About the Author

At (in)courage, we empower women to be like Jesus. Our writers share what’s going on in their life and how God’s right in the middle of it. They bring their joys & struggles so that you can feel less alone and be empowered by the hope Jesus gives.

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things we love
& you will too!
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  1. We bundle up our kiddos Christmas Eve and drive down the snowy streets looking at lights. Once home, we give them new pjs, put on a movie, and spend the rest of the night together until they fall asleep! These books would be an incredible gift!

  2. Hi. We live overseas (but have a US postal address), so we have several different Christmas parties, all in different languages! This year, my youngest daughter is into (and has memorized–thank you Phil Vicher and What’s in the Bible!!) the Isaiah prophecy, “Unto us a child is born…” and I am planning on teaching her the Arabic Christmas song that quotes that verse! It sounds so dramatic and poetic in both languages!

  3. We usually do just a minimal gift exchange. I like to attend a Christmas Eve church service if possible. We focus a lot on Christmas food, Christmas music, and just spending time together.

  4. We buy each of our children a new ornament every year. The older two are now married and had a collection of ornaments for their own Christmas trees when they left home. I also love pulling out the Christmas tree skirt my grandmother made, baking cookies with the children (and now grandchildren), packing shoe boxes with them and volunteering at Samaritan’s Purse. I could go on and on. Traditions are what make each family unique. I love reading everyone else’s traditions!

    • With you, Southern Gal! Love reading all of these family traditions – including yours! Thank you for being the G.I.F.T. — for giving it forward out of what Jesus gave us. Is there every anything better than pouring our lives out for the Lord wherever we are?

  5. Christmas Eve we go to a Mexican restaurant, and then attend a Christmas Eve service at our church.

  6. We live near the Creation Museum. Every Christmas they transform their outdoor gardens into a winter wonderland and have Christmas Town. It’s so cool, they have actors portraying Roman guards at the gates for the census, a live Nativity, as you walk thru you encounter wisemen telling the story of the star that guided them. There are animals and storytellers all around. Christmas Town is one of our traditions we love.

  7. After Christmas eve service we have a candle lit dinner, open the family gift (it is always a game or movie) and then spend the next few hours together. Christmas morn the kiddos run down the steps, dig into their stocking to find a breakfast item, a few small trinket toys and a card sharing how much they are loved and are a precious gift from Jesus. Our kiddos have grown. One is married. Still we all look forward to “our” beautiful Christmas tradition ❤️

  8. My favorite tradition is leaving small gifts for my kids in their shoes to celebrate St. Nicholas day. We don’t do Santa but instead celebrate his origin.

  9. Every December First I put out the Advent Calendar my aunt handmade when our daughter was born. She made the same calendar when I was a child and it brings back wonderful memories.

    • Oh, the thought of this beautiful handmade Advent Calendar tradition brings tears, Karen. *Thank you* for sharing this with us!

  10. One of my favorite traditions is an advent calendar that’s been in my family for years – a DecemBear calendar that my aunt put together when we were children. Each day my sister & I argued over who got to put the bear in his spot for the day. Two years ago, she was in Italy over the holidays, so I posted each day on Instagram at #allenadvent to share with her. Now, it hangs in our apartment and my husband & I share the responsibility of moving the bear around – can’t wait to one day share this with children of our own!
    And, what a great giveaway! I’m eager to look more into these books, either if I win, or decide to purchase them on my own!

    • Beautiful memories, Kat, just beautiful. *Thank you*, friend. Smiling happy from the farm just now…

  11. Our favorite thing to do is eat dinner by candlelight. My boys have to have every light in the house out, except for Grandma’s old oil lamp. It really makes you slow down and look into each others faces that are lit by the light. Try it!

    • How I LOVE candlelight, especially on dark winter nights when we gather round the table! Ah, but your grandmother’s oil lamp is an extra special touch. Celebrating the Light of the World with you, Sarah!

  12. We have dear lifelong friends that we attend Christmas Eve service together and share a meal. Given other realities in our life this special tradition sharing our faith in Christ with these special people means so much. I know it is a blessing from Jesus!

    • We’re all about chocolate chip cookies, but your tradition sounds delicious too! And we have a certain instrumental Christmas CD we play every year when it’s time to decorate the tree. The first song is “Joy to the World.” Pretty much sums it up!

  13. My favorite traditions are small. I live far from my family, so they aren’t always as family-oriented as I would like, but at least they are there. First, my favorite ornament – one that was given to my at my birth (I was born 10 days before Christmas). Next is a newer tradition – attending a huge Christmas show at a local church. It approaches the Christmas story from a different viewpoint…one that shows the hopelessness of humanity and the culmination of the Gospel in God’s amazing gift of Christ at Christmas. The third is simple – being with community – whatever that looks like. Some years it is my own family. Others it’s my “adopted” family in the city where I live and some times it’s my extended family that opens their home to me.

    • Happy (early) Birthday, Stephanie! *Thank you* for sharing your Christmas traditions here with us. May it be a season, friend, of slowing and bending low before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords — Emmanuel — the staggering grace of God with us!

  14. I love Christmas time. I have an old, sparkly dove ornament I got when I was little. The sparkle has worn off the top of the head, so now it’s known as Mom’s ugly bald dove ornament. I still put it on my tree because it reminds me of my Grandma, who gave it to me.

    • Love, love, love. I so get it. Special memory indeed! Merry, Merry CHRISTmas, Pattie! 🙂

    • The best, Mandy! My own family did homemade vegetable soup and fresh-from-the-oven bread. Sadly, I didn’t give birth to soup eaters, so that tradition has quietly slipped away at the Higgs house. It’s the people that matter, not the food…right!?

  15. I love decorating our tree as a family. Each year we buy the kids are ornament that represents the previous year – their interests, accomplishments, etc. It’s so fun remembering the neat moments as they have grown up.

    • Great idea, Jenn. We love ornaments with meaning at our house. Of course, it takes forever to decorate the tree, because we have to talk about each one before we hang it!

  16. Our church has an amazing Christmas Eve service that we attend together as a family. We also have a special sugar cookie recipe that I helped my grandma make when I was a child. Now I make them with my kids, and last yr my grandson.

  17. The most treasured part of our Christmas is on Christmas Eve- all of our extended family gathers at my parents’ home…and before slowly opening gifts, my beloved Daddy reads the precious words of hope from Luke – Hallelujah, our Savior is born! Blessings one and all!!

  18. On Christmas Eve we go to church services, get pizza and read Twas the Night Before Christmas by the fireplace. I thought we’d be done with the book part, but the my older children (19 and 17) are the ones who request it every year!

  19. We love to celebrate by taking a trip after dinner to an old house every Christmas all decorated in lights with music. It’s a light show for everyone and the best thing is that it is for organ transplants. Its called a heart for Christmas. It is so magical and welcomes in Christmas like no other holiday event I’ve seen. My children have gone twice and we look forward to it every year!

