"Christ from heaven - shake", which means - meet. In anticipation of this very meeting with the Infant Christ, the time of the Christmas Lent passes. This meeting is the main meaning of the holiday. But how often the fuss of preparation, the so-called pre-Christmas chores, the preparation of festive dishes, home decoration, and the acquisition of gifts lose the true meaning of the holiday! Often in the house where they celebrate Christmas, there is everything that is supposed to be on a holiday: a fried goose, a tree, tinsel, gifts, but ... there is no Christ Himself!
Many of us grew up in families in which we did not celebrate Christmas, there are no family traditions and experience in holding a holiday in our own house, with children. Of course, you can go with the children to Christmas trees, there are a lot of them now: both in Sunday schools and in educational centers. There will be Christmas performances, nativity scene, tree, games, carols, gifts. It is great that there is such an opportunity, and it is very necessary to go to such events with children. Nevertheless, it is best to arrange the most unforgettable Christmas holiday at home, among relatives and friends. Impressions remain for life. Warmth and love will warm hearts for many years. At the same time, magnificent feasts and big expenses are not obligatory at the same time, you can, with small means, guided by love and imagination, make Christmas meeting a wonderful holiday for your loved ones, for children and adults. And first of all, we must remember the purpose of our celebration of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ: not just meeting with the Divine Infant, but accepting Him in our hearts and continuing to follow Him.
At I.S. Shmeleva said: "Our Christmas comes from afar. Quiet." So we begin to prepare for the meeting in advance. On November 28, the Christmas fast begins - a difficult and joyful time. It’s difficult, because fasting for the Orthodox Christian is a time of aggravation of the passions that we are struggling with, a lot of trouble ahead, the country is celebrating the New Year, you have to do a lot of things for the holiday: buy or make gifts to friends, relatives, purchase products, decorate the house. And it’s joyful, because the very star of Bethlehem already illuminates our road to Christmas, after which two thousand years ago the magi walked from the East, overcoming many kilometers of the desert.
The first step in preparing for Christmas with your children can be to make a Christmas fasting calendar or a calendar with a moving star of Bethlehem, which will bring us closer to the holiday day after day.
This calendar may be the simplest: draw a road on a large sheet, along the sides of which there will be date numbers, you can highlight the most significant holidays - St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Introduction to the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and at the end of the path place a small Christmas icon (from a postcard or magazine) and a Star. A paper angel moves along the path (you can come up with any complex structure, with us it was simply fastened with a pin) and shows how many days are left before Christmas. In our calendar, virtues are written on one side of the road, and bad qualities on the other. Discussing his behavior with the little son during the day, we glued paper-cut Christmas trees opposite one or another virtue or vice, respectively, but the closer Christmas is, the thicker the forest should become from the side of virtues. And if not, then this is an occasion to reflect and change, while there is still time. Taking such a calendar as an idea, you can invent your own version of how your child is more comfortable and interesting. Starting preparations for Christmas with such a calendar can become one of the traditions in your family that children can pass on to their children. It seems to me that such a calendar will not hurt us adults either.
At Christmas, there is a wonderful tradition - to establish a Christmas nativity scene or even arrange a whole crib performance.
Christmas nativity scene is a reproduction of the Nativity of Christ scene using various arts (sculpture, theater, etc.), except for icon painting. The nativity scene is static (nativity composition) using volumetric figures or figures made of various materials. As well as the Christmas nativity scene is a nativity theater: a Christmas performance by means of a puppet theater, sometimes also with the participation of people actors. Such ideas were distributed mainly in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, as well as in some regions of Russia. A nativity scene in this case is also called a special box (it was also called batleika), in which a puppet show is shown.
Making the easiest static nativity scene with your children is a snap. It all depends on imagination and time. You can take a simple box as a basis. A small Christmas icon, figures from plasticine, paper or any other improvised materials, tinsel for decoration - that’s all you need. Children are really delighted when they get a figurine for a den from “all trash”: just it was just a nylon sock stuffed with a padding polyester, and now it’s already an important sage Cupronickel who brings gold as a gift to the Baby!
