the best Christmas gift ever received

Best gift recieved

What’s the best Christmas gift you have ever received (besides Jesus)?

I asked several wonderful friends on Facebook this very question. I loved their responses! They varied from recent gifts to treasured gifts of years ago, to gifts that no monetary value could be placed upon.

liittle girl at Christmas

My Brother sewing machine as I use it several times throughout the week. ~ Judith S.

A flat top guitar! I was 9 years old! ~ Dolores G.

Our first Christmas, my husband bought me a beautiful oak fiddleback rocking chair. It’s precious to me. ~ Melana C.

A unicycle from my brother and sisters when I was 8. They all went in on it without my parents help.~ Mariann F.

Loving parents who didn’t yell at me when in my child-like exuberance I cut a hole in my Daddy’s new pants while wrapping presents.~ Natalie T.

A wooden cow on a string, when pulled made a “moo” sound. I was 3. ~ Scotty B.

The gift that comes to mind is of wonderful Christmas memories, trying to think of some ‘things’ all I could remember were the feelings of Christmas, family together, Christmas Eve service, lights twinkling at night at my grandmas house with family on Christmas Eve. ~ Cheryl C.

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My mom has said her best Christmas present was Christmas of 1987… when I was born shortly before and came home on Christmas Eve. ~ Holly Anne F.

My Grandma Burton and Grandpa traveled globally when he was in the Navy. One place they went was Italy. In Italy they purchased a gorgeous Nativity set. Each year the 3 grandkids took turns setting it up. As we got older it became my thing to do with Grandma and we spent the day setting it up, decorating and hanging out. One of my favorite days each year. For my 25th Christmas Grandma gave me the Nativity. It remains my favorite gift of all time. ~ Jessica P.

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As a child the most memorable gift was an interchangeable, blue band, hard plastic bracelet/watch from my dad. Presents were all done , my brothers were digging around in their stalkings and my dad faked surprise and dug around IN the tree and brought out a small box for me and something similar for my mom. She didn’t know anything about it. It spoke volumes to me! I always doubted my worth, especially concerning them/him. It was a moment I relived in my head for years. As an adult from my husband, of course the wheel around dishwasher on our first Christmas together was awesome but I would have to say my replacement wedding ring he wrapped in a box and left on my car seat on Christmas morning. It wasn’t an expensive ring by any means and was meant to be an interim ring … I can’t seem to give it up though. ~ Holly C.

I consider my youngest daughter Allison to be a wonderful Christmas present even though her Birthday is on December 4 and she was brought home two days later in a Christmas stocking I still consider her to be the best Christmas gift ever! My older daughter Heather’s Birthday is on December 24 and (the ex and I) brought her home on the 25 of December in a Christmas stocking also. I definitely do consider them both the best Christmas gifts ever and you cannot beat those two gifts ever.~ Emma W.

The presents fade in memory—the laughter and love remain as the only gifts worth keeping.~ Kathy B.

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While these presents are meaningful and hold a special place in my friends’ hearts, there is a gift even more important, even more wonderful, than any of the aforementioned gifts. That gift is Jesus.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and may we never forget Who is the greatest gift of all!

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the importance of Christmas

The importance of Christmas

One of my favorite modern Christmas songs is This is Christmas by Kutless.  The words in the chorus are thought-provoking and profound:

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger
What is Christmas without Christ?

Indeed. What if a Baby, who would grow to be the Savior of mankind, was never born?

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For one, we would definitely not have the Christmas holiday. There would be nothing to celebrate.

I, for one, love the whole idea of Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, my husband gets a calorie-burning workout hauling the numerous bins of decorations from our Christmas closet up the stairs. He then heads outside to set up “Wally and Eva,” our two laser light devices that shine brightly all over the front of our house and garage.

I love shopping for presents for my family and mailing packages to my extended family in several different states. My daughters and I find great joy in baking delicious goodies for our neighbors and close friends and delivering them a few weeks in advance.