  20. There is one thing that happens every Christmas and will forever…remembering my daddy *gulp* and all the magic he spun for us each year. If I slice a ham or turkey…I think of him. If I cut oranges for ambrosia, I think of him. If I wrap a gift, you know 🙂 He made fresh wreaths out of greenery from outdoors and took us to church. I’m a 52 year old baby at Christmas! I now spin magic for my kids and know someday they’ll have that ache each year…praying it draws them further to the Christ child as it does me!

    • Everything you’ve described, Phyllis, is why Christmas is the perfect time to reach out to those we love and walk through the world-changing story of the Christ Child born in a manger. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Every Christmas Eve our children pile onto the family room floor and sleep around the Christmas tree. Then Christmas morning we my husband and I are awakened (early!) by them singing Joy to the World – and blowing a bugle! Those who have left home try to come back at least for the early morning tradition. 🙂

  22. We have a very “homespun” Christmas tree full of homemade and meaningful ornaments and I love enjoying each of them during the season.

  23. My favorite tradition is an advent calendar I made and daily devotion using a book by Ann Hibbard. When my children were small they loved putting the daily ornament on the calendar tree.

  24. Getting out the Christmas decorations and looking for that one special decoration-hollowed out hard boiled egg that I made in brownies some 45 years ago. I always wonder if it will still be ok or broken. It is such a meaningful ornament.

    • I have TWO of those egg ornaments, Diana! Also made when I was a Brownie, even more than 45 years ago! :>) Every year I take the ornaments out, hoping they will still be in one piece. So far…they are!

  25. Christmas morning we usually have cinnamon rolls, I turn on Christmas music and my ex husband comes over. We unwrap presents with our son and just hang out together. My ex husband and I are on good terms and God has used it for good.

  26. I love this time of year! We are in Advent right now and looking toward Christmas! I am love love love the Advent Wreath with the 24 candles and would use that along with reading a chapter each day. Thanks for sharing the wonderful news of Christmas!

    • I had a dear Anglican friend explain that Advent comes first, with its own beautiful traditions and music and sense of anticipation. We rush into Christmas, but this time of waiting is precious too! Bless you for the reminder, Emly.

  27. My sister and I each have a treasured ornament hanging on our Christmas trees. It is a crystal heart remembering our dear Mom who passed away on July 25th five months before Christmas day. Our Mom was the heart of our family and each year when we place this on our trees we reflect and are thankful for the heart she had for our families and the place she still holds within our hearts. We are thankful for all she continues to mean to us and that she spends all her days as Christmas with the one who came at Christmas for us.

  28. Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. My family and I usually walk around the neighborhood to deliver treats; then in the evening we have a special meal by candlelight and a devotional to help us focus on the reason for the season before we go to sleep.

    • Love your hearts after His. *Thank you* for sharing here, Alison…Pray with me? That more folks draw closer to Jesus this Advent? 🙂

  29. Just being with family is my favorite way to celebrate Christmas. We open presents Christmas morning and eat a wonderful meal of spaghetti (half-Italian, new tradition started last year) and enjoy being in each other’s company.

  30. I love our Christmas eve traditions so much. We always make a chocolate birthday cake for Jesus and read Twas the Night before Christmas.

  31. My favorite Christmas tradition is spending the night Christmas eve with my parents. I have no children of my own. So over the years I have brought my husband and joined my parents for Christmas morning. We wake up. Enjoy our coffee together in front of the fireplace and beside the tree. We always exchange little gifts too. There are other good times with the whole family (brothers, sisters-in-law, and nieces and nephews), but this is most special with my parents and my husband. I look forward to it all year since we live far apart and don’t get to visit often.

    • Oh, how wonderful, Sarah! Your words here are a gift — that celebrate Jesus! HIs is coming! 🙂

  32. My family is Jewish and doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I’m only 22 and so I don’t have a family to celebrate with. However, last year I spent Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and they gave me a “Mandi’s First Christmas” ornament. I truly cherish any ornament I’m given because I didn’t grow up with them. Just to be able to celebrate with other believers is the biggest blessing.

  33. Christmas Eve go to parents to open gifts with all family members. Then Chrismas Day everyone that can come here for Christmas dinner.

  34. Candlelight. It is my absolute favorite Christmas tradition! Throughout Advent we bring out Ann’s Cradle to Cross Advent wreath, place Mary on the donkey at the beginning of her journey, and light the candle as we read together and the kids sing their favorite carols. The glow on their faces is absolutely magical!

  35. Every year before bed on Christmas Eve I read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to our kids. 🙂

  36. I love the tradition of decorating with my nativity scenes – I have a few & each are special & sacred to me. Everything else seems to pale in comparison to them 🙂

  37. We have a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas eve and my kids decorate a cake for Him. I love the time to stop and truly remember the reason that we are celebrating this day!

  38. We have so many its hard to choose just one, but I would have to say it would be anything that is directly involving family like decorating the Christmas tree, going to Bentleyville~Christmas lights, etc.; and the kindness and spirit of giving
    that is seen so much more during this season of our Saviour’s birth!

  39. I love everything about Christmas! Decorating, baking and having my kids come home are some of the best things. And taking time to sit each evening in the dark with tree lights on is something I am cherishing more and more.

  40. I love everything about Christmas! Christ’s birth, decorating to celebrate, the wonder in the children’s eyes, just everything! Would love to have these books to learn more!

  41. We gather around the tree each night, light the candles and do our family Advent devotions. Then we place a piece of our nativity in its place in the scene. Then we open a little box containing a small gift for the night, usually just a piece of chocolate for each of us. It’s a special quiet time together.

  42. Almost two years ago, I married a man with three wonderful boys. We started a tradition of baking a giant cookie for Santa. I asked the boys last year what one of their favorite traditions is and this was their favorite, even though we just started it. The two older boys know that Santa is not real but they still enjoy this every year.

  43. My favorite tradition is decorating w my kids down at my parents house after Thanksgiving. We would love to win these books & make them a tradition too.

  44. Years ago, my family stopped giving each other presents. We give to our favorite charities instead, in one another’s names. This has made the holidays something sacred, where we do not ever feel the stress of Christmas or the rush which comes with it. Instead, we can focus on what really matters: Jesus and each other.

    • Stacy! LOVE your heart after His, sister! Thrilled that you are *getting* the greatest gift at Christmas — as you get to be closer to Him in the giving!

  45. On Thanksgiving Day, my husband and I and our 2 children go to my parents. After the meal, my 2 brothers and their families and my family put up my parent’s Christmas tree. Special tradition we have done for over 20 years. At my house, we put our Christmas tree up and talk about the memories. 90% of our ornaments have a story to go behind them. Every time we go on a vacation or big trip, we get an ornament from there. Our tree truly tells a story!