You can make a nativity scene once and then install it every year, just like we install an artificial Christmas tree. It’s simple and you don’t have to waste time every time. But it’s much more interesting and useful in pedagogical terms to make a simple nativity scene, but each year, and each time - a little different. Children grow up - the complexity of the crib composition changes. Making the nativity scene together with the children, you can tell them about the Christmas event, about the wise sorcerers, shepherds and angels ...
Do it slowly, when there is time, but be sure to accompany the story.
In the Orthodox tradition, it is not customary to make figures of the Holy Family. For the image of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and the Baby use the icon of the Nativity. But for the manufacture of the remaining characters: an ox and a donkey, which, according to legend, warmed the Baby with their warm breath, shepherds with sheep, three wise men, Angels - you can use any materials at hand depending on your desire and imagination.
Just do not rush to put the icon with the image of the Baby in the nativity scene: let it appear in your nativity scene on Christmas night.
You can play the sketch on holiday and tell about the Nativity of the Savior with dolls of a static den. And you can make a real crib performance using a crib with slots and dolls on sticks.
Making a crate is also easy: you need to take dense large boxes. The script is traditional - "The Death of King Herod" or an adapted children's Christmas story. Good variations of the story about a palm tree, Christmas tree and olive. There are a lot of options. You can compose your good Christmas tale and play it in your den.
This year we will try to make a shadow nativity scene at home - a nativity scene of the "shadow theater". What does Christmas still not go through in our house?
For several years now I have been baking painted Christmas gingerbread roes.
The manufacturing process is laborious. Sugar must first be baked in a pan, then add the necessary products and aromatic spices and spices, cut out in the form of various shapes, and after baking, paint with glaze. But the eyes are afraid, and the hands are doing. Children will be very grateful to you for the presented fairy tale!
How not to recall the tradition of the Christians - walking on Christmas Day to homes with Christmas singing! They usually started earlier with the church chant "Christ is born, glorify" (hence the name). The hosts gave the Christians treats. If you and your children have a musical ear, and even if you do not, include in your home preparation for the holiday rehearsals of Christmas songs ("Christmas, an angel has arrived," "Heaven and earth are now triumphant," "The night is quiet over Palestine," etc. .). You can just put a CD with Christmas songs and sing with your children, and at Christmas time you can safely visit relatives and friends: “And in a non-uniform children's choir, the sacred message about the birth of Christ is so mysterious, pure, so sweet,” (A. Corinthian “Christians”) .
Christmas in Russia has always been a time for works of mercy. We can say: well, what help is there from us, or what kind of charity work can our young children do? But just look around. You can start with the smallest: feeding birds, kitties. It is also a good thing to take care of the small creatures of God. Surely, your house has lonely grandparents - give them gifts. Let the child prepare a gift with his own hands, and on Christmas together congratulate and sing the Christmas carol. After all, even without leaving your home, you can serve your neighbor. Now there are a lot of opportunities for this: for example, here is such a project as “Old Age in Joy”, where they write letters to single people. If you have a sincere desire to help people for the glory of God, then I’m sure the Lord will help and tell you how to do it.
May the works of mercy, small Christmas miracles that we can give to other people, bringing them our warmth and love, and in your family become the main Christmas tradition, passed down from generation to generation. Then we can say that the meeting for which we have been preparing for so long and which we have been waiting for has indeed taken place. "For I hungered, and you gave Me food, thirsted, and you gave Me drink, you were a stranger, and you received Me, you were naked, and you dressed Me, you were sick, and you visited Me, you were in prison, and you came to To me" (Matt. 25: 35-36).
Some families have their own long traditions of preparing and celebrating the Nativity of Christ; in others, these traditions are only emerging. The indescribable atmosphere of the holiday consists of both global and small details: gestures, looks, intonations. It is very important that the Christmas traditions observed in this or that family are not a formality, but that they are filled with a living faith in God, who is love. And then the light of the Christmas star, which shone on a child in childhood, will forever remain in the heart of a small person and will illuminate his life's path.
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Author: Natalia Kulikova, mother of two children, teacher of the Sunday school of the Church of St. vmch Panteleimon Pushkin, Leningrad Region
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Keywords: Christmas preparations, Christmas chores