Weekly Thoughts and Tips

December 2016


A Coloring Chart with New Paper!

December 30, 2016

Scriptures and coloring page

Guess what? The Friend is now being printed on higher-quality paper that is better for coloring! Here at the Friend, we’re really excited about this change and hope that your family will break out the crayons to celebrate. There’s a reading challenge on pages 24–25 of the January magazine that highlights some of the Church history scriptures you’ll be studying in Sunday School this year. Older kids will also be studying Church history and Doctrine & Covenants in Primary. You can open the staples to take the poster straight out of the magazine, or print copies of the pages here. Send us a picture of how your reading chart fills up as the year goes on by emailing friend@ChurchofJesusChrist.org. We hope to hear from you!

Christmas Pageant Tips!

By Jordan Wright
December 23, 2016

Children acting out the nativity

At this year’s First Presidency Christmas Devotional, President Henry B. Eyring talked about his family’s beloved Christmas pageant tradition. If you are planning a Christmas pageant with your family or Primary, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Don’t force anyone to participate. It’s OK if you only have one Wise Man. Helping your children have a good experience is more important than having a picture-perfect pageant.
  • Make sure everyone who wants to participate has a part. If you have a large family or Primary, you can add sheep, King Herod, and Book of Mormon characters like Samuel the Lamanite.
  • Include music. One of the best ways to help children feel the Spirit is by using music. Invite those children (and adults) who don’t want a place in the spotlight to sing hymns or Primary songs during the pageant.
  • Keep it short. If you do use music, consider singing only one verse of each song. A pageant can be a great experience for kids—but not if they remember it being long and boring.
  • Pacify your inner-paparazzi. Try taking your photos of the cast beforehand. That way, you can enjoy watching your children in the pageant, and your children can enjoy feeling the Spirit and learning about Christmas. If you do take photos or videos during the pageant, silence your phone or camera and turn off the flash.
  • Bear your testimony of Jesus Christ. Tell your children how you felt during the pageant and help them recognize when they are feeling the Spirit.

Merry Christmas!

Editor’s Note: Here is a collection of Christmas pageant scripts previously printed in the Friend.

Make Your Own Simplified Songbook

By Genny Bull
December 16, 2016

Woman at a piano

Over the years I have collected the “I Can Play It!” songs from the Friend and put them in a binder. Recently, I was called as the Primary accompanist, and I am not a trained pianist. I am self-taught and have barely started taking piano lessons for the first time to help develop this gift. I realized the simplified music I had been collecting will help me in my calling. I went back through and printed off any songs I did not have and made my own simplified Primary songbook! I am grateful I can download and print off whatever I need.

Editor’s Note: Click here to print sheet music for previously printed “I Can Play It!” songs.

Story Time

By Kim Reid
December 9, 2016

Girl and mother looking at a Christmas tree

When you say, “Story time!” does your little one come running to hear a good book? Reading is a great way to teach children. So is telling true stories, using your own memories instead of pages. Telling family stories helps children feel loved and secure. It shows them that you’ve been their age and can empathize. Most of all, family stories show meaning in life, preparing children to navigate their own unfolding stories with confidence. Here are some more ways you can use stories to engage your little ones:

  • Tell stories by decorating a Christmas memory tree, like Joel and his family did (see page FJ2 of the December Friend).
  • Tell true stories while cleaning up, sitting around a fire, or riding in the car.
  • Tell a bedtime story about your child’s day. This will show your little one you noticed what was important to him or her.
  • This Christmas season, gather around the tree and say, “Once upon a time, when I was little …” or, “Once upon a time, when you were a baby. …”

Looking Forward to Christmas

By Marissa Widdison
December 2, 2016

Advent calendar

Does your family do any sort of advent calendar in December? Advents can help slow the pace of the busy holiday season and build excitement as the special day draws near. This month’s Friend includes a count-down activity that serves another purpose as well—it teaches and testifies of Jesus Christ by giving your family a scripture about Him to read each day. You can print copies of “Watching for Jesus” here, or use pages 24–25 of the magazine. Each day, read the verse and then fold down the tab so that the nativity picture gradually appears. It’s not too late to start a beautiful, Christ-centered tradition with your family!