Christmas Giveaway


Oh, I love this time of year! Picking out the perfect gifts for my children, the smell of cookies and other goodies baking in the oven, the hum of the furnace, and the joyful sound of carols. And that is just a part of the fun.

My favorite part is thinking about how to celebrate the birth of Christ. I like to do something special with my kids each year, something to help them understand the real reason for Christmas. One thing we like to do is bake and decorate a special birthday cake. One year, we made a square one that looked like a gift, with green and red M&M’s as the ribbons. Last year, it was a 2-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting and cake crumbs patted onto the sides. I don’t know yet what we will do this year. After a Christmas Eve party with my parents and sisters, we come home, sing Happy Birthday, and cute one slice of cake. That slice and a small glass of milk goes on the bookcase, right next to our Nativity scene. Sometimes, the boys put it right in the middle, for all of Bethlehem to enjoy. (A second glass of milk and a plate of carefully selected cookies and candies goes on the dining room table for “Santa”. The boys figured out last year that it was probably Daddy eating the cookies, since the plate always contains Daddy’s favorite goodies.)

I think my absolute favorite thing we have done is make our own little Prayer Chain. Everyone has made paper chains before, right? That is what we did, but with a twist. We cut strips of red and green construction paper. Each evening, from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, we would take one green strip and one red strip. Prayer requests would go on one color and praises would go on the other. Then we would pray over each one and thank God for all of His gifts before linking the papers together and hanging them in the house. Each praise represented something we could think God for, something that showed the love He has for us. That seemed to really bring home to my sons what Christmas is about—the love of Christ.

What special things do you and your family do to celebrate Christmas? What are your favorite traditions? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment at the end of this email with one of your most treasured memories. One reader will receive an autographed copy of my novel Forsaking the Call. Winner will be chosen on December 15, so the book can be mailed out in time for Christmas.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted on December 7, 2009, in Books, My Work. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

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  1. My favorite Christmas tradition is reading the Christmas story before opening gifts Christmas Day.

    When our children were small I would make penut butter fudge as my husband put the lights on the tree then when all the decorating was finished we would enjoy the fudge.

    • My favorite Christmas Tradition is getting home late Christmas Eve night and opening one present for each of us before getting ready for bed so that Santa can come to our house. We open the same present every year. New winter pajamas for each of us, but the kids still look forward to opening the present every year. And then leaving beer and pizza out for Santa (he get too many cookies and milk and wants soemthing different – or so my husband has convinced my children, LOL!!).

    • Lynn McMonigal

      This is one of my favortie things, too, Cathy. I remember when I was growing up I would get very annoyed that we had to wait until Dad was done reading Luke Chapter Two before opening our presents. Now, I love seeing all of the grandkids gathered around my Daddy while he reads the Christmas Story to us.

  2. Love your traditions and the way you are bringing Christ to your world. My story is about our family tradition that started before we got married. When we got engaged, we put up a tree in my fiance’s apartment. It was a sliver tree on a revolving stand with a color wheel that had belonged to my grandmother. All was well until we turned on the revolving stand, and then the tree wasn’t symmetrical, and I wasn’t happy!!! We ended up fighting, but, we ended up resolving the issue (don’t turn on the revolving stand!).

    The next year we were married, and I decided we would start a new tradition by not having a Christmas tree, and I told that to my mother. We had custody of my husband’s two little boys, and my mother said we had to have a tree. Nope, too stressful for me! So she asked if she came and decorated it, would I agree to have a tree. Of course. So, she came, along with my brother and sister, and they decorated my tree. I gave them dinner and a little gift (about $1 each) for their efforts.

    This has turned into an all family tradition. Each year my entire family (about 20-25) comes, decorates the tree and we serve dinner and give them gifts (about $5 each now). This is the beginning of our Christmas season, as we don’t always get to spend much time together since everyone has children and so many other things to do. Although I do give the thank you gifts, it’s more a time of togetherness. We thank God that we have each other, and that we have weathered whatever the year has brought us. The ornaments on the tree have meaning, too. I could go on and on, but will close now.

    Thank you for you. God bless.


  3. We always have everyone gather around the tree and the family says a prayer how we are thankful for the ones and pray for the ones that not with us anymore. Then open presents.

  4. One of the best things we did when our girls were little is each year we would purchase one ornament for them. As they got older they were able to choose something that fit their personality at that time. Then as they go (or went) out on their own, they were given their ornaments to start their own tree. (18 ornaments ready to go) Also, each year they received a new pair of pajamas that were to be worn Christmas Eve night. They would put cookies and milk out for santa as well as sprinkle “reindeer food” in the front yard. (can’t forget the reindeer) Then before they went to bed, they were able to open on present. I miss them being little, now my oldest is about to have a baby of her own and my girls are all grown up. But I can look at our tree and see how they’ve grown with their ornaments.

  5. Nichole Osborn

    We spend Christmas eve with my in-laws. My MIL makes sugar cookies and the boys (13 and 14) go over and frost them. Around dinner time we open our gifts and eat finger food. Then Christmas day it’s our family Christmas, then for a late lunch we go back over to my in-laws.

  6. This is not a tradition, but it my most treasured Christmas memory.

    It had been a very difficult year. I was a single Dad, and my children were two girls, ages six and five, and a son, age four. We were broke, being stalked, and we were homeless. We temporarily lived in a small apartment across the alley from a homeless shelter in northern California. Our apartment was part of the shelter.

    Christmas was about a week away, and I had a few presents for the kids, but I had no money for a Christmas tree. So, I went to the shelter and talked to the Catholic Sisters. They agreed that after everyone else went to bed on Christmas Eve, I could take the small, decorated tree from their lobby. I was very happy! What a great surprise that would be for the kids on Christmas morning!

    On Christmas Eve, I got them to bed, then asked a trusted neighbor couple to watch the apartment for me. Unfortunately, when I went to the shelter to pick up the tree, someone had already taken it!

    I ran from the building in a panic. I hustled on foot for about six blocks in each direction around the shelter, but all the trees and scraps were gone from the lots. I even thought about breaking off some branches from a bush and fashioning a tree, but it just wasn’t to be. Plus, the weather was windy, with temperatures in the mid-thirties, and I had no coat.

    I trudged back home, angry, frustrated, and almost frozen.

    When I reached our back porch, the lights suddenly went off inside the apartment. I tried to open the door, but my daughter’s voice called to me from inside.

    “Don’t come in yet, Daddy!”

    A couple of minutes later, I was admitted by all three kids. They lead me to the front room, and told me to stand in the middle. Then, they turned on the lights.

    In front of me stood a hard-backed kitchen chair, with the handle of our broom sticking up through the back of it. Draped over the broom handle was our old green blanket. It flared out at the bottom, over the chair seat. It was covered with paper chains made from construction paper and paste. Several cut magazine pictures served as ornaments. At the top of the blanket was a yellow paper star.

    My second daughter said, “Daddy, what do you think of our Christmas tree?”

    The next thing I heard was, “Daddy, why are you crying?”

    Thank you, Father, for the creative minds of the children!

    Merry Christmas, all!



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