Christmas

 

Focus on Christmas...

Finding a Christian at Christmas 
by Karen Wolff
They say the most stressful time of year is during the holidays. Why is that? Thanksgiving.....
Christmas....they're supposed to be happy and fun, you know.....almost Norman Rockwell like..... but somewhere along the way the stress, the unrealistic expectations, the unreasonable demands, and all that other negative stuff show ups and the next thing you know.....you're depressed, over-tired, and dreading one more day during the so-called "holiday season". <more...>

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Waiting
by Ted Schroder
Paula Gooder, has written a superb book about the spirit of Advent entitled “The Meaning is in the Waiting”. The title is taken from a poem by R.S. Thomas (1913-2000), who was a pastor/poet in Wales. The poem, Kneeling, describes the preacher in prayer before he speaks. <more...>

Spend More Time With Your Family this Holiday Season:  Host a Caroling Party
by Rondi Hillstrom Davis and Janell Sewall Oakes
Together Creating Family Traditions
Copyright 2003 Nine Twenty Press

Too often we forgo entertaining because of the mere thought of all of the preparation that is involved. And more is not better. Often we try to out do each other with lavish parties and expensive gifts. Stop  <more...>

'Tis the Season for Giving
by Caroline S. Potter
There is a nip in the air and the Holiday season is here! It is a season full of get-togethers and gift exchanges, but when it is all over, how do you feel? For many people, this can be a big let down. You go to put everything away and realize that you didn’t have any room before the holiday, so where are you going to put anything new you got. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holiday season a little more (during and after). <more...>

'Ho Ho Ho' and Other Secrets of the Holiday Season
by Colleen Langenfeld
Pssst. Come over here. I have a secret.  Santa doesn't work alone. He has help. Lots of it.  Here's another secret. Presents DO mysteriously appear under Christmas trees...and sometimes on doorsteps, too. <more...>

12 Ways to Teach Your Children 
About the Holiday Spirit
by Christine Louise Hohlbaum
Jesus’ birthday is the most widely celebrated one in the world, and yet many people seem so busy at this time of year. With budgets tighter than usual this year, you still want to make this celebratory season a special one. Children can be involved in preparing for this season of light with a few simple tips. <more...>

Waiting
by Ted Schroder
“Just two days after Adolf Hitler had seized control of Germany in early 1933, Bonhoeffer delivered a radio sermon in which he criticized the new regime and warned Germans that ‘the Fuhrer concept’ was dangerous and wrong. ‘Leaders of offices which set themselves up as gods mock God,’ his address concluded. But Germany never got to hear those final statements, because Bonhoeffer’s microphone had been switched off  <more...>

Use H-O-L-L-Y to Beat Christmas Cooking Stress
by Kristin Johnson
What does holly, that untidy traditional greenery you just have to festoon your house with every year, have to do with not tearing your hair out before it's even Thanksgiving? Plenty. You can use H-O-L-L-Y to help you get organized.  <more...>

The Phrase Fathers Fear Most on Christmas Day
by Tim Herrera
There are three words often heard at this time of year that strike fear into the hearts of fathers everywhere. Those three words can crush the spirit of even the most capable Dad. Those words: “Some assembly required.” <more...>

Emphasizing the Spiritual Side of Christmas with Our Children
by Lisa M. Hendey
In these hectic days prior to Christmas, it’s easy for us to push aside the precious time we have with our young children in favor of hours spent shopping, wrapping, cooking for guests, and entertaining. We may find ourselves popping in a videotape, permitting one too many “happy meals” or handing our children toy <more...>

The Annunciation - Luke 1:26-38
by Ted Schroder
“God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:26,27)
<more...>

81 Ideas to Spend Time with Your Family 
at Christmas
by Patty Getz
Christmas is about so much more than presents and parties, and yet, each year, that is the focus that we as a society place on it. Christmas has become a stress for some, and financial hardship for others. Where there used to be a holiday, to celebrate Family, we have some how lost touch with our roots, and a meaningful soulful Christmas. <more...>

Writing the Perfect Christmas Letter
by Rachel Paxton
I don't know about you, but I always look forward to receiving Christmas letters from family and friends during the holiday season. Often it is the only news you receive from some of them throughout the year. <more...>