    Family time is special and the Christmas tree traditions will be a special memory for my children when they are older.

  46. Christmas is all about tradition as I have counted over 50 of them! Attending Christmas Eve service, making special treats, connecting with family and friends…yes I will get my Christmas cards out this year! I am drawn to the focus on Christ that these resources provide. Merry Christmas everyone!

  47. This would be such an amazing gift.
    On Christmas eve we go look at Christmas lights. Then Christmas morning we read the Christmas story and relax with our family in our pj’s all day.

  48. This year is going to be different as I will be alone for the first time, so I am working on creating new traditions. However, one of my most favorite memories of years past is when the 4 of us would decorate the tree. After the lights were put on, we’d each take 3 of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” ornaments randomly out of the box. Whatever “days” we got, were the ones that we would sing. The person who got “five golden rings” sang it dramatically as possible! It was so wonderful to start the tree-trimming with singing together as a family! We would always have Rice Krispies treats that nigh; it was the only day of the year I made those, so they were special and associated with tree decorating. After the tree was decorated and everyone went to bed, I’d usually stay up a bit in the dark with only the tree lights on and thank God for His gift of Jesus and for the wonder of the season.

  49. My husband and I surprise each other with an ornament that represents something from that year. We’ve been doing this since we were dating and our tree is now filling up with these special ornaments. We also now have a 1 year old son, and are excited about joining him in on the ornament tradition and starting other new family Christmas traditions. It has been fun to read others comments of their traditions bc it is giving me lots of neat ideas 🙂

  50. Christmas Eve we attend Christmas Eve service at our church. Christmas Day is spent with extended family. When the children were younger we spent time each day doing the advent calendars.

  51. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is doing our Jesse Tree every morning together. A mom’s group made these beautiful, handmade Jesse Trees years ago for all the women in the group, and they have blessed us dividends!
    Sarah M

  52. Living in central Arizona means a brown Christmas. So we have made it a tradition to make sure our kiddo gets a little snow experience by taking her to a local Christmas festival where they make snow for the kids to play in. She looks forward to it.

  53. My favorite tradition is driving around to look at Christmas lights after the Christmas Eve candlelight service.

  54. Christmas holidays for me were all about being with grandparents. We baked cookies, wrapped gifts, drove around New Braunfels, Texas, looking at the lights, attended Christmas eve services. Everyone was together at one house on Christmas Eve and another house on Christmas Day. Since they have all been gone over 10 years, things are not the same. I am trying to start new traditions with my daughter like seeing the Nutcracker and attending all Christmas services we can find. She enjoys being in the annual Christmas pagent at church. Ann’s Advent book will be another new tradition!

  55. I love reading Christmas books to my kids. My absolute favorite is One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham. Every year I get a new book to read to them.

  56. Christmas is a favorite time of year for me because my family always bakes a dessert together on Christmas Eve. 🙂

  57. My favorite Christmas traditions ate many as I am so blessed. We start by my Mamaw and I spending Christmas eve night at my sister’s house so that we can watch my nieces open Santa gifts on Christmas morning. On Christmas eve, my Mom reads the Christmas Story from my niece’s Bible, a tradition started with my great-grandmother when my sister and I were small, and carried on by my Mom, my niece’s Nanny. On Christmas morning, my niece, Tinsley, wakes us all up by 7 at the latest, western we do the tree and then my Mom makes her traditional Christmas waffles,which she has been doing as long as I can remember. It’s truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Having all my family together in one house makes it all the more special! And before Christmas, my Mom and I always get together at her house to decorate, just the two of us. We decorate the tree together, Mom puts her Santas on the mantle and I put up the nativity that my grandfather bought the year I was born just fir me,which will be 47 years ago this year. My birthday is December 8, and my Mom never puts up her decorations up until after my birthday, because she never wanted me to think that my birthday was a part of Christmas, that it was a special day all my own!
    I also have a wonderful tradition with my Dad. We all go to his house on Christmas eve,have Mexican food, and open presents. My stepmother brings my nieces over a couple of days early to make Christmas cookies,so that we can have those on Christmas eve.
    Even though my parents may be divorced, they both make Christmas extra special, each with their own traditions. Again, I am so very blessed! To God be the glory!

  58. I was given an ornament of a tiny angel kneeling beside the Savior’s manger which always is put in the middle of our tree below the small sign that says “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” Then someone gave us an electrical connection which makes ornaments turn around and around so I put it above the manger with a shining star twirling above the manger which always focuses us on the joy and light He brought to our lives, that tiny Babe in the wooden manger Who would one day hang on a roughed Cross paying the debt I couldn’t pay for myself! Near the manger ornament hang three spikes on ribbon to remind us of His suffering. So amidst the beauty of the Christmas tree, the pain of that old rugged Cross promises us the beauty of Heaven and His Presence because He came as a Babe one starlit night to save us from our sins!

  59. My all-time favorite Christmas tradition is when I was young (I am now 50 years old!) and I and my three younger brothers would gather with Mom (now in Heaven) and Dad in the living room (a room us kids were never allowed in except for special occasions) on Christmas Eve. After eating a wonderful meal my mom cooked and we ate off the ‘best’ china, we gathered there to listen to our Dad read the Christmas story from Luke 2. The lights were low, the Christmas tree lights were on, and all of us were quiet for the reading. Then we talked some about Christmas and the true meaning. Then we exchanged our small gifts to each other. It was such a precious time together as a family. It’s bringing tears to my eyes as I remember it! Thank you for letting me share!

  60. One evening in the Christmas season we make a list of people who are hurting and have been suffering. We put the names in a hat, take turns drawing a name then praying for them. After praying for a few people we light a candle on the nativity candle holder and continue praying. (There are four candles) We always feel at the end that we have touched the heart of Jesus because he is close to the broken hearted. You just have to have had one Christmas of grieving to know how hard the season can be and how much you need prayer at this time. It has become a tradition that we do every year.

  61. An apple and orange and chocolate in the stocking. Would love to receive the books. Love both authors.

  62. I’m 27 and I still love the tradition my parents have kept up of giving us new Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve…my sisters and I are both married and our husbands are now included in this tradition.
    My mother-in-law also plays “find the pickle.” She hides a pickle ornament on her tree and the “kids” (me, my husband, his sister and her husband) compete to find the pickle and win movie tickets. So much fun!

  63. Our family gives each other gifts that money can’t buy, such as wisdom for a big decision in the next year, or a different job, or healing. We all go around and speak words of encouragement to each other and each year it is consistently one of our favorite times of being together.

  64. We are a young family so we don’t have a lot of traditions yet, but I have been desiring to really make Christmas meaningful in our home by pointing everything we do back to Jesus, but we have started some and one of them is making an ornament for our tree from a cut log.

