My in-laws started this for us last year, and we really enjoyed it. It was inspired by the book The Last Straw by Paula McDonald. It is a great way to remember the reason for the Christmas season.
We sang The Nativity from the Children's Songbook. Any song that discusses Jesus in the manger will work well.
Luke 2. Especially versus 7, 12, and 16
- Manger (my Father-in-law built this one, but a shoe box would work as well)
- Baby Jesus (but you don't need the baby until Christmas Day)
Discuss with your family the meaning of Christmas. Why do we celebrate Christmas? Why do we give gifts? How can we give gifts to Jesus? Matthew 25:40 will work well at this point (And the King shall answer and say them, Verily say you, Inasmuch as ye it one of the of these , ye it
Tell your children that this year, you are going to work as a family to make sure the bed for baby Jesus is as soft as it can be. You will do this by doing acts of service.
For each act of service someone does, they get to put a piece of straw in the manger. The goal is by Christmas to have a nice, soft bed for baby Jesus to lay in.
This is a great way to get focus on service during this season. My children really look for ways to serve and think about serving rather than just thinking about presents (though they do plenty of that). I really love this tradition and think you will, too!