A Dash of Cinnamon, A Pinch of the Past, A Smidgen of the Future
by Kristin Johnson
Close your eyes and remember December, the smell of cinnamon in your mother's or grandmother's kitchen and the warm scent of dough baking in the oven. Imagine opening the oven door and, with assistance, taking out the heated cookie sheet. Devour the cookies, small works of art, with your eyes: Fudge Brownies, <more...>

Christmas is Coming!  Christmas is Coming!
by Alyice Edrich
Are you ready to host your annual Christmas celebration? Do you have all your gifts purchased? Are you baking now so you don’t have to do it at the last minute? Is your tree up? The to do list for Christmas is often a month long, but as working parents we tend to put things off until the last minute, don’t we? <more...>

Breaking Up Your Holiday To Do List 
by Alyice Edrich
Learning to share the load can help you enjoy a stress-free holiday at home and work.  Where does the time go? It seems the older I get the faster time slips away. With Christmas fast approaching, it’s hard to concentrate on work, business, or the mundane tasks of cleaning house. If you’re like me, you want to get out and enjoy all the wonderful festivities taking place around this time of year: musicals, plays, caroling, decorating, shopping, evangelizing, and fundraising. <more...>

Christmas: A Survival Guide For The Holiday Season
by Bill Knell
Whether you believe, disbelieve, ignore or go crazy over it, Christmas is likely to overwhelm you in every way. People will wish you a happy holiday, even if you don’t want them to. Traffic accidents will delay you because someone had a bit too much seasonal cheer or tried to get to that five minute sale in two. Stores will run out of your favorite brand of jeans just so that some ungrateful gift recipient can return a pair before New Years.
<more...>

How to Have an Abundant Holiday Season
by Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D.
Thanksgiving has come and gone. Christmas is on the way. How many times has someone asked you “The Big Holiday Question?” If you are a woman, you have probably heard it several times already. You, yourself, might have asked others The Big Holiday Question. If you are a man, you probably have no idea what The Big Holiday Question is. <more...>

Christmas Cookie Decorating 101
by Mimi Cummins
Many bakers ask for tips and instructions on decorating cookies. Well that’s a tall order because there are as many ways to decorate cookies as there are cookies! Here are a few guidelines for novices and experienced bakers alike to help you generate your own ideas for cooking decorating. <more...>

20 Ways One Person Can Change the World for Under $50 a Month
by Pamela Cole Harris
How can one person change the world? If not the entire world… then one person's world? By taking positive action! Look around your community! There are needs every day…on every block. And you don't have to be <more...>

What Causes Holiday Stress?
by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration when friends and families get together to share food, fun, gifts, and love. They are supposed to be a time of giving, caring and connection when we celebrate important and meaningful events.  <more...>

The Advent Message
by Ted Schroder
John the Baptist was the last in a long line of Hebrew prophets sent to prepare his listeners for the coming of the promised Messiah. He struck a chord in the hearts of his fellow-countrymen. There was a yearning for a new beginning – for cleansing and forgiveness. There was a sense that something was missing in their lives <more...>

Hassle-Free Holiday Baking: 
6 Easy Days to Perfect Christmas Cookies 
by Mimi Cummins
Like many people, I love the idea of making a large assortment of Christmas cookies during the holidays, but I find it difficult to find the time to get it done. As a working mother, cookbook author and webmaster of <more...>

Christmas Traditions
by Dionna Sanchez
It’s almost everyone’s favorite Holiday. We relish our childhood memories of presents, lights and traditions. For each family, Christmas time can have a different meaning and different memories. It’s up to us as parents to instill that meaning into Christmas for our children. It’s also up to us to add the fun.  <more...>

Taking Back Christmas
by Kristin Johnson
John Grisham wrote a book called SKIPPING CHRISTMAS. Amazon.com reports: “John Grisham turns a satirical eye on the overblown ritual of the festive holiday season, and the result is Skipping Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of December 25. Grisham's story revolves around a typical middle-aged American couple, Luther and Nora Krank. On the first Sunday
<more...>

How to Celebrate Christmas when You Can't Afford to Celebrate Christmas
by Nancy Twigg
When gathering with friends for caroling, when’s the last time you sang this song: “Have a pricey, costly Christmas…”? Or what about this one: “O Christmas bills, Christmas bills, how much this season costs me!”? <more...>

