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When I think about Christmas, several thoughts come to mind. Yes, it’s that time of year when life slows down a bit (or at least, life should slow down a bit) so we can celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It also brings on thoughts of family time and rest, gift-giving, baking, and hopefully, a little snow.

As our family has grown, we have developed different holiday traditions along the way, depending on their ages and our location. If you were to ask any of our boys what their favorite Christmas tradition was, I’m pretty sure they’d each say it’s the Elf Breakfast tradition that we started over 10 years ago. It’s a silly and simple thing, really.

Each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Eli (our creepy Elf on the Shelf) shows up with powdered sugar donuts, glass bottles of Coca-Cola, candy canes – you know, all the things to make a magical elf-approved breakfast – and usually some Christmas pajamas or blankets or some other cozy items to kick off this fun season as well. Because our boys are teenagers and have outgrown the elf on the shelf thing (and as I said before, he’s a little creepy) Eli maintains his spot on the kitchen table throughout the month of December.

I don’t think it’s that exciting of a tradition. Fun, yes. Simple, silly, and not at all the true meaning of Christmas, but I think the reason the boys like it so much is because it’s been a constant – something they can count on each year.

Last year was our first Christmas living in Franklin, TN and it was important that we establish a new tradition. We decided to go to the little Franklin Theater downtown to see a Christmas movie during Thanksgiving break and had so much fun that we decided to make it a yearly tradition.

And as we all know, the Franklin Theater is closed this year, along with just about everything else thanks to the Coronavirus. This creates a challenge as we approach the Christmas season. How can we create a fun meaningful Christmas for our families when everything seems to be shut down?

I come bearing good news, friends.

Here are three different thoughts to help you navigate Christmas this year:


  1. Create your own Christmas traditions in your home

Before you dismiss this as lame, please read on. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, our boys’ favorite tradition is something very simple, done in our home every year. Admittedly, I go a little overboard with our elf breakfast, but I don’t regret it at all.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate special little activities into your Christmas plans – you can drive around to look at lights, do your own breakfast to kick off the season, bake cookies, start a Christmas Village (and add a new piece each year), take a family trip out to choose a real tree, the list goes on and on. Consider your family’s ages and interests and get creative, remembering that it doesn’t have to be complicated to be special. 


  1. Take note of the events that have not been canceled this year due to Corornavirus

As of now, there are still some fun events scheduled to celebrate the season. After Franklin and Leiper’s Fork canceled their yearly Christmas Parade, a group of residents have banded together to form the Citizens Christmas Parade, which has been approved by the city and is scheduled to begin in downtown Franklin on Saturday, December 5th at 11:00 a.m. Details can be found here.

The Franktown Festival of Lights is also a fun option that allows for social distancing since you remain in your car the whole time. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

It was recently announced in our subdivision that there will be a neighborhood parade and visit from Santa in early December, and it’s likely that several other subdivisions are planning special events in lieu of all the cancellations as well.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more announcements – it’s pretty amazing to witness how creative our town is getting in an effort to maintain normalcy this year. 


  1. Serve in our community – Franklin, TN

Even in our happy, safe, financially comfortable town there are so many needs, and this year those needs have increased. What better way is there to celebrate Christmas than by serving others? This is an excellent way to teach our children that giving is always better than receiving, and there are several options out there. A few that I know of and have worked with are FrankTown Open Hearts, One Generation Away, and GraceWorks Ministries, and there are plenty of other options for you to take part in as well.

At ClearView, we’re hosting the FrankTown Christmas Shopperone program on December 12. You can learn more about that here.

See? This Christmas season is far from doomed, dear friends. In fact, I think this is an opportunity for us to remember what really matters, and with fewer options to distract us we’re able to more clearly see that celebrating the birth of our Savior is what it’s really all about anyway. When we focus on that truth and how we can honor Him, the rest is just extra… the sprinkles on top. Love your family well, point them to Him, and find little moments here and there to bring those ideas home. Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you!

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About the Author


Jaclyn A. Hatcher is a pastor’s wife and author from Franklin, TN.