One morning in November 2008 I was driving alone in the car. I don’t remember the date but I do know that it was a Monday because there was a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD still playing from our ride home from Church the previous day. My mind wandered to the subject of Christmas (and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet) and the fact that my two boys, then ages 5 and 3, talked endlessly of all the things they wanted from Santa. For my boys I wanted Christmas to be more than getting. I wanted it to be about traditions, giving, and most importantly, I wanted it to be about Christ. Of course we did the traditional Luke Chapter 2 reading on Christmas Eve but it always seemed to be a side note to the impending arrival of Santa Claus.
In my moment of quiet pondering the Mormon Tabernacle Choir began singing “This is the Christ”. In that instant I knew that I had my answer--I needed to create a Christ centered Christmas. I knew we needed a tradition that would focus on the life Christ throughout the whole month. A simple yet meaningful daily reminder of why we celebrate this holiday.
Because my kids were young, I knew it had to be visual, tangible, and interesting. I can honestly say inspiration came and my mind was opened to so many new thoughts and ideas of how this could be done. In the end I decided we would study the life of the Savior beginning with his birth and ending with His appearances to his disciples after His resurrection. Each day would be a different event, story, parable or teaching from his life. But how to make it appealing to the boys? Then came the idea to make an ornament for them to open each night that represented our reading. After spending many hours at multiple different craft stores I found enough supplies to create a set of ornaments.
Starting December 1st of 2008, I presented the new tradition to the boys and we read about the birth of Christ and hung our first ornament. It was a hit with the kids. During that month (and every December since) they won’t let us forget about it. They argue over whose turn it is to open the ornament, even though they know which one it will be. They can point out each ornament on our tree and retell the story it represents.
For us it was the perfect solution because it brought Christ to the forefront of our Christmas yet still allowed the boys to enjoy other aspects of the holiday. Since 2008 I’ve shared the idea with many friends and family who have loved the idea and wanted to implement it in their families. The response I got was always the same, that it sounded like a lot of work and money to find all the materials to make the ornaments. And I agreed! With some encouragement from my husband and a few others, I decided to begin The 25 Days of Christ and to share this meaningful tradition with others. I spent an entire year searching stores and websites finding all the materials and pieces to create an ornament kit for others. I’ve compiled all the scripture readings, pictures, and videos available from various sources into a book and website as an easy reference and guide.
Since then we've heard from many families from many Christian denominations who, like us, want Christmas to be centered on Jesus Christ. We have since created a non-denominational version of the kit specifically for those families that only references the New Testament.
It is my hope that other families regardless of religious beliefs, will find this Christmas season a little more centered on our Savior Jesus Christ and begin a meaningful new tradition in their homes.
Our original 25 Days of Christ ornament set from 2008