Give Away: A New Holiday Tradition
by Colleen Langenfeld
As the holidays approach this year and gift-giving (and shopping) begins, I can recognize one true fact:
My kids don't NEED anything.   <more...>

Inexpensive Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Kids
by Jeffrey Strain
After all the gifts have been purchased and placed under the tree, that is the time that many remember in a panic that the stockings over the fireplace still need to be stuffed. Holiday budgets have most likely been spent and there isn't a whole lot of extra money available. <more...>

Advent: Christmas Expectation
by Barbara Laufersweiler of Faith at Home
The three to four weeks before Christmas Day can be a very busy time of putting a lot of energy into our Christmas activities. Many of us make or buy Christmas gifts, decorate our homes, make special foods, and attend and throw parties in this short span of time. <more...>

Our Twelfth Night Party
by Barbara Laufersweiler
Have you wondered how to throw a Christmas party without that frazzled feeling that's entirely too common in December?  <more...>

Simplify the Season
by Megan Corwin
Let's take a look at a typical Christmas To-Do list: bake cookies, buy and make gifts, attend office party, church commitments, address and mail cards, clean the house for guests, decorate...it goes on and on.... <more...>

Baking Christmas Memories: 
Rolled Gingerbread Cookies
by Sherri Allen
Some of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas are those of my brother, sister and me baking Christmas cookies with our mother. We'd all end up covered in flour and frosting, the kitchen would be a mess and the cookies never came close to resembling the <more...>

The Christmas Dress
by LeAnn R. Ralph
From the time I was a very little girl, I had always loved to watch my big sister, Loretta, when she was sewing. So, one Sunday afternoon while she worked on the red velveteen jumper that was going to be my Christmas outfit, I didn’t want to miss a single thing.  
<more...>

Low on Cash for Christmas? Try Gifts in a Jar
by Kristin Johnson
Time is money, and right now you don't have either the time or the money to answer the call of the shopping mall at Christmas. The only way you can show your friends love, peace on earth, goodwill towards men is by shopping at Macy's, so you think. <more...>

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
by Barbara Laufersweiler
The season of Advent is about waiting, about preparation, about quiet and mystery. Christmas is a celebration of God incarnate, now accessible, among us. Epiphany <more...>

Don't Throw Away Those Old Christmas Cards 
by Catherine Pulsifer 
Each year we get lots of Christmas cards from family and friends. And, each year, I save them. But after a few years, the cards do become clutter!! <more...>

Let’s Do Something Different For the Holidays This Year!
by Pamela Cole Harris
Each year, for too many of us, the holiday season just doesn’t live up to our expectations. Instead of joy, it brings stress; instead of peace, it brings tension
  <more...>

Encouraging Your Child to Give:
Using Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog

by Carl Caton
How many times have we heard the oft quoted phrase, "it is better to give than to receive"? And how many times have we quoted this to our kids during the season of giving? I would like to take a little license here to change the phrase. My new version is: "it is better to watch your kids give... than to receive". It's been a long time since I've had something touch my heart so greatly as to see generosity grow in my kids hearts.  <more...>

Teaching What is Valuable
by Dionna Sanchez
As we shop for the Holidays we are bombarded with advertisements, promos and displays. They showcase the newest and hottest toys, clothing and accessories for our kids. Our children have so much these days that we didn't have. So much. Too much. <more...>

Homemade Treats the Easy Way--Host a Christmas Cookie Swap!
by Cyndi Roberts
Do you love to give goodie bags or cookie trays full of homemade treats at Christmas? But do you get tired of all that baking? <more...>

Creative Christmas Gifts
by Lata Tokhi
Christmas is always the time of year we consider to be the best opportunity to give something special to someone and show how much we appreciate him or her. The mall is full of wonderful, shiny and delicious gifts and the Internet offers countless items that we can send to someone without ever seeing the product in person. But sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be the perfect idea for one or two individuals. That’s probably when <more...>

