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Keep Christ in Christmas this year

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All around the world, families and individuals will celebrate Christmas on December 25. Some will celebrate special traditions including putting out milk and cookies for Santa, filling stockings with small gifts and candy and gathering with family members for a special meal.

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For many Christian families, the Christmas celebration includes attending a church service on either Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or both.

The Keep Christ in Christmas movement is at the center of what Christians believe. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's fraternal organization, is part of this movement.

The Knights of Columbus was formed in 1882 with the principles of charity, unity and fraternity. Today, there are 1.8 million members around the world. All are dedicated to keeping Christ in Christmas.

Churches around the world will be lit up for Midnight Masses and other evening services on Christmas Eve. Many families will attend services at a variety of churches.

Keeping Christ in Christmas involves more than just attending church. By putting your family's focus on the birth of Christ instead of the trappings of the season, you teach your values to your children.

Here are some suggestions to help keep Christ in Christmas at your house.

Teach your children why we celebrate Christmas. Your child will learn about Santa, elves, reindeer and snowmen from friends. It's up to you to teach your child about the birth of Christ.

Set up a Nativity scene in your living room. Add smaller Nativity scenes in your kids' rooms. Put an Advent wreath on your dining room table and light the candles each night at dinner. Play Christmas carols at home or in the car.

Buy less and give more. Some families choose to spend less on gifts and donate a portion of their gift-giving budget to provide gifts for those in need.

Bake cookies or cakes for your local soup kitchen. Those who are homeless, unemployed, impoverished and down on their luck will enjoy a special holiday treat. Bake an extra batch of goodies and share.

Choose names from a local giving tree. Even though there are less than two weeks left until Christmas, there are still plenty of children and seniors whose names remain on giving trees. Pick one or two and share your love.

Plan to attend a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service at your church. Even if there's a lot on your calendar, make time to celebrate the reason for the season.

Bake a birthday cake for Jesus and have a party. Kids can relate to celebrating our Savior's birth when the occasion seems festive. Put on your party face and have fun.

Sponsor a child. There are numerous organizations that match children living in poverty with sponsor families. One of the organizations is the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. Your sponsored child will send letters and photos. Your financial assistance will help provide a better future for your sponsored child and their family.

Celebrate the twelve days of Christmas. Although retailers may believe that Christmas ends on Dec. 25, Christmas Day is actually the first day of Christmas. Choose a different person or organization to help each day from Christmas to the Feast of the Epiphany.

Volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen. Although there may be plenty of help during the holidays, there is always a need for more volunteers. Set aside an hour or two each week to work together as a family.

Share the spirit of Christmas and spread good cheer. Go caroling as a family in your neighborhood. Invite friends to share your lunch or dinner. Bring food or cookies to your local police or fire station for those who are working.

Your children will learn from your example. Keeping Christ in Christmas is a great way to live your faith during the holiday season.

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