December is a great time to include a special seasonal sweet
in the lunchbox. Many of us do a little extra baking for the
holidays and can include cookies baked from old family recipes.
Others of us do not have big baking traditions and must rely
on others to help supply our family sweets. You can start
a new lunchbox tradition to be handed down through generations—The
Decadent December Lunchbox!
Chocolate dipped cookies. Purchase your
child’s favorite ready-made cookies. Melt white or dark
chocolate candy coating according to package directions. Dip
cookies into the chocolate about two thirds of the way up
the cookie. Hold for a moment and let excess drip back into
the pot. Place on waxed paper to set. Pretzels also work well
for this. If you are energetic, you can make your own cookies
to dip. But if time is a factor, store bought cookies work
Marshmallow snowmen. Attach two large marshmallows
together with a pretzel stick. Attach a smaller marshmallow
on top for the head. Use a toothpick dipped in food color
to make a face and buttons. Use additional pretzels for arms
and legs. Be creative and add a hat made from gumdrops or
licorice. Colored icing could also be used to decorate your
snowman but that increases your preparation time as well as
your clean up time!
Christmas snack cakes. Rather than the usual
oatmeal pies or peanut butter filled cookies, purchase a box
of festive snack cakes for the holidays. They come in white
and dark chocolate as well as tree, wreath, and other shapes.
Reindeer candy canes.
In just a few minutes a candy cane can be transformed into
a smiling Rudolph. With a small red pompom for his nose, two
pieces of something black for his eyes, some pipe cleaner
antlers, Rudolph the red-nosed candy cane is sure to please
Christmas in the Lunchbox
By Linda J. Gilden
Before first report cards of the year are issued, commercial establishments
begin to display lighted trees, greenery, Santa Claus, and tinsel. Some
people feel the need to skip straight from summer to Christmas to stay
ahead of the stores. You find yourself competing with the glitz of retailers
as you try to help your children focus on what is really important during
the month of December. I suppose if we were to take a survey of all the
children in one class at school, we would receive varied answers about
what Christmas really is—Jesus’ birthday, Santa Claus, presents,
trees, lights, and the list would probably go on. But whatever the answer,
a child’s response to that question will certainly come from the
way his or her family celebrates the holidays.
Many families gather around the table each week to celebrate Advent,
anticipating the coming of the birth of the Savior. But whether or not
your family practices that tradition, many more opportunities exist to
help our children prepare their hearts to worship the babe in the manger.
We can even use the lunchbox to help our children prepare for a worshipful
Christmas season. If you are short on time and your creativity is already
maxed out for the season, try using a few of the ideas in this section
to make your child’s holiday lunchbox more festive.
Deck the Lunchbox
Many stickers, whistles, pencils, candy, and other novelties are available
during the month of December. Look for quick ways to decorate your notes,
stickers to stick on sandwich bags, and novelties to direct your child’s
attention to the true meaning of the season.
Buy a pack of Christmas napkins to include each day. Better yet, look
in the drawer for leftover napkins from last year’s parties. Most
likely you will never have another occasion to use them. Use them to color
your child’s day.
Sandwich bag companies have also gotten into the Christmas spirit and
you can now buy sandwich bags with preprinted holiday motifs. Keep a box
on hand and you will not have to do anything additional to the lunch to
give it a festive feel.
Attach a “countdown to the holidays” calendar to the top
of the lunchbox. That will help your child realize that progress is being
made toward the days of vacation. Some local newspapers have a “Countdown
‘til Christmas” box. You could simply cut that out each morning
and tape it to the inside top of the box. Or create your own countdown
calendar inside the lid. Include a small calendar where your child can
mark off the days with a pencil. Or create the calendar with individual
squares of paper for each day and he can remove the day’s block
as it passes.
If you want to create a lunchbox surprise that the whole lunch bunch
will be talking about, decorate the inside of the lunchbox for the holidays.
A little leftover garland from a home project and a few red bows will
make the lunch festive and bring a smile to your child’s face. Don’t
go over board. Just a little greenery (artificial, of course) around the
perimeter of the box will work. Or twist greenery or a green pipe cleaner
into a small circle, add a bow and you will have a “wreath”
to secure to the inside of the box!
A Lunchbox Kid says . . .
One Christmas all I asked for was my own phone. When I told my mom
what I wanted she didn’t say much so I wasn’t even sure
if she heard me. It didn’t look good for getting my wish! In my
lunchbox one day I got a note from Mom. It said:
Have a great day. Won’t be long ‘til Christmas.
PS Hint 2354
I didn’t know what that meant. But when I got home from school
that day, I went to my room and put my backpack on the bed. All of a
sudden I heard a phone ring . . . somewhere in my room.
I searched and finally found a brand new phone under the dresser. And
the number was 555-2354!
—Jamie, age 18
Weekly Christmas Notes
For your lunchbox notes, you may choose a plan that includes focusing
on a certain theme each week. That is also a meaningful way to celebrate
and help your child stay focused on the real meaning of the season.