  65. Our favorite tradition is actually reading your original Jesse tree book that I downloaded off of your website a few years back! Like you, we are raising 6 (soon to be 7) children, and want to keep the focus on Christ. We buy animals through the Compassion and World Vission catalogs as gifts for those who need them. It’s a great way to celebrate Christ’s birthday.

  66. After years of materialistic, meaningless gift-giving with extended family, this year, instead, we are each giving to my Mom’s favorite charity…a Christian home for abused and troubled boys and girls. My Mom is 82 and we are all tired of the “worldly” influence of a season that should be about Christ, His gift to us and our command to love one another. I’ve just read Ann’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and began The Greatest Gift this morning. What a blessing! I’m looking forward to Christmas 2014 more than any I have ever experienced…and in 54 years, that’s saying a lot.

  67. What a lovely post! While we have many little traditions, the very act of gathering each Christmas and having a wonderful meal together has become the most significant. My sister-in-law and two young nieces died when they were trapped in their van during a flash flood 3 years ago. Our gathering has taken on new meaning as we remember, support each other, and move forward together. Even though we are the kind of family that is together often, Christmas Day is special. God has blessed abundantly!

  68. Every year we do the annual Christmas #treejump!!! we pick out the tree to saw down and then we take pics of each other soaring over these little baby trees! Not sure if it’s the joy of jumping or the deeper idea that we have overcome anther year on this earth but either way, its a blast and we just can’t wait to do it again next year!

  69. After 2 Christmas Eve services (my husband is a pastor, I am a worship leader) we gather at our home with our adult children and eat a simple meal of finger foods and desserts. Then we open presents, one person at a time, youngest to oldest. We stay up late, drink coffee and play games! It’s my most favorite night of the year!

  70. Christmas eve service, then Alistair Sim’s ‘A Chrismas Carol’. The next morning, Christmas presents and family breakfast. All three kids are grown and gone, but we all still gather for Christmas morning. Blessed!

  71. My husband of 26 years went home to be with the Lord in September 2011, since family was his favorite thing, I still struggle with “family” holiday times…each year I pray it will be different but not so far (Why You Don’t Have to Hold it Together During the Holidays was definitely for me). One thing I can count on to keep me in a good place through the holidays is serving through my church outreach ministries. Providing Christmas for families who need help, a Christmas class party we do each year for a 2nd grade class of a teacher who attends our church whose kiddos are likely not going to have much Christmas, and one of my favorites things, serving lunch at a homeless shelter. The books would be awesome, I live with my youngest son’s family (4 of my grandchildren) so Unwrapping The Greatest Gift would be fun to do with them, and lead a support group for women going through life struggles that would enjoy the Women of Christmas! Love, Love, LOVE your website! Be blessed, Denise

  72. Hello 🙂
    I have a few favorite traditions. One is decorating while watching its a wonderful life or white Christmas with my kids. We try really hard to have a daily devotional with the kids each night of December (its sometimes a challenge with 4 teens)… but we read and pray with whomever is home.
    We always spend the night with all the kids at my parents on Christmas Eve after service.
    We try to make Christmas more about sharing Christ and who he is than focusing on what we will “get” on Christmas day!

  73. My husband’s family has a special cookie they make … and now we make! We’ve made them all of our nearly 25 years of marriage, and if nothing else is baked, they find their way to the table. On Christmas morning, I make an egg casserole (to make myself feel better…), but the real centerpiece of breakfast is … the family Christmas cookie! My husband turns on the Ray Coniff singers’ Christmas album, and their voices herald the start of our celebration. We sing along as we eat our cookies and coffee/cocoa and savor the taste of sweet time together.

  74. my favorite childhood memory is Christmas eve at my grandmother’s – always her special veggie soup that nobody else can make, candied apples, spice cookies. Gifts from relatives and then sometimes my parents would take us to midnight service at my uncle’s Episcopalian church. So beautiful. I miss it every year.

  75. We have an Advent calendar made from our kids Christmas socks that we put on a little clothesline. Every night, there is a special Christmas activity or treat-such as watching a Christmas movie, eating/making a special snack, or doing an activity that we put into the sock. The kids take turns opening the socks, and we spend time together as a family enjoying the season. Also, on Christmas Eve, we have a “feast.” We let each person choose one food that they really want to eat. We cook/make all those foods and eat whatever is there all together. It makes for a fun time!

  76. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year and I anticipate its arrival (for the next year) as soon as it ends!

    One of our traditions is shopping/packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child! As I’m shopping, I envision what the little faces on the receiving end do as they open their boxes. My heart fills with JOY and my eyes well with tears all at the same time. I’m reminded each and every year how blessed I am and tend to take that for granted.

    Our family also reads the Christmas story before we exchange gifts with each other so that our focus remains solely on His MOST AMAZING GIFT to each of us! 🙂

  77. I always remember Christmas Eve at our house. Candlelight services at church, light supper and opening packages at Grandma and Grandpas house. Such a blessed holy time!

  78. My favorite Christmas decorations are the ceramic nativity scene that my mother-in-law made and a glass jar full of the first ornaments that my parents hung on their Christmas tree in 1958. Merry Christmas!

  79. Ann, I’ve just started reading “The Greatest Gift” and am loving it already! Your writing is always so beautiful and exquisite! I think a new favorite tradition will be reading it every year during Advent. Right now I’m borrowing the book from the library and I’d love to have a copy to keep. I would also love to begin the tradition of The Jesse Tree with my family. Thank for your lovely writing that has blessed and touched so many! This is such a kind and generous giveaway!

  80. My favorite Christmas tradition is going to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Right when all the candles are lit and everyone raises them up is such a beautiful sight to see.

  81. Our favorite tradition is making homemade gingerbread for the kids to decorate with family and friends.

  82. Tradition has changed since my divorce almost two years ago and since moving back home. Now we are in a different state and our income looks a lot different, so I enjoy having a simple Christmas these days. It takes the pressure off in so many ways!!!

  83. I love Christmas! I wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put the tree up and put out the decorations. My kids help. It’s such a fun, relaxing day. No Black Friday shopping for me. And sometime in December we make Christmas cookies. My kids, nieces and nephews, or whoever happens to be at our house that day help cut cookies out and decorate them. They have so much fun doing this. Then every Christmas eve is spent with my family at lunch and my husband’s family that night and Christmas Day is just our day to spend at home together. Oh and I can’t forget about watching It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve too. I love that movie!

  84. My Uncle Chris always sends us a gallon of maple syrup from New Hampshire, and we look forward to waffles for Christmas breakfast. This Advent because Ann mentioned new pjs in an activity for the first day of Advent, I brought out a nightie and robe from my mom that I hadn’t yet worn. It’s white, and I am amazed at how I love wearing a white robe for Advent. Thanks, Ann! Light of Christ to you.

  85. Every year of my kids lives I have bought/made them an ornament that has some meaning of the past year of their life….now that they are 26 and 21 it is so much fun to decorate the tree with the ornaments and laugh and talk about the memories associated with each ornament. Some day when they are both married I hope to give them their ornaments for their homes.

  86. My favorite Christmas tradition was doing an Advent Calendar. I’m hoping to start doing some Advent readings each night with my little boys.

  87. How I wish this was around when I was a young mom… I use to tend toward extremes… I started trimming holiday excess and ended up hacking it all to death and losing the joy and art of celebration… so now… I am redeeming all that was lost… I have married kids (who have extended such grace to me) and love giving these books to them… a way of sharing what was always in my heart…but with grace and celebration!!!!

  88. We buy ornaments for our girls and our nieces/nephew each year. When our nephew passed away, his mom put up a small tree with all his ornaments on it. We still buy them for the girls and now our great niece and nephew. It’s fun to get different ones as they all get older and get married. The books would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s library!

  89. My favorite Christmas tradition is baking and frosting sugar cookies with my mom, sisters, and cousins.

  90. Favorite Christmas traditions…decorating the tree together, advent wreath, adornaments, Christmas Eve service…there are too many to pick one. : )

  91. We have seven (young) children, and I’m NOT a great mum. (Like, when people ask me, “How do you manage?”, I often admit, “I don’t!”) So it was really precious this past Sunday afternoon when I got the big box with all the Christmas books, decorations, cards, etc. out of the garage and we unpacked, and the children got excited and into the spirit of this special time. It felt like good family bonding. Similar tonight after dinner when we unpacked a parcel from the grandparents abroad, specially made up for the Advent season with home baking and calendars … valueable! Thank you, Lord.

  92. My favourite tradition is to spend the night at my parents with my husband children!! We go to a little country church (the one I grew up in, in Molesworth, Ontario — you know that place, don’t you, Ann!!!) on Christmas Eve! So often, big, fat snowflakes are falling on our exit from the building! Love that tradition and so many others! Our girls love our new tradition — Advent with Ann Voskamp!!! Thank you for inspiring great discussions in our home about Jesus and how we can live to bless others!

  93. For Christmas, since there is so many of us in my family, we always have a White Elephant gift exchange. It would be hard to get each and every person the kind of gift we want to give and we think they deserve so we express our love through this fun game! There are always really cool gifts in there like Broncos tickets/gear, iPods, comfy sweaters/jackets, gift cards, lotions/perfumes, tool kits, etc. But the best part of it all isn’t the actual presents, it is how much laughter comes out of playing this game! A random competitive nature is sparked in each of us and we just have the best time messing with each other while we compete for whatever gift we want the most. It is the hype of our night. We, of course, follow this game by some additional card/board games which keep the energy and fun up. But, I look forward to sharing those belly-busting chuckles with my family so much more than anything else during Christmas break.

  94. Reading the Chistmas story from the Bible and then The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.

  95. Christmas Eve finds the children and grandchildren gathered around Papa as he reads our copy of The Night Before Christmas ( our 39 year old copy). On Christmas morning Papa reads The Christmas Story from the gospel of Luke to everyone. Reading has always been a treasured past time in the Wright family. We would love to add these books to our library.

  96. Our Christmas tradition is to cook a traditional Jamaican meal to be homage to my family roots. We cook rice & peas, curry cabbage, curry shrimp, ackee & saltfish, plantain and homemade ginger beer. We also have a tradition Jamaican Black Cake which I have to purchase because I haven’t had anyone to teach me how to make it. The cake requires months of advance preparation with the soaking of fruit.

  97. Growing up, we would celebrate Christmas by going to Christmas Eve service and when my dad, the Pastor, would come home after the last service, then we would open one gift and eat Christmas cookies! Then on Christmas Morning we would go to service and then come home and open the rest of the gifts and just enjoy each other! When I got married, we ended up moving away, so we started our own tradition of Christmas Eve service and then driving around looking at Christmas lights, then have the kids open one gift when we got home along with Christmas cookies of course. Then they would write a note to Santa and leave cookies and milk for him. On Christmas morning the kids would get up early, run downstairs for their stockings and then would crawl into bed with us and show us everything they got in their stockings. We would go down for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day relaxing and opening gifts and playing! For dinner we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and all blow out the candles on His cake! Now that the kids are grown and married, we have several different traditions! We have started our own “Deck the Balls” Party a couple weeks prior to Christmas with extended families and everything, including games and food are in the form or shape of balls! Of course we still go to our Christmas services and sometimes we have Progressive dinner celebrations at each of the kids homes and open their gifts at each home, etc. The main theme that has always stayed is that we have Christmas Eve service, celebrating Christ’s birth!

    I would love to have friends join me in the book study about women and Christmas! I would also love to share the devotional with my children!

    Thank you for the opportunity!

  98. My favorite Christmas tradition is a little crazy. I’m a worship director at my church, so everything I do is to create an atmosphere where others can worship. When it’s all over, I’ve been on the job really about 24/7 for the previous six weeks, so on Christmas eve, I like to go alone, incognito, with an anonymous “sack” over my identity, and I go to another church’s 11 p.m. candlelight communion service and pour my tired heart out into the Lord’s capable hands. I find Christ there every time. I could never tell you what the preacher talked about, or even what songs we sang, but I find what I need in that sanctified moment of being a part of the congregation, not the leader. I’m so grateful I discovered that way to truly begin my personal Christmas.

  99. We put our cozy pjs on, make a thermos of hot cocoa and head out in the car with blankets to cruise around and look at Christmas lights! Fun!

  100. We started hanging a special stocking for Jesus. Throughout the month, we all write gifts we’d like to give. On Christmas morning, we sit and read them together. We’ve saved those treasured little pieces of paper and I love reading them. “Dear Jesus, I want to bring you a follower.” “Dear Jesus, I give you my hands.” “Dear Jesus, I want to encourage others.” -Dedication and a heart’s prayer written on paper.

  101. our Christmas tradition is while we put up the tree we talk about Jesus birth, sing carols and end our night watching a family Christmas movie!

  102. Oh, the Christmas tradition in our family that I
    soooooooooo look forward to is a evening out to see
    Handel’s Messiah!! I love it every year and this year we
    have our seats at The Segerstrom Hall on Dec 14th!
    I can hardly wait!
    blessings to you both,

  103. We started a new tradition a few years ago by attending the Cathedral Choir’s Handel’s Messiah concert. It’s this coming Saturday and two of my daughters will be singing in the choir with over 100 voices!! It is so beautiful!

  104. A tradition we began a few years back and have come to cherish is watching the sun rise over the ocean on Christmas morning. Feeling close to God and reflecting on the birth of our Savior instead of only focusing on opening gifts. This is my children’s first Christmas without their Dad. He passed away suddenly in March. Our traditions and faith will be what comforts us this Christmas. God bless xo

  105. On Christmas Eve we attend the candlelight service at church. On the way home we look at the lights of town. Once home we fix some appetizers and open presents. Christmas morning is a time for Jammie’s, eating eggnog Frnch toast and watching old movies or working a jigsaw puzzle. The day passes with simply spending time together as a family.

  106. Our family loves to spend time with Framily(friends that are family) surrounding ourselves with the people we Love is the best tradition we have.Add some fun &yummy food and the Season of Celebrating Jesus is Perfect.

  107. One of my favorite traditions that we started a few years ago with our kiddos is driving around in our pjs and looking at the Christmas lights while listening to a Christmas musical mix my hubbie put together. We always find a parking lot or somewhere that overlooks a house with lots of lights and the kids get out of their car seats and sit on our laps for a little while. Those moments I just want to bottle up and keep forever. When Silent Night plays…it brings such peace and calm. No matter what the year has held for our family, my husband and I hold hands and are reminded that our time here is very short, and every minute counts. So much to celebrate! Christ the Savior was born and the story didn’t stop there! Glory to God!

  108. My favorite tradition in my family dates back to before I was born. My mom and I bake chocolate cut-outs (my great-grandmothers recipe) and sugar-cookie cut-outs (over 1000 the last couple of years), then the whole family and lots of friends come together for a full day of cookie frosting and decorating. Then we make up trays and deliver the cookies to friends and family during the week of Christmas.

  109. Last year, we started doing a Christmas Eve box with our daughter. It contains a movie, pjs, and snacks for all of us. It has become a fun tradition for all of us…wonderful quality time for our family.

  110. Celebrating Advent with our children each year. The most peaceful and memorable times of the season. Wide eyed night gown wearing little girls turning into young adults who still cherish the story and have wreaths setup in their homes reading to her young daughter now.

  111. This Christmas our family has rented a huge lake home for the week starting Christmas Eve. All three adult children, spouses, and seven grandchildren will spend time together. No one has to clean, we will bring food to share, and just enjoy being together. These would be great books to share among us that week!

  112. One of our traditions each year is to drive around and look at Christmas lights, then stop and get doughnuts to have on Christmas morning.

  113. One tradition that I started just a few short Christmas Eve’s ago, is the reading of the wonderful Max Lucado’s Christmas book, “The Crippled Lamb”. A beautifully written story about how God can use all of us for His purpose! …even a crippled little lamb named Joshua…
    We talk for a bit afterwards about the wonder of that first Christmas many years ago. The story is geared toward the younger grandchildren however, the teenagers and adults love to join in on the conversation, also!

  114. My sister and I took turns during advent moving the wiseman all over the house until Epiphany. We knew their journey was long. Also, if my mom put Jesus out, we would hide him until Christmas when he was really supposed to arrive…well, Christmas Eve when we got back from our Christmas Eve service. 🙂

  115. I have so many great memories from my childhood, and those I’ve started with my own family.
    – church, dinner, and gifts at grandparent’s on Christmas eve
    – chocolate chip coffee cake and presents on Christmas morning
    – helping with the dinner at church for those who didn’t have family around, this even was extra special as it was started by my aunt and uncle
    – getting everyone new jammies for Christmas, I wait until everyone heads to the car for Christmas Eve church and then put the new jammies under the tree for everyone to see when we get home
    – birthday cake for Jesus to eat with Christmas dinner
    – special advent countdowns to remember the meaning of the season

  116. I love taking the time to reminisce over the ornaments that I place on our “family” tree each year. We’ve been married for 26 yrs! Our ornaments include several from my childhood that I made, several that I handmade from our first few years of marriage, ornaments they the years that we bought for our two sons and ones that they handmade, ornaments that has been given to us in years of ministry, etc! Each branch hangs low from each ornament having such cherished places in our hearts! I love our “family” tree even more so now that both of my boys live out on their own.

  117. My favorite memory is christmas eve caroling around our small neighborhood. We also go to the Christmas craft fair at Knotts berry farm. We bundle up in warm clothes and drink warm apple cider.

  118. Our girls, 8 & 10, putting up the creche that came from my Granny’s childhood home. Christmas Eve candlelight service. Family playing games by the fire on Christmas eve. Caroling. New one this year — taking the girls to pack meals at Feed My Starving Children.

  119. Would love to have these 2 special books! Now that it is just the 2 of us (hubby & me), we keep Christmas simple. We put up our olivewood carved nativity set. We send Christmas cards and giftcards to our grandkids. We get out some of our favorite Christmas music to play– like Denver & the Mile High Orchestra. We also seem to drink more hot chocolate around Christmas. We choose what charities to donate to instead of presents, and finally we go to Christmas Eve service.

  120. I cook my children and grand children’s favorite foods for a meal we share and open gifts from each other. We open gifts starting with the youngest and work our way to the oldest. My sons always have in their stack of presents a box of Mississippi made cheese sticks. It’s fun watching them try to figure out which box they’re in. My grand children always get socks as one of their gifts and are expecting them. I love my family beyond measure and love spending time with them making memories.

  121. come from a large family. Nine chidren and three sets of multiples. We always enjoyed decorating our christmas tree on christmas eve. As we got older we helped wrap gifts. I always loved christmas mass. I love silent night and it is so special when sung by a christmas chorus. As we all live far fromeach other now, i keep in touch and usually try to make and send a personally made item to my brothers and sisters. Eleven years ago i lost my husband to cancer and have since looked to God for all things He can provide. After reading One Thousand Gifts i find somethings to celebrate everyday, small or big. My two sons are in their twenties and believe but do not share my deep devotion. We don’t have a lot of funds available but we give simple, useful gifts and delight in being with each other.

  122. Just got the Greatest Gift book in the mail after seeing the code on Jen Hatmaker’s blog and started it tonight with my 19 year old daughter who has autism. She loved the illustrations, loves when I read to her and now she wants to make a Jesse tree – made me feel like my kids were small again:) Thanks Ann Voskamp!

  123. We love going to a local farm to pick our tree. Our three kids each help in different ways.

  124. December is full of little traditions for our family. We have a special first ornament for our tree (Santa kneeling by Jesus in a manger), we have a family bake day (cousins play while my sister and brothers and our mom fill the air with sweet aromas!), church service on Christmas Eve – followed by boxes of donut dozens being delivered to those that must work on that night, Christmas Day is spent with family and friends; the more the merrier! Throw in some hot chocolate and Christmas lights viewing and watching our five kids on Christmas morning and the wonderful talks we all have around our table… December is cherished.

  125. We have so many traditions I love: Looking at Christmas lights, reading the Jesse tree devotions nightly, having family movie night with just the lights from the Christmas tree. I have both of these books, but would love to give them as gifts. What a great giveaway!!

  126. My favorite family tradition is getting our Christmas tree. We all go, including our dog, to a tree farm near our home. We walk around trying to decide which one is the best. I enjoy the tree the most and would be happy having a tree in my house all year long!

  127. When I was a kid, I loved Christingle services on Christmas Eve. The church made up the Christingles, which were an orange with a candle sticking out of the top, a red ribbon around it, and 4 cocktail sticks stuck in it with fruit/sweets on them. From what I remember, the orange represented the world, the candle Jesus (light of the world), the red ribbon represented Jesus’ blood, the cocktail sticks the 4 seasons of the year, and the fruit/sweets the blessings God gives us all year round.

    We were given one each and we’d all light each other’s candles, then stand in a circle and sing a carol by the light of our Christingles.

  128. We buy a new ornament with the year on it. We started this in 1987. The kids love picking out a new one for the tree every year. These books would be wonderful reads!!!!

  129. My family loves to drive through the our town’s Christmas in the Park light display. It’s the largest free light display in the state, and we usually go about 10 times from Thanksgiving til New Year’s.

  130. Since being married, my husband and I have made it a tradition to spend as much time as possible as Chrietmas with my inlaws. They live 10 hours away, so we can rarely afford to visit. I truly cherish the time I spend with them and am looking forward to the trip again this year!!

  131. I’m from Argentina, so we celebrate Christmas in summer… Church service and family gathering are a must, as it is also spending Christmas day “in the water” (a pool, a stream, a river…I’m from Misiones, a beautiful and blessed province, jungles and water courses everywhere…just amazing)
    Here in Argentina the tree is set up on Dec 8 (catholic holiday, something to do with the Virgin’s conception) I was born on Dec 6, and my father insisted that the tree should be up by then (usually, the evening before) He passed away several years ago, so that tradition was left aside until a couple of years ago when my brother and sister in law surprised me by sending me a picture of their tree…set up right on time for my birthday. I’m still single and living a thousand miles away from them (literally). Usually go home for the holidays but never decorate my apartment. This year my mom is coming for my birthday, so I’m setting up a tree of my own 🙂 And I’m going home for the holidays, this year spending it at my cousin’s. Her girls are participating in the church celebration (usually a small play about Christmas and a “kid-choir”) We used to participate as well so it’s just wonderful having them do the same. Feliz Navidad!!! Nacio Jesus!! 🙂

  132. We set a date with our grown children (1 baby) and have an Annual Paper Sack outing together. Starts with me packing yummy lunches for everyone to eat along the way to destination. Emphasis on being together for family fun rather than the whole big “giftitis”. We also do a “Dicker with a Dime” (my made up game) on Christmas Gathering. Everyone brings 50 dimes and a $5 gift. We have great fun auctioning gifts and collected money goes to someone in need. God is so good. We try to make December more about walking hand in hand with Jesus than commercialism. That said, I love decorating my home to create a cozy and warm invite! Joy and peace to everyone, this special time of year.

  133. I make Chex Mix. I don’t make it any other time of year, so that is the smell of Christmas to me! I also LOVE unpacking all the ornaments I’ve had since childhood & putting them on the tree.

  134. Thank you for the opportunity to win these books. One special memory of mine from when I was a little girl was setting up the nativity and playing for hours, moving all the little figurines around.

    Merry Christmas and God Bless!

    Susan C.

  135. Hello, I enjoy my family very much! After my siblings have Christmas morning with their families they come over to my parents home. We usually eat first, clean up the dishes so mom doesn’t have to do all the work. Then it is time for sharing which reflects on the specialness of Christmas-JESUS. Whomever feels lead will share something special in their lives, read a story or poem or play a song on an instrument. Then we open presents one at a time and each person is thanked for their gift and after all the gift exchanging we read the Christmas story and we close the time we have shared with prayer. It truly is a wonderful celebration of love!

  136. I most love creating anticipation with advent reading. It’s so special to get to the birth of Jesus on Christmas day, but then we keep going until we get to the visit of the wise men so we can talk about the significance of their gifts and why Jesus came. We don’t do a lot of “stuff” but we get a lot of Jesus in our minds. Love this season!

  137. A favorite tradition — set up the manger scene at the beginning of Dec. but leave baby Jesus out. Put out the empty manger. Have small pieces of straw cut up. – about two inches long. Every day the children can put one piece of straw in the manger or stable to make a soft bed for Jesus. To earn the straw they must do a good deed, help someone, pray a special prayer for someone, but be anonymous – or at least do not get a reward. Your deed is dedicated to the Lord in secret. He gets all the credit. Our hearts are prepared for the one greater than us all.

  138. On Christmas Eve we share a fondue meal with our four children (and now with their significant others). It’s such a relaxing time as we wait for the bite-size pieces of meat sizzling in the hot oil, pass the bread cubes and veggies for the cheese fondue, and then enjoy fruit and other goodies dipped in warm chocolate for dessert. Over the years I’ve learned to delegate some of the meal prep tasks, so even the pre-dinner activities find us all in the kitchen at cutting boards, setting the table, etc. It’s just being together that makes it special!

  139. Every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, we meet at my Grandma Dar’s house. We ALWAYS eat chili and we ALWAYS read the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20. My favorite time of the year!!

  140. Every year we put up the tree and decorate the house as a family. We also go to my moms and my grandmas Christmas parties and eat tamales (we live in South Texas). Looking forward to those every year!!!

  141. Growing up in a family of 7 my parents lined us up at the top of the stairs in our P.J.’s before we could go see what Santa brought us. We always sang Oh Holy Night. All of the Christmas carols hold such strong meaning. But that one Oh Holy Night really means the most. Both of my parents are passed now but the memory feels like just yesterday. Thanks to both of you Ann and Liz being a new believer you have helped me more than words can say.

  142. We have celebrated Advent with the Jesse Tree every year for the past 14 years! We also paint Christmas cutouts before baking them every year for a stained glass effect – beautiful. A Christmas Eve morning brunch with friends is another tradition. I would LOVE both of these books by two of my favorite authors.

  143. Every Christmas we give each of our children and ourselves an ornament to hang on the tree. We try to purchase one that symbolizes something we did or somewhere we went that year. We write the year on the back of it. When they are grown up, they will receive all their ornaments.

  144. I LOVE Christmas time!! I adore the tree decorating with my children, the music, the Christmas Eve services at church, the family togetherness, the food.. all of it! I think my most favorite tradition is giving new pajamas on Christmas Eve. My family did this when I was growing up and we now do this for our kids. Kinda querky but fun!

  145. Every year we sit at the top of the stairs and take a picture with the four of us girls. We are now having children of our own so it may look different this year!

  146. One traditon is putting an angel on top of the tree that used to be our mother’s when she was a child! Another is White Chocolate Raspberry Cake on Christmas.Few food tradtions even at Christmas.

