For the Heart at Christmas

It’s Christmas weekend! Have you finished all your shopping and made all your preparations? I hope you have just a wonderful and special weekend of savoring this season with your family and friends. I can’t wait for all of my siblings, nieces and nephews, and parents to all be together–it’s chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I wanted to leave you with some scriptures for this weekend as we celebrate the birth of Christ and remembering of all He has done for us. I hope these will touch your heart as you go about your weekend.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6-7 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. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Merry Christmas! I am taking all of next week off from blogging but I will be back in the new year! Thank you so much for your support this year, it means so much to me!

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No Gifts for Christmas: Things to Do with Family Instead of Buying and Giving Gifts

Last night I finished all of my Christmas gift preparation! Gifts have been wrapped and are just waiting for Christmas day. However, although it’s fun to give and receive gifts at Christmas–you don’t need gifts to have a wonderful Christmas. As my siblings and I have grown up, some being married and have children now, we have changed the ways in which we approach gift-giving at Christmas. We all seem to agree that Christmas is less and less about presents and more about quality, special time together. My whole family is probably all together only about once a year and so our time together has become one of the most precious gifts.

Today I’m giving you some ideas for how to celebrate Christmas with your family (and/or friends)–without having to have gifts involved.

Go on a trip together

The Christmas before my oldest sister was married, my family went on a skiing vacation to North Carolina. We rented a huge van and road-tripped all the way from Oklahoma. That was also the year that we each had portable, personal DVD players (anyone remember those?). Although the majority of the road trip was probably spent watching 5 seasons of Gilmore Girls, I still remember that experience and it was so much fun. Once we arrived at our destination, we checked into our cabin rental that overlooked the mountains and the ski lodge. We cooked food, watched movies, and prepared to go skiing the next day. The weather was so warm that the ski resort had to create fake snow–that was interesting to watch! Once there was enough “snow,” we headed out and had a great time. Who knew skiing in t-shirts wouldn’t be so bad? Haha! I’m so thankful for that time we had together before the dynamic of our family changed. We have been on trips together with my brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephew since then–and it just keeps getting better. Why not save and invest in a family vacation instead of buying gifts? I highly recommend it!

Make and serve a meal to a family in need

Last year my family and I made some meals for the families of patients at our local hospice house, instead of doing gifts. I loved being able to do that for some of our local families who were experiencing grief, loss, and sadness during what should be one of the happiest times of the year. We weren’t able to personally meet any of the families, but it was an awesome experience to know that we helped to take care of them in a small way during Christmas. There are so many other ways you can help others during Christmas and it doesn’t have to even be a grand gesture–anything, no matter how big/small, helps!

Have a family night

Instead of gift exchanging, have a day/night just for family fun! You could bake cookies, make hot cider, play board/card games, watch Christmas movies, drive around and look at Christmas lights, make a bunch of Dubsmash videos, etc, and just focus on spending time together. My most favorite memories are definitely of my parents, siblings, grandchildren, and pets all housed up together and it being just wild!

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Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas

Only 20 more shopping days until Christmas! If you’re done shopping–way to go! If you aren’t done yet–remain calm and have no fear! Over the last few years, my family has changed the way we exchange gifts and, to be honest, it’s actually taken a lot of the stress away. However, I always like stocking stuffer gifts and the process of filling the stockings. If you are doing stocking stuffer gifts this year, I have a list of gift ideas in case you need some inspiration. I also have a blog post coming out on Friday with alternatives for gift-giving, so make sure to read that one.

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For Kids

-Socks (I think silly socks or fun patterned socks are way better)
-Books
-Subscription services (ie. Highlights magazine)
-Chapstick
-Gloves
-Lego
-Hot Wheels
-Games
-On-the-go cups
-Fun patterned Band-Aids
-Rubber duck
-Milk straws (you can find these on Amazon but they are straws with flavor pods inside and they turn milk into different flavors)
-Silly drinking straws
-Gift cards
-Candy

For Her

-Essential oil blends
-Candles
-Tea
-Coffee
-Socks
-Nail polish
-Subscriptions (i.e. Birchbox, magazine, etc)
-Jewelry
-Wallet
-Hand cream
-Mug
-Chocolate
-Gift Cards

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For Him

-Pen
-Graphic print t-shirt
-Shaving kit
-Beard oil
-Movie
-Coffee
-Yeti (or similar insulated coffee mug)
-Socks
-Gloves
-Gift cards
-Beef jerky
-Candy
-Watch

For Friends

-Passport cover
-Sunglasses
-Coffee mugs
-Coffee
-Novelty print socks
-Gift cards
-Candles
-Snacks
-Photo gifts

Basically, I don’t think you can go wrong with getting anyone socks, haha! These are the main things that I think would be great to gift as stocking stuffers. I hope this list was helpful to you if you are trying to figure out stocking stuffer gift ideas! If I am forgetting any ideas that you like, make sure to comment below what they are. I hope you are having great December and that you’re enjoying the Christmas spirit!

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