Every time I see a shoe box, I am immediately reminded of one of my favorite things about Christmastime- Operation Christmas Child. I love how filling a shoe box can extend love to someone else across the world. It is such a simple project and yet incredibly meaningful. The main reason I love it so much is that I can easily incorporate my kids with the activity.
Christmas cookies are exactly the tool that you need when you think about community. It may sound simple or silly, but a plate of cookies can open up many doors. A couple years ago, I decided to host a cookie exchange. Eagerly, I invited tons of people as I guessed only a few would come. When 20+ women showed up the night of the cookie exchange, you can imagine my surprise! Our little house was packed full of friends and neighbors and my table was completely covered with an array of cookies. It was overwhelmingly wonderful and I had to laugh how cookies had brought about the community.
A couple years ago, we were invited to a neighborhood block party. The idea was brilliant and a great way to get us out of our little comfort zone. Our neighborhood is an older one, filled with people of all walks of life. As we enjoyed the block party, I thought about how these are people we are coming in contact with- every day. Day in day out, we smile, we wave, but do we really know these people? Are we missing out on opportunities simply because we are too busy?
The next year, we joined with the couple who hosted the block party, and set up a little camp fire in our backyard and invited some of the neighbors. For my introverted self, this was hard. I can talk my friend’s ear off, but enter in people that I do not really know, and I want to slink away into the shadows. But it went so well. I got out of my comfort zone… people were talking, sharing, and connecting. All it took was a simple camp fire and some s’mores (because who doesn’t love s’mores?).
Every year at Christmas, we love carving out time for Christmas crafts. Maybe it is the teacher in me, but I love everything about a cute Christmas project. The kids always have so much fun and it is exciting to add different activities in each year.
If you search “kids Christmas crafts” on Pinterest you will be overwhelmed. It is an endless assortment, so I wanted to share our top favorites from last year. These are tried and true with my crew of little ones.
In the busy every day life, it can be easy to become caught up in our own lives. The thought of serving others is lost in the whirlwind of life. Our routines, schedules, soccer games, and ballet lessons consume us. Slowly, our lives become more and more inward focused and less and less outward focused.
By nature we are all selfish. Sometimes I start to get frustrated when my kids are constantly wanting more, more, more, but then I have to stop myself. Because in their eyes, I see a reflection of myself. How often do I get focused on what I want or need?
One of my favorite ways to be intentional during the Christmas season is to focus on celebrating advent. Over the past few years, this has become a favorite way for our family to unite, celebrate, and remember the reason we celebrate Christmas.
What is advent? Basically, it is the season leading up to Christmas day. It is a time where we focus our hearts on celebrating Jesus. There are tons of amazing tools, devotionals, and activities for the advent season. It can be a little overwhelming and sometimes the thought of one more thing at Christmas can put a negative spin on advent centered activities.
From the moment you say “I do” you have created a family and must begin protecting it. The family is you and your spouse- you are a complete and beautiful family. As you begin your marriage together, it is vital that you take hold of this simple truth.
Many times couples get caught between their two families and begin to be torn apart before they can even begin to grow together. Holidays can throw an extra twist into this hard road and cause many struggles as you strive to keep your marriage strong.
As I have been sharing in this series, it is important to prepare your family for the Christmas season. Within this series, we are focusing on being intentional as a family, in our community, and in our homes. This week, will begin the focus on family.
Before we dive into each section, I want us to think about different questions pertaining to that section. These questions can help us figure out why we do what we do.
Whether your family consists of you and your husband or you, your husband, and children, these are questions that you need to ask yourself.