Many years ago, I found myself embarrassed by my children when, upon opening a generous Christmas gift, they innocently declared to their great grandparents, “We already have this!” Kids say the darndest things and all that, but seriously? Not even a thank you?
The next Christmas wasn’t much better. That time around, it was food. “Ew!” they exclaimed, staring in disgust at the green beans some relative had lovingly prepared. Even the baby was in on this antic.
The year after this was my first year doing what I call DecemberTerm. In those days, there weren’t many school lessons anyway (I only had one student), so all we did was Advent and Christmas. It was all Christmas all the time — Bible reading, singing Christmas songs, reading Christmas poetry, baking — you name it, we did it and that was all we did. No regular school stuff at all.
I miss those days, but times change as children grow up.
The Lord had mercy on me and put it in my head to teach manners as part of our DecemberTerm Circle Time that year. It was 2010 and I feel so old saying so.
Manners lessons were an amazing game changer that I had completely forgotten about until I was rummaging through old files. Turns out, kids don’t actually know what they are supposed to do. They may be vaguely aware that Mom is standing by, horrified by what they just said or did, but often they aren’t sure why. I think I expected my children to pick up good manners along the way when what they really needed was a bit of direct teaching.
DecemberTerm was three weeks long that year and so we learned one manner per week. Each day, I repeated the manner, and then we had a little talk about it using a Bible verse and some questions I had prepared in advance.
I can’t tell you how much this improved our Christmas season! Not only did my children finally know how I expected them to act, and not only were they quick to become sweet and considerate toward others, but we had some wonderful talks about the meaning of Christmas, Christian love, and more.
The next year, I thought of a couple new manners to teach, plus repeated and old one. This brought me to five Christmas manners (hence the title of this post).
It’s funny; none of my children remember these lessons. But to this day I hear the older ones advising the younger ones on how to behave, and it’s all taken from this script I wrote almost ten years ago.
I thought some of you might enjoy doing something similar with your children and so I typed up my notes from what we did before and they’re ready for you to download and use. This is a five page PDF. On each page there is one manner and five sets of discussion notes (with Scripture readings). Just fill out this form:
A few tips on using this tool:
- Like anything, don’t be a slave to the curriculum. You don’t have to teach all five manners.
- I taught manners daily and so there are five discussion notes per manner — one for each weekday. If you only want to discuss a manner three times, simply choose your favorite discussions and use those — they are mostly in no particular order!
- Reword the discussions to best fit your own children.
- You don’t need to use every question on every child.
Whether your children have embarrassed you … or not (lucky you!) … these lessons might be just what you need to do a little coaching before the big day arrives.
Merry Christmas, friends! ♥
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