Advent First- Santa Second! Keeping Christ in Christmas!

Christmas expectations in North America vs. Christian expectations:

How can we possibly convince our children that Christmas is about the birth of Christ and not Santa, gifts and stressed-out parents?

Our son has come to expect the Christmas tree to make an appearance with the first snowflake to hit the pavement. He associates winter and snow with Santa and gifts. When we had the first snowfall, on Sunday, he immediately asked if we could put up the Christmas tree when we returned home from church.

In North America, this is the logical correlation that kids make. After all, the Christmas decorations come up at the stroke of midnight on October 31st, making November and December a mad rush to Christmas Eve and the opening of the gifts.

Re-focusing on Advent

In a wholehearted effort to reclaim Advent, I came up with a rebellious plan a few years ago. The Nativity Scene came out before the Christmas tree!


On the first day of the Coptic fast ( 45 days preceding the Orthodox Christmas which is celebrated on January 7th) , I ceremoniously set up all of our Nativity scenes ( I have quite a few) and explain to our son that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. It is my way of “keeping Christ in Christmas”.

The Christmas tree makes its appearance a week after. The delay serves to reinforce the notion that the tree and the gifts are secondary to the birth of Christ.


After all,

That is what Christmas is all about!

Blessed Coptic Fast to all ( a few days early) and may your Christmas season be full of Christ!

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7 Comments on “Advent First- Santa Second! Keeping Christ in Christmas!

  1. Some of my friends also do a “Jesse tree” before they decorate a Christmas tree and you could adapt that idea to reflect the increased length of time of the St. Philip’s Fast.

  2. My mother in law on a visit from Egypt noticed how people were putting up Christmas trees and all the lights, and in her simplicity she remarked, “They are doing this because of the burning bush.” So now, when we put up our tree, we sing the Kiahk hymn “The Burning Bush” and thus directly connect the Christmas tree to the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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