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And don’t even get me started on Christmas music. Let’s just say my Christmas playlist somehow mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) found its way into playing two days before Thanksgiving. Nope, I just couldn’t wait. And I seemed to run even farther and faster on the treadmill while listening to that Christmas playlist.

All of those things in and of themselves are fine. It’s when we replace the real meaning of Christmas with temporary things – and put our focus solely on those things – that we find ourselves in error.

Anything can become an idol – anything that we make more important than God. Can Christmas presents, decorations, food, tinsel, and laser lights become idols?

Absolutely.

Especially presents.

Or add in the busyness of this time of year. The pressure to live up to expectations to create the holiday a certain way for others, as well as ourselves, can become a stress-fest.

Or the debt that we manage to accumulate while finding all those perfect presents for everyone on our gift list.

Do we even remember – and take time to realize – that the perfect present is right before us? The gift of eternal life.

So I’m reminding myself this year that it is all about the Savior that was born in the manger. It’s all about that Baby that was born on earth and grew to be a man who would give His life for all mankind. A brutal death with the sins of the world on His back, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.

For me.

For you.

For us all.

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This holiday season, let’s make Christ the ultimate reason we celebrate.  Let’s place Him in His rightful place of importance. Ahead of the trees, the food, the presents, the Christmas music, and the laser lights.

Let’s do more than celebrate Him. Let’s show our gratitude for what He has done for us. Not just on December 25, but on every day of the year.

 


 

Check out some of the other recent articles on this blog:

Interview and Giveaway with Author Debby Lee!

9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

5 things a man should never buy his wife for Christmas

Movie Monday – Christopher Robin

 

 

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

8 Christmas gifts for wives

In my last post, I discussed 5 things a man should never buy his wife for Christmas. (If you haven’t yet read that post, make sure you do, because it’s absolutely hilarious and can be found here.

Ok, so, husbands, what do you get for your wife for Christmas? Here are eight excellent (more serious) ideas of things for all budgets that she’ll love:

1. A massage. The benefits of massage are numerous. It relaxes sore muscles, assists in stress relief, rounds out a fitness program, and improves the quality of life for those with diseases. Nearly every person can benefit from a massage. Ask around and find a reputable massage therapist in your town, or log on to http://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/locator.aspx for some suggestions in your area.

2.  A book. Does your wife have a favorite author? Has she been eyeballing a book at the bookstore? I couldn’t not suggest a book since I’m an author myself! If your wife loves to read, but you’re not sure what book she’d like, a gift certificate from a local or online bookstore would be a great gift.

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3. A month’s worth of housecleaning. What woman wouldn’t love a break from housecleaning if only for a month? Why not hire a cleaning service to come in for a month and lighten your wife’s load? Trust me, she’ll appreciate this, and it will for sure earn you  “husband points!”

4. A vacation…just the two of you. No, it doesn’t have to be a 7-day cruise, although that would be nice (Lon, if you’re reading this, hint hint!) A weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast works too. Ask a family member or friend to take care of the kids, before sweeping your wife off  her feet by planning a getaway for just the two of you. Be sure to plan this  ahead of time and have the date set in stone, as life gets busy. You don’t want her Christmas gift to get forgotten.

5. Purchase a pamper kit. Choose a day and declare it your wife’s pamper day. She will be ushered first to the salon for a manicure or to have her hair done. Second, she will be treated to a no-interruptions bubble bath. That means that if you have small children, take them out for a Daddy Day while your wife relaxes. Third, she heads to the massage therapist for a much-needed massage (see #1). Fourth, take her out to a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant. Pull this off and I guarantee your Christmas will be very merry!