  147. I love Christmas time so much! When my children were little, my husband and I would take his mom and our 4 kids to pizza, on Christmas Eve, then drive around and look at all the beautiful lights. Then we would come home and have hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies. Now that my children are grown with their own families I usually have a day of baking where all the grandkids come over and we bake cookies till we drop! Them mom and dad come get them! Traditions change as we get older I guess. My very favorite ornament is a hollowed out goose egg, painted by my uncle, who is in Heaven. I’ve had it since my kids were little, and he gave it as a family gift, “because he could not afford to buy anything”. It is my most cherished ornament.

  148. I LOVED READING OF OTHERS TREASURED FAMILY TRADITIONS AND PLAN TO INCORPORATE SOME OF THEM INTO OUR OWN TREASURE TROVE OF CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS, some of which have already been mentioned and made me recall some of the ones we did when we were little girls in a family of 13.

    As a Grandma, my most treasured tradition is listening to my 10 grandchildren read the Christmas story before we share our Christmas meal. We don’t always get to worship together as a family…our children live in other towns, but we bring the focus on Jesus before our meal, with the simplest Children’s Bible version of the Christmas story. The older ones practice with the younger ones beforehand to memorize their lines as they cannot read yet. But they make sure all get a part, even if it’s just one simple line. Then we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Or my brother Bob plays Amazing Grace on his harmonica follwed by Silent Night.

    Of course, one of my personal favorite things to do is to read the devotionals for Advent that include some of your incouraging messages and keeps us yearning to welcome Jesus into our hearts once more. I love Christmas….and as I get older and cannot shop due to disabilities, it’s easier for me to enjoy the wonder of the season. He came. He came for me. He came for you. Isn’t it an amazing yet indescriblable gift? I’m grateful to our loving God and humbled. Thank you for your ministry. Be blessed!

  149. We leave our extended family on Christmas eve, head home and start prepping for the morning, when we’ll get up, the children opening simple stockings, before heading downstairs, cooking some breakfast and opening the front door for community breakfast. Anyone can come in. People we don’t know, people who would otherwise be starting the day on their own. It’s the best way we know to start Christmas day. The whole family loves it.

  150. My favorite part is Christmas Eve when we gather with my family for dinner and fellowship. When my boys were young after we got home and settled down, I would lead them to the nativity that was set-up in our big bay window and tell them the story of Jesus’ birth.

  151. My husband and I come from very separated families. He and I both come from broken homes. And remarriages. And more divorce. Because of that, holidays are hard on us with two littles. So we stay home in our pajamas all day long on Christmas. Whoever wants to see the girls (and us) comes anytime throughout the day. They get to sit and have coffee with us and watch the girls play. It is the one solid holiday that we have as a family. It’s my favorite for so many reasons. And hearing my 5 year old tell my 3 year old the story of the true meaning of Christmas melts my heart. As an adult, I learn so much from them. Oh to have that innocence and child like faith that the Lord calls us to have. <3

  152. I think my favorite thing in regards to Christmas is that we don’t stop on the 25th. Celebrating Epiphany has been one of the highlights now for many years. We eat Chinese food (no real reason…one year it was just too much to cook one more holiday meal, so we went with Chinese take-out. We now say it is because the Wise Men came from the East!), read various Scriptures that tell the Christmas story, and the children (now the grandchildren) put on a play. We adults enjoy one of the greatest laughs of the year with that play. They are so creative!

  153. My favorite Christmas tradition is spending Christmas Eve as a family and gathering around together in the living room, with the lights off, just the candles and Christmas lights on, and reading the story of Jesus from Luke.

  154. When I was growing up we had many Christmas traditions. When I married and became a mom, I tried to incorporate many of those traditions with my family. Now divorced, remarried, with adult children, a grandchild, and teenagers, for the last few years I’ve been slowly re-thinking the old traditions and trying to make new ones to re-discover the real meaning of Christmas. Also trying to incorporate giving to others in need. These books would make great gifts, if I win them I will give them away to special women in need in my community.

  155. We start the season with cutting our Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend…our married son has continued this tradition & our other 2 sons continue to be home fir this special weekend event every year. At 26 & 28 they still love opening their boxes of ornaments & placing them on the tree, sharing memories of past Christmas seasons. Tamale dinner on Christmas eve is another tradition that continues to bring great joy to this family as we open our home to friends & share the magic that happens as the gift of Christmas arrives at midnight each year.

  156. I love baking cookies with my Mom :), and now my kids too. My mom even adapted some recipes for my son’s milk allergy.

  157. Apple and orange in stockings, candel light service, last few years seeing a family friend dance in the nutcracker in a different city. Doing Christmas boxes for OCC or volunteering too. Love all of Christmas. Many times going and seeing family out of state. My mom is 92 this year. This year we will see my husbands mom who is 87. Merry Christmas. Love devotional and Christmas stories.

  158. We are living in the south of France for a year and looking forward to new traditions. They celebrate with the 13 desserts on Christmas Eve to stand for Christ and His 12 disciples, we can’t wait!

  159. We just remodeled and moved into my grandmother’s home so looking forward to a special Christmas with some new traditions and continuing some old ones like making smores on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning our kids take turns reading the Christmas story by verse and praying before we open any gifts. Last year we read The Greatest Gift for advent and I just bought Ann’s new family read so we’ll have a little catching up to do but will start reading this week. The kids are excited to hang the Jesse ornaments again this year! Would love to have Liz’s book also!!

  160. I usually drive from Alabama to South Carolina. I stop along the way for a Christmas Eve service. The last hour of the drive is usually the best. I listen to Christmas music and mediate on the birth of the Savior.

  161. We’re creating some new traditions as my daughter is just turning 4 and starting to learn the true meaning of Christmas. I started an activity Advent calendar this year. Day 1 – decorate the tree, day 2 – watch a movie, day 3 – we took her to an abbreviated version (translation: meant for kids) of The Nutcracker at a local univ.

  162. When I was a child, baking cookies was one of our family traditions. We baked for days, and the kitchen counters overflowed with plates of cookies. The smells of different cookies mixed with the smell of a fresh cut tree was exquisite. My mother always placed an advent wreath on the coffee table in the living room and explain what each candle represented every Sunday. My mother passed away in 2005, and my dad just passed away last month. I told my minister yesterday at our Bible study class (using ‘The Greatest Gift’ book as our advent study) that I had not placed my advent wreath out yet. That is one tradition I have kept going since I was a child.

  163. I made an advent calendar to create the Christmas story. Each night in December we would talk about scriptures related to that day’s figure (shepherd, sheep, angel, Mary, etc.) and sing a carol. By Christmas eve we had a beautiful scene. One of my daughters made 2 (updated and more crafty than mine) and the tradition continues.

  164. Each night after supper we read the scripture for our advent calender. We also read the story of Jesus.

  165. As a child, each Sunday in December, we would pile into the back of the car in our pajamas and go look at the Christmas lights in the neighborhoods near our house. This tradition has continued (with some modifications) as we grew up. 🙂 