Chelsea asked this question about how other Mormon families celebrate Christmas when it falls on a Sunday…and several Mormon women responded. What does your family do when Christmas falls on a Sunday? Please respond in the comments below. (Since Sunday is the Sabbath for Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), this can sometimes affect how Mormon families celebrate Christmas.)
I have a question about Sunday Christmas. How do other LDS families do Christmas on Sunday with church and everything? We have 9am church that day and I have no idea to keep the spirit of Christmas and church with all the excitement of Santa coming. Do you have Santa come a day early [if you do Santa] and do it on Christmas Eve? Do you open presents after church or that night? I am lost this is my first Sunday Christmas with little kids.
Mormon women respond:
Jocelyn: We have always opened our gifts at midnight Christmas Eve…This has nothing to do with when Christmas day falls…It’s just our family tradition dating back to my ancestors in England…so it’s not really a problem. Being tired in church the next day is sort of though!
Amanda D: It seems to me that in the wards I have been in have only held sacrament meeting when Christmas has fallen on a Sunday.
When my kids were smaller, we did some presents before church and some presents afterwards. I made sure the kids were all bathed the day before and that church clothes were ready.
You may want to consider waking the kids up a little bit early so that you have time for breakfast and a few presents. Having 9:00am church makes it challenging, but you will find what works for you.
Emily: Good question, Chelsea! I have some of the same questions since I have kids the ages of 8, 5, and 2, with church also at 9:00! I don’t yet know if they’re going to switch the time or make church shorter, but we’ll work with whatever.
Personally, I LOVE Christmas on Sunday; I think it’s wonderful to be able to worship in a church on Christmas (or also Christmas Eve). I admire how other religions do that, but completely understand why ours sticks to its normal schedule (we’re already pretty booked the entire month!)!!
I’m actually not sure what we’ll do this year, but I’m sure we’ll try and follow our family’s typical traditions: Open a present Christmas Eve, then do our stockings Christmas morning. I’m hoping to delay the kids for their other presents until after church, when I’d also like to have a postponed Christmas breakfast!
I just had an idea, though, perhaps we can put out one present per child Christmas morning and maybe trick them into believing that’s all their is! Maybe that will tide them over, then we can surprise them with more gifts after church? We’ll see…
As for Santa, that last option is possible because we’re in the minority who don’t really “do” Santa like everyone else. Sure, I have some Santas at our house, we have some Santa books, we talk about him as a tradition, and teach the history of the guy (and practice other cultural traditions — like stockings, as mentioned), but we don’t teach Santa as a real guy who comes down the chimney and has flying reindeer. This is nice because it makes it a little easier for us to focus on Christ for the month. The thing that this doesn’t do, though, is decrease the whole excitement of presents — it doesn’t seem to matter who they come from, so I’m not sure how to contain the excitement/irreverence of the day — particularly because it’s on a Sunday. I guess I don’t feel too terrible, though, that Sunday will be such an exciting day because we can still do some Christ-related, Sunday appropriate activities after the newness of everything wears off — and I think you can do that whether your “do” Santa or not. Good luck! Post if you think of more ideas!
Liz C: We’re likely a bit odd, but: we don’t have Santa. Never have, actually.
This year, with Christmas morning on a Sunday, we’re planning to get up, put on some great uplifting music, get dressed, have a pleasant breakfast, and trot off to church. We’ll save presents for after services.
Also, our ward will have a Christmas Eve Eve (Friday 23rd) devotional, which I’ve very excited about! I love having the focus of Christmas be on Christ. We have a great time as a family, so I know our kids aren’t feeling left out of any of the secular fun.
Erin: My family has a great Christmas party every year. We have a wonderful meal and then a program where we act out the nativity. The children in the family are all given parts and have costumes. We have Christ centered hymns mingled throughout the program. It is fun but also reminds us of the beautiful night when Christ was born. We do exchange gifts but the focus is on the Savior.
Cheryl: There really is no “right” way to do Christmas on a Sunday. Every family will be different, and it’s quite possible the choice you make will differ from others –even if the same implication is stressed.
Our Sacrament Meeting is at 9AM, and I’m guessing we will do our best to convince the kids to sleep in! But with that said, we are not opposed to opening gifts before Church; depending on how many they get (this year is going to be very, very, very simple for financial reasons. Wish I could say it was for the best service-oriented reasons, but than I would be lying. Ha!).
Our kids already know Christ was born in April and that we celebrate His Birth in December. We do all the Christ-centered stuff on Christmas Eve (Nativity, Advent, Service, etc.) and so ripping away the fun of Christmas on Christmas morning just because we have Church doesn’t feel good to me (for us). But! We will definitely not skip Church! The choir always performs (I accompany them), and it’s such a special, beautiful service. My favorite of the year! Even if it doesn’t land on Sunday. And yes, it’s usually just Sacrament Meeting –and I see that as a respectful gesture by the Church to help families spend more time together –which, to us, is usually opening gifts, eating crazy yummy food, and staying in our pajamas all day (except, obviously, this year!).
Whatever you decide to do with your family, just know a few things:
1. It doesn’t have to automatically become a tradition. Since it only happens every 7 (?) years (Christmas on Sunday), you can change up your decisions based on where your family is (age-wise, need-wise) and on the time Church starts.
2. Whatever you decide will be right. Because you are the one who is entitled to revelation for your family.
britt: We don’t have church until 1…so we have it easy. That said, our traditions include only stockings before breakfast, so if church was at 9am we’d stop there.
I love having Christmas on Sunday. I wish we had a christmas service anyway.
Rebecca: I love when Christmas falls on on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, because I feel it adds to the reverence toward Christ. I enjoy this, because my family does the traditional belief in Santa, and I feel that this can detract from our Savior. But our family has tried and I believe succeeded to have him be our main focus. Christmas Eve is my favorite because that is the night that is just for my small family. We do not go visit other family or friends, we stay home and make cookies for Santa then go into our room that is beautifully lit and read from Luke about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. The feeling in our home is full of love and excitement for each other, our Savior and for the fun to come the next day. And I love how we work all month to build this feeling, by playing Christmas songs, sharing gifts with neighbors, and attending church Christmas celebrations. The whole month of December is one we strive to devote ourselves to Christ, by showing of his endless love towards others.
Chocolate on my Cranium: Coming from a Latin heritage and combining that with my husband’s traditional pioneer ancestry makes for some interesting Christmas celebrations at our house.
We don’t do Santa either. Our children all receive three small gifts . . . . on Jan 6th Three Kings Day (traditional Latin holiday). But they do receive gifts on Christmas as well. We try to make them meaningful. For instance our 4 younger daughters will each be getting a painting of a woman in the bible by Elspeth Young (signed by her too!). The three older daughters who already have paintings by Elspeth will be receiving the book “Faith of Our Pioneer Fathers” written by their great-great grandfather Bryant S. Hinckley.
And, of course, grandparents like to spoil them all with goodies.
As for Christmas on Sunday, we too have 9am church. So we just asked our children what they want to do about the gift opening. Every single one (except for the 4 year old) wants to wait until after church before opening any gifts. Yay!