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So, what if you’re short on cash during these strained economic times? Check out these economical suggestions that can mean so much:

6. A coupon book. You may have heard of this before…it’s a homemade coupon book full of kind things to do for your wife.  Cleaning her car inside and out would be a kind gesture, especially if the constant hauling around of children and pets has left the floor in your minivan stained and dirty. Offer to check her oil, check the tires, fill it full of gas, and wash the outside as well. Other suggestions can range from lovey-dovey romance coupons to thoughtful items (use your imagination here, guys!) There is no expiration date, and perhaps some coupons can be used more than once!

7. A promise to grow in your walk with the Lord together. Offer to pray with her and study the Word together. Plan, on a weekly basis, to put the Lord as the top priority in your marriage and watch how He changes you both for the better!

8. Renew your wedding vows. Have you been married any length of time? How about a renewing of your wedding vows? It doesn’t have to be fancy. Enlist your pastor’s help and have a small wedding where you rededicate your lives to each other.

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There you have it! Now hurry…you only have a few more shopping days left! Oh, and Merry Christmas!

 

 

 


Looking for some other Christmas posts? Check these out!

9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

21 fun Christmas stocking stuffer ideas

Movie Monday: A Bramble House Christmas

9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

9 christmas traditions

It’s that time of year again! Time to create or revisit holiday family traditions. Need some fresh ideas to add to your family’s list of fun customs for Christmas? Here are some memorable suggestions:

Adopt a family. Many families are struggling this time of year, so our family “adopts” a family and provides a Christmas dinner for them. We include a turkey or ham, stuffing (if we provided a turkey), two cans of vegetables, a bag of potatoes, and a dessert. Alternatively, if your house is big enough, why not invite someone who has nowhere to go for Christmas to your house to enjoy Christmas dinner with your family?

Read the real Christmas story. I love the tradition of reading Luke 2:1-20 on Christmas Day and reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas. A baby born who would one day die for the sins of mankind so they could have eternal life. Have each family member take turns reading verses, or have mom or dad read it in its entirety.

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Go Christmas lighting. From the time our two daughters were toddlers, we have changed into pajamas and loaded into our SUV for a trip around our town to check out the Christmas lights. Each year we vote on a home to win the “Christmas Winter Wonderland Prize.”

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Attend Candlelight Eve Service. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without attending the Candlelight Eve Service at our church. Not only do we attend, but we also make it a point to invite neighbors and friends who may not otherwise know about the event.

Host a treasure hunt. Each Christmas Eve, my husband and I write numerous “sticky notes” with clues on them for each of our girls. We then place them strategically around the house. On Christmas Day, the girls race to find clues, and subsequently, one of their Christmas gifts. Treasure hunts are fun, and if you have a zany sense of humor like the Zeller parents, try to rhyme the clues with silly words.

Collect an ornament a year. When we decorate the tree, I love the memories that go with each decoration. From the time I was born, my grandma, Nanie, would give each grandchild a decoration each year for Christmas. That has expanded into decorations for each great-grandchild. Not only does Nanie supply her grands and great-grands with homemade decorations, but we also pick out a special ornament as a family to add to our tree each year.

Give an ornament to each of your children each year the day after Thanksgiving. Better yet? Encourage your children or grandchildren to create a special Christmas decoration for the tree. Homemade ornaments are by far the best!

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Remember Christmas songs of old. Why not make it a tradition to go Christmas caroling? Around the neighborhood, downtown, in businesses (with the owner’s/manager’s permission) or, better yet, nursing homes would love to have their residents cheered with the voices of carolers. Bring along a few generic wrapped gifts to hand out to those residents who might not otherwise receive a gift. Suggestions may include fuzzy socks, a pretty journal, or fragrance-free hand lotion.

Bake and deliver goodies. Our family enjoys the tradition of making Christmas goodies and delivering them to neighbors and those in our community who have blessed us throughout the year.

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Partake in a board game. A friend of mine plays board games with his family to determine who chooses/opens the next Christmas gift.

It’s never too late to start a Christmas tradition that can be passed on to further generations. When your children and grandchildren are all grown, they will have fond memories of the traditions you embraced and cherished as a family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 fun Christmas stocking stuffer ideas

 

stocking stuffers

Looking for some stocking-stuffer ideas this Christmas? Look no further! Here is a list of 21 fun ideas for just about everyone on your list.

  • Have a game lover on your list? The Emoji Uno game is sure to draw some laughs and doesn’t take up much space on the game shelf. Tenzi is another fun family game that is small and convenient for travel.

 

  • You can’t go wrong with fun snacks. From theater-box sized candy to sunflower seeds, Superseedz pumpkin seeds, or Skinny Pop for the health-conscious individual. One of my personal favorite finds for my chocoholic husband is an allergy-friendly candy bar by Enjoy Life, which is gluten free, nut free, and dairy free.

 

  • Looking for something totally unique? Check out these alpaca hats. Durable, warm, and lovingly made, they are perfect for that special person on your stocking-stuffer list. While you’re at the website, check out the awesome and unique variety of alpaca socks, gloves, and mittens. There are even alpaca dryer balls. Especially neat because they are made and produced on a small, family-owned alpaca farm.

 

  • A nice set of Bible highlighters is a hit for anyone wanting to highlight those special verses in the Bible.

 

  • I would be completely remiss as an author if I didn’t mention books. From fiction romance novels to cookbooks to a small Bible for convenient carrying in a purse, no one can ever have too many books. 🙂

 

  • A homemade coupon book with coupons for a free car detailing, a massage, homemade dinner, babysitting services, or a variety of other ideas is sure to be treasured. It also is a gift that keeps on giving since the coupons can be redeemed over time.

 

  • No matter what the age of the person on your stocking-stuffer list, everyone enjoys a warm cozy pair of slippers. These Snoozies are especially warm and comfortable.

 

  • For the person dealing with sore muscles? The Gofit Polar Roller massage tool is the perfect gift. (The small print: If you are suffering from pain, please check with your doctor before using).

 

  • A travel pillow is a nifty idea for the person on the go.

 

  • What about that person on your list with the goofy sense of humor? This Poo-Pouri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray comes in a variety of scents and includes hilarious witty print on the bottle.

 

 

 

  • A journal is a perfect gift. Ones with Bible verses are especially heartwarming.

 

Christmas presents

  • Have a book lover on your stocking stuffer list? Check out these comfortable (and hilarious!) Periodical Perfection Socks, aka library card socks. This gift is truly unique and sure to draw some great conversations about the good old days when library cards were handwritten and hand-stamped.

 

  • It wasn’t that long ago that famous authors typed their manuscripts on typewriters. No backspace key to erase, no word count, and no other modern conveniences. Can you imagine? For the sentimental person on your list, check out this box of notebook paper in the shape of a mini typewriter. Perfect for those on-the-go notes, and even includes “watermarks just like vintage typewriter paper.”

 

  • Have a waffle lover on your list this Christmas? The Dash Mini Maker makes individual waffles, paninis, and hash browns. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, aqua, silver, copper, and white.

 

  • Winter can bring some pretty nasty things…like ice. These Stabilicers snap on to the bottom of shoes and provide more traction on slippery days. A great gift idea for  just about anyone.

 

 

  • All right, so I realize it’s winter and in some places of the country (where I live, included!) flip flops are not a wise choice for navigating your way through tall snowdrifts. However, there are so many cute varieties of flip flops and (thinking optimistically) summer is just around the corner, right? Besides, a girl can never have too many shoes.

 

  • You can’t go wrong with a BPA-free water bottle for the exercise enthusiast, or for anyone who wants to stay healthy by drinking more water.

 

  • Most of us struggle with keeping our earbuds tangle free. This earbud cord wrap, called The Loop, solves the problem. As they say on their website, “Have fun untangling your life!”

 


**Disclaimer: I do not receive any monetary compensation from any of the companies/links listed here. These ideas are merely ideas I have discovered and found to be good ideas for stocking stuffers.