Monday Note: This is a really busy time of the year, isn’t
it? Don’t you love all the bright lights? When you see all the lights,
remember Jesus is the light of the world. Do you have a friend at school
who needs to know about the light of the world?
Tuesday Note: Thanks for helping me put the wreath on the door.
It really looks pretty! When we look at our beautiful wreath, a circle
of green, let’s remember that God’s love is never ending.
Wednesday Note: The candles in the windows really shine at night.
With one in every window, they light up the whole house. When we see candles,
remember that your light, no matter how small, can make a difference.
Thursday Note: The picture you drew of a Christmas tree looked
just like our tree. I’m going to hang it on the refrigerator. Every
time you look at our tree, remember that Jesus loves you so much He died
for you. He hung on a cross made out of a tree.
Friday Note: Someone put a very interesting present under the
tree when I wasn’t looking. Was that you? When you look under our
tree and you see all the presents, think about Jesus. He was God’s
gift to us. He gave Jesus to us because He loved us so much.
* Week Three
This focus of this week’s notes will be the manger and the figures
visiting the baby Jesus. The weekend before you begin this series would
be a good time to get the manger scene out of the box and have a special
family time of putting it together.
Monday Note: You did such a good job of placing the stable on
the piano last night. Do you ever wonder how the innkeeper must have felt
when he got the place ready for baby Jesus to be born? Do you think he
knew what he was doing was really important?
Tuesday Note: Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus are the center of
attention in our nativity scene. That’s the way it should be. We
should all keep our eyes on Jesus, not just at Christmas but all the time.
Wednesday Note: The shepherds traveled a long way to see Jesus,
didn’t they? You know which one is my favorite shepherd? The one
who is holding his head. I think he has a headache. Wonder why?
Thursday Note: The angel on the top of our nativity scene looks
like she is really watching over everyone, doesn’t she? That was
her assignment from God. I believe God’s angels watch over us every
Friday Note: When you get home today, look at all the figures
in the nativity scene. They are all coming to see Jesus. Most of them
traveled a long way to get to see Him. Aren’t we glad Jesus is always
right here with us and we don’t have to travel and look for Him?
Just because school gets out for vacation, you don’t have to stop
writing notes. Continue with daily reminders left on the counter when
you go to work or on your child’s pillow at night. You will be spending
more time together during the holidays and can verbally remind her how
special this season is. However, when you talk, try to help your child
remember that Jesus’ love is not just for a season. It is for all
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15
If you don’t have an advent wreath for your home, you may want
to start a new tradition this year and add an advent wreath to your holiday
decor. An advent wreath in the center of your dining table and the appropriately
lit candles will reinforce the tidbits of the advent celebration you are
able to include in your child’s lunchbox. Frequent mention of the
true meaning of the season and strategically placed visual reminders will
keep your child’s thoughts on Jesus and the miracle of His birth.
You may want to designate Monday of each week as your advent focus. Each
December Monday begin your note with “This week we will celebrate
. . .
First Week of Advent (This may start in the latter days
of November depending on year’s calendar.)
This is the week we will celebrate the prophecy of Jesus’ coming.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government
will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty
God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6-7.
Lunchbox Note: December is a very special month. We are going
to have lots of fun as a family. Most of all, let’s keep thinking
about the real meaning of Christmas. We will celebrate Jesus all month!
Second Week of Advent
This is the week we will celebrate Mary and Joseph.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line
of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married
to him and was expecting a child. Luke 2:4-5
Lunchbox Note:Joseph and Mary were obedient to the awesome job
God gave them to do. When you think something is too hard for you, remember
how hard it must have been for them. God was faithful to take care of
them. He will take care of you, too.
Third Week of Advent
This is the week we will celebrate the shepherds.
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds
said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing
that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15
Lunchbox Note: The shepherds couldn’t wait to see Jesus.
Let’s look forward to celebrating His birth together.
Fourth Week of Advent
This is the week we will celebrate the Kings.
They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went
ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When
they saw the star they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw
the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold
and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2: 9–11
Lunchbox Note: (Because of the calendar, some
years this note may have to be left on the pillow at night!) The kings,
or wise men as they are often called, brought precious gifts to Jesus.
What could you give Jesus this year for His birthday?
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was
lying in the manger. Luke 2:16
There will be no lunchbox on this day. Just lots of celebrating with
family and friends with Jesus as the Honored Guest.
Please note the suggested focus for each week is only that, a suggestion.
Many families have come up with their own traditional focuses for each
week. Some advent wreath instructions suggest that the theme for each
week focus on an aspect of worship. A common plan for this is:
Optional Center Candle of the Advent Wreath represents Jesus and is to
be lighted on Christmas Eve.
from Chapter 3 of Love
Notes in Lunchboxes: And Other Ideas to Color Your Child's Day
by Linda J. Gilden (Birmingham: New
Hope Publishers, 2004). Used by permission. * Some portions
of text were omitted from this excerpt.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.