10 Ways to Keep Your Expectations From Making You Crazy This Christmas
by Pamela Cole Harris
Christmas is a wonderful time! Everyone is full of good cheer, the milk of human kindness and 20 pounds of candy. All gifts are given with love, are exactly the right size, are exactly the right color, or exactly the right thing for exactly the price you could afford. Right? <more...>

Christmas Countdown
by Shannon Jarvies
The holidays bring back such wonderful memories for me. But it's not the gifts I received that I remember so much as the feelings of anticipation and excitement I felt looking forward to the glorious day to arrive. Back then I thought it was the presents under the tree that made Christmas so magical. Now I know otherwise.  <more...>

Let's NOT Talk Turkey
by Kristin Johnson
The carving. The leftovers. The endless stuffing. Actually, you love the stuffing, cranberries and turkey trimmings. However, it's been seven years and you know your family will throw the turkey out the window if they have to eat the bird one more Christmas  <more...>

10 Ways to Keep Your Expectations From Making You Crazy This Christmas
by Pamela Cole Harris
Christmas is a wonderful time! Everyone is full of good cheer, the milk of human kindness and 20 pounds of candy. All gifts are given with love, are exactly the right size, are exactly the right color, or exactly the right thing for exactly the price you could afford. Right?  <more...>

5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More!
by Colleen Langenfeld
The holiday season is fast approaching! Are you looking forward to the festivities, symbolism and glow of the holidays or are you secretly dreading this busy time of the year?  Here are five simple suggestions to help you keep 
the holy and the happy in your holidays. <more...>

No Paws from Santa Claus!
by Jennifer Shryock
The Holidays are coming and children have thought long and hard about the gifts they would most want to receive this year. Trucks, trains, Groovey girls and scooters are popular gifts this year. Each year lists are filled <more...>

Christmas Strategies: Gifting without Charging
by Darlene Arechederra
Before we know it, the shopping season will be upon us. And, just like Santa's little elves will be working feverishly,
we've got to get busy saving up our cash for Christmas. The alternative could be to watch helplessly as our credit card balances increase.  <more...>

Organize Your Seasonal Home Decorating
by Rachel Paxton
I don't spend a lot of money decorating my home. Many people don't want to spend the time or money to decorate with the seasons, but over the years I have learned some ways to creatively seasonally decorate that have cost little or next to nothing.

Wintergreen
by LeAnn R. Ralph
As we drove along the dirt road north of our farm one Sunday afternoon, the color of the sky reminded me of Mom's silver cream and sugar servers when they were tarnished and needed to be polished again. <more...>

What to Do When You Are Alone for the Holidays 
by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Being alone for the holidays is a major challenge for many people. Holidays often conjure images of family, of warmth and the sharing of special time. Loneliness can be overwhelming when you have no one with whom to share holiday time.  <more...>

Rushing the (Christmas) Season
by LeAnn R. Ralph
Every year when November arrived, I started to wonder when it would snow.  And this year was no exception.
<more...>

A Cookie Assembly Line: 
Efficient Cookie Baking for Busy Cooks
by Mimi Cummins
As a busy working mother, I’m short on time, especially during the holidays, but baking Christmas cookies is a family tradition I’m unwilling to give up. Over the years, I’ve come up with many ways to make the process of baking a large variety of cookies go much smoother and take less time out of my busy life. <more...>

White Christmas
by LeAnn R. Ralph
After wearing a damp coat and stocking cap for the last hour, I felt chilled, and I was hoping the heavy wool blanket would help me warm up. We kept a blanket in the living room for just such a purpose, and this <more...>

Mastering the Art of Holiday Décor
by Lise Richards
It seems like it starts earlier every year. The holiday season appears, marked by special edition magazines on newsstands, brimming with ideas for new holiday decorations. Breathtaking interior design photos illustrating holiday décor from the White House, to your neighbor’s house, accompany these ideas. It can make <more...>

Happy Holidays with Teens
by Patricia R. Chadwick
There is no doubt that children “make” the holidays. There is nothing like the smile on a child’s face as they see all the Christmas lights lit up as you drive around your town - or the look of awe on their face on Christmas morning when they wake up to presents under the tree. But as our children move into the teen years, the Christmas season loses some of its awe and wonder...if we let it!  <more...>

