This post was most recently updated on December 3rd, 2019
On the second day of Christmas, let’s focus on preparing our homes for the Savior’s birth. Something I really enjoy at Christmas is the chance to clean my home and get it decorated. But not just to look pretty. I also want it to feel like I’ve remembered what Christmas is all about!
Here are some of my ideas for creating a Christ-centered Christmas abode…
Clean all your decorating surfaces
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness”?* Most of the time, my home enjoys a blanket of comfortable clutter. Is that how yours is, too? Well, in December, there’s something that feels so good about cleaning off all of my decorating surfaces and making room for Christmas.
I clear off all my shelves, tables, countertops, desks, benches, fireplace hearth, and windowsills. I store all of my non-Christmas decorations in a dresser in my guest room or in a closet, out of sight. Now I have a clean slate to work with for decorating for Christmas!
*quote from John Wesley
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Make your home smell like Christmas
I don’t know exactly what it smelled like in the stable when Jesus was born. Maybe straw. Maybe something worse. But in my opinion, nothing says “Christmas” like the scent of pine boughs, scented candles or simmering hot apple cider. Bringing in a fresh-cut Christmas tree might be the best way to introduce that heavenly scent into your home. But that might not be an option for you. Try these instead:
- Use a pine-scented room freshener like this one
- Burn candles scented like pine, cinnamon, or cranberry
- Bake homemade cookies
- Simmer hot apple cider on your stovetop
If you’re putting together a ’12 days of Christmas’ for someone else, it would be very easy to gift a can of air freshener, a candle, or a packet of wassail spices for them to simmer. And who wouldn’t love to receive a freshly baked plate of cookies?
Use this free printable for your gift tags!
On the Second Day of Christmas, Introduce the Savior
Now bring the Savior into your home with the decorations you put up. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Display nativities, especially ones that children can interact with
- Use evergreen boughs (real or artificial) to represent everlasting life
- Decorate your Christmas tree with ornaments that depict Jesus or represent his birth (stars, white lights, electric candles, angels, Santa kneeling before the Christ child, or a nativity ornament)
- Put up an advent calendar that helps your children visualize the story of Christmas
Make a Giving Manger
Using a Giving Manger is a wonderful way to focus on preparing for the Savior’s birth and providing the loving service our Savior would want us to give to those around us. All you need is a simple manger, some straws, sticks, or pieces of hay — and family members willing to express their love through service.
The premise is that every time you give service or perform an act of kindness for another, you will place a stick or straw into the manger. Children love this idea, and will often be seen writing notes of encouragement, putting a sibling’s toys away, or helping Mom with dinner. Mom and Dad get to participate as well — by providing a ride to a friend, shoveling a sidewalk, or visiting someone in the hospital. By the time Christmas Day comes, there will be enough “filling” to make the manger comfortable for the Christ Child.
You can place a baby doll swaddled in white cloth on the manger Christmas morning and talk about the service you provided. In a sense, it is the service rendered that is our gift to the baby Jesus.
Making a manger is simple with a few scraps of wood, or even stiff cardboard, as you can see in the pictures above. Or you can purchase a Giving Manger kit, that includes a book as well.
Summary of Second Day of Christmas Ideas
- Clean your home and prepare it for decorating
- Make your home smell good
- Decorate with Christ-centered decorations
- Set up a Giving Manger
- Remember to share or gift some of these ideas with a neighbor or friend!