Christmas Life Skills

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With Christmas being America’s most-celebrated holiday, there are expectations and responsibilities that come along with the festivities. This is a perfect time to teach our teens and children life skills! Things we adults do like budgeting, scheduling, cooking, baking, menu planning, communicating, and showing hospitality can all be passed on to our sons and daughters this season. 


For God so loved the world that He gave…

Christmas starts with an amazing gift, and something just springs up inside us to give to others. We want to give lavishly at Christmas. We can pass on the joy of giving when we plan gift giving together. Deciding what to give grandparents, bake for the neighbors, and ways to bless the needy as a family will instill a generous heart.

For gift ideas that keep on blessing the recipient for years to come, read 11 Gifts that Keep on Giving.

Get kids involved in the whole process of gift giving from making a list, checking it twice, shopping, and wrapping presents. Read more here: Let Kids Help You Shop & Wrap Christmas Presents.


Giving, hospitality, and all the extra food requires money. If we are not careful, we can overspend. Especially for large families, we have to set a limit on how much we spend on each person. Even making handmade gifts costs money to purchase supplies.

Make a Christmas budget and show it to your kids, or if they’re old enough, let them help you make it. Your kids, especially teens, need to see how much Christmas costs. Include everything from the angel costume in the church pageant to the special bread you buy for Uncle Frank’s visit.

Cooking, Baking, & Menu Planning

Cooking and baking is in full force over the holidays. Special family dishes are prepared just as the have been for decades. All these ingredients cost money so think smart by shopping early and freezing things like baking supplies, meat, and frozen food. Let the family know what you are doing and why.

Sit down with the children to plan menus and make the shopping list for food prep. They need to know that you have to keep visitors’ nutritional choices in mind. Sometimes, it means making the traditional dish and a substitute gluten-free or lactose-free dish.

Bake and cook together. Prepare ahead and freeze wherever possible. It’s fun to bake cookies together but practical, too. How many cookies do we need for the family? For giving? Who do we give cookies to? All these questions are things your children will need to answer when they are in charge of Christmas at their own homes.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach our children life skills.


There was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. What about your family inn? Is there room for visitors for dinner or a game night? Are relatives coming for a big dinner or to stay a few days. Hospitality requires everyone in the family to sacrifice a little and pitch in. Don’t make it just you who does all the work.

Instill a love of hospitality by avoiding complaining and talking about all the positives about company coming.

Prepare little special touches like name cards for the table. Kids love to make these! Make a special centerpiece together.

The heart of hospitality is intangible, but you can do things to cultivate it!

Cultivating Traditions & Memories

Like hospitality, making memories is a part of Christmas and a life skill. Family traditions cultivate a sense of security. Plus, they are just plain fun! Children love Christmas traditions and often are sad if you don’t do something that you’ve always done.

Carefully choose meaningful celebrations to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, keeping in mind that you are creating treasured lifetime memories for your children. You can’t do it all so choose carefully and involve your children in that process.

Early in our parenting years, we created a meaningful Christmas morning tradition. You can read all about it: Our Christmas Morning Celebration.


With all the festivities of Christmas, you don’t want to miss a single one.

How can you fit in the church concert, neighborhood Christmas party, ballet recital, family devotions, visit Aunt Sarah in the nursing home, and Christmas caroling with your Bible study?

That’s where scheduling comes in!

Pull out that handy-dandy calendar and fill in everything with pencil. Let the children help you. If the calendar is too full, it’s right there visibly for all to see. Discuss adjustments and make decisions in light of what truly matters.


Throughout the holidays with all the hustle and bustle, there are so many opportunities for hurt feelings and misunderstanding. They are a divinely given opportunity to walk through conflict in a calm, kind way. Often these things are miscommunication. So, brush up on your communication skills and teach them at the same time.

  • Fully engage when you are talking with a family member.
  • Listen to understand—don’t think about your reply while they are talking.
  • Remember to use active listening when things are tense: “I heard you saying….”
  • Communicate love through words, physical affection, and time over the holidays. We can be so busy doing things for our loved ones, we forget to love them.


Healthy adulting is all about balance. Most of us are always working on the balancing act. Be honest and talk to the kids about it.

There is a balance between family and friends, church and home, outreach, and down time. It’s not easy.

Remember that families that eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep are healthier, happier, and easier to be around. So don’t forget the basics. And pass them on to your children.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach our children life skills.

Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!


Meredith Curtis


Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Celebrate Thanksgiving, Travel God’s World Geography, Travel God’s World Cookbook,  and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at Read her blogs at and listen to her at Finish Well Podcast.


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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).