A Meaningful Christmas
by Dionna Sanchez
Christmas seems to be everyone's favorite Holiday. Yet, these days, it seems to lose some of its genuine roots of sharing, giving, loving and laughing. If you are one of the many families who are striving to put some meaning back into your Christmas celebrations - here are a few ideas for you.  <more...>

Mommy...Daddy...is there really a Santa Claus?
by Mark Bulleit
Is there really a Santa Claus? Any parent who hasn't been faced with this question most likely will at some point. But how do you answer this? No one wants to crush a child's dreams of Santa and holiday magic. <more...>

The Five Best Gifts to Give Your Family 
by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
When we think of giving gifts, we usually think of things to buy for people. Yet if you think back on gifts you’ve been given, it might not be the material gifts you received that are foremost in your mind – it might be the kind of gifts that deeply touched your heart and soul. It might be various ways, other than material things, that people expressed their love to you. <more...>

Did You Know...
That Christmas begins at sundown on the Eve?
by Barbara Laufersweiler
The observance of Christmas Day, like many Christian holy days, can begin at sundown the evening before -- with a vigil. This might be more familiar on Easter Eve, also known as Holy Saturday, when many churches hold an Easter Vigil after darkness descends. It's a time of waiting expectantly, even impatiently, for the festival day. This fits right in with Christmas Eve with children!
  <more...>

Christmas Gift Baskets for Teens
by Patricia R. Chadwick
It can be a difficult task finding imaginative gifts that your teenager will be thrilled to receive. Most teens want money! If you don’t want to give your kids money and are looking for the perfect gift, check out these ideas for Christmas Gift Baskets.  <more...>

I Just Love It!
by Kristin Johnson
You know the scenario. You're sitting at the family Christmas gathering and your ten-year-old opens one of Aunt Martha's itchy homemade sweaters. Or Uncle Bobby, who's been swearing to lose twenty pounds for years, opens an exercise cycle. Of course, if Uncle Bobby follows the politeness rule, he'll say, "Thank you, it's just what I wanted." (Then he'll conveniently "forget" <more...>

You Better Not Lie, I’m Telling You Why…
by Dawn Fry
Holiday season brings the perennial return of Santa Claus. According to traditional lore, St. Nick flies around the world on his reindeer-powered sleigh. He lavishes gifts upon the good children of the world, and as for the naughty youngsters…well, they can expect lumps of fossil fuel in their stockings. This jovial, rotund old fellow provides a magical experience that enriches the lives of children. Right? 
<more...>

Celebrating Christ at Christmas: 
Having your cake and eating it too!

by Amy Tanner
The holiday hustle and bustle is upon us once again. Stores are crowded with shoppers trying to find that perfect gift, the streets are filled with travelers in route to locate that perfect gift, and the check out line at any retail shop is overflowing with consumers anxious to get out of the store to get to another store to find another perfect gift. It is merely exhausting to enter huge, retail  <more...>

Simplifying Christmas
Christmas cookies, homemade decorations & gifts...
by Mary Emma Allen
"I'm turned off by Christmas," I heard someone comment. "It's so commercial nowadays."

It is only if let it be. This year, when many people find extra money in short supply, might be an ideal time for a simpler Christmas.  <more...>

Christmas: Twelve Days
by Barbara Laufersweiler of Faith at Home
We pretty much know the verses of the Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," right? Drummers drumming, maids a-milking, five gold rings, and that partridge, all being given by someone's true love. Did you also know that the 12 days "of Christmas" are the days of the church season of Christmas, starting with Christmas Day itself? True!
  <more...>

Holiday Heart and Soul
by Dionna Sanchez
Well the Holidays are officially here! What a joyous season. I love hearing the upbeat melodies of Christmas music playing over every sound system and the bright lights and cheery colors that adorn stores, homes and workstations. Christmas is truly a special time of year to celebrate those we love and just being alive! These are blessings that are all gifts from our precious Heavenly Father. <more...>

Joy of the Family Christmas Tree
by Mary Emma Allen
"It's time to get the Christmas tree," we children exclaimed each year when I was growing up on the farm. Then Father hitched up the horses to the sleigh, and we rode to the woodland behind the barn to find our tree. For me this was one of the most enjoyable activities of Christmas. This ritual was almost as much fun as putting up the tree and decorating it. <more...>

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