adopted Children

I love your answers to this question! Leslee asked:

I’ve been wondering just how to “do” Christmas this year with three newly adopted children from Ethiopia. I would really like to change our “normal” Christmas to focus more on Christ and less on presents. I have been wanting to toss up the question: How does your family celebrate Christmas? How do other large families celebrate Christmas?

This is what you all had to say (full answers can be found in this post):

Rebecca said…I love the book, “The ADVENTure of Christmas” by Lisa Whelchel. Lots of great ideas on how to bring CHRIST back into CHRISTmas.
We are also making a change this year in our holiday traditions. First, the kids will only be getting ONE present and a few goodies in their stockings. Another thing we have done is take all the Santa related Christmas decorations out of our home so that we can focus on the REAL reason for the season. NOT saying santa is bad, we just don’t want TOO much santa and not enough CHRIST.[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

Jillian and Crew said…

We celebrate our Christian heritage with my best friend who is Jewish on Hannakuh to start with…then we attend several events such as Living Christmas Trees and Live Nativities. ..We don’t “do” Santa. My kids know his name/image and history and that some people like to pretend he is real. Santa in our house is known as a figure that represents giving and remembering to care for others.
We have a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve…We read the Bible and talk about the story of His birth and why it is important…We also pick a charity each year and ask for donations to be made there in honor of us instead of gifts for us..some people will do that and some just need to give gifts…I guess it is their love language 🙂

Anonymous Elizabeth said……One thing we are going to do this year is get an advent wreath and do a devotion every Sunday evening. I may get crazy and try to do something every evening, but we’ll see. I’m going to commit to starting small – succcess at an level is important at this point!:)……Each child gets something that represents Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Gold is something they want, Frankincense is something they need, and Myrrh is an experience. Santa brings something as well.…we are definitely cutting back more and more every year, and the kids didn’t even notice last year.Kirstine said……My best idea for Christmas is to have a birthday morning for Jesus like you would do any other birthday in the family. Decorated table – a plate for him, singing – what ever you would do for a person in the household on their birthday. It reminds us that Jesus is alive and real and we celebrate Christmas because he was born.Anonymous Anonymous said……Each of us draws a name on thanksgiving. We make or give away something we have that we know would touch the other person, the kids have come up with, stories, favorite toys, making cookies for each other,etc. we open them on Christmas eve after reading the Christmas story… last year we were very financially strapped and the kids all wanted to do things for families who had touched us so, we made cinnamon rolls together and delivered them… One other thing we did is we made a dessert from different countries to count down to God’s birth. We then prayed for all the children that needed adopted.

Robin said…

Last year, we purchased a dairy animal from Samaritan’s Purse for each of the grown children. This year, we will purchase one as a family to show our children that God tells us to take care of others, even if we don’t know them. I’ve let the older ones (10 and 6) look through the SP catalog as a visual reminder of how we can help others and keep the focus on Christ and not on ourselves.

Kendra the Bow Lady said…

…We also hold our own Advent celebrations with a few close family and friends every Sunday during December…it’s comprised of a reading, Advent candles, Scripture passages/verses, prayer, and always O Come Emmanuel…refreshments/fellowship afterward…… Birthdays at our house are when presents can be a little more emphasized, because that’s a day to celebrate that child. Right now we’re celebrating CHRIST and we don’t want our children to think it’s about them! Our kids are young so they don’t quite understand why they get presents…we explain it in toddler language like this: “Mommy and Daddy are so happy about Jesus and all that he has given us, so we are happy to give you a special gift,” or something to that effect. Our kids understand Christmas as a “party about Jesus!”…

Last year I wrote several posts about Christmas including Advent, Our Favorite Christmas Traditions, and Our Christmas Day which was a comedy of errors. Since I just got back from Seattle last night, I am not going to add a thing to your good words! You all have done a wonderful job writing this post for me and I thank you.

Next week’s Tuesday Topic will be up tonight. Thank you for your great questions and answers.


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Staci
    November 25, 2009

    oh, man sorry I missed this question. great answers. One thing we do as a family is identify either one specific needy family in our area, OR, get the list from a local homeless or battered womens shelter. They always have lists of needed donations. Going shopping for these women and children for basis like shampoo, towels, sheets, diapers, it helps all of us realize what the difference is between needs and wants in the holiday season. It is especially meaningful to have a child shop for an item or toy that they need or want, but it is for another child their age who doesn't have it. This idea can focus on Christ, but it can also be tied into Santa for little ones, becuase sometimes Santa needs "helpers" some years. Santa can even send a letter to you house to the little ones about what he needs them to do for him. It's really fun.

    Also, we always make sure to visit a nursing home with our children. Older folks need visits and love during the holidays, and getting a group together to sing songs with them brings a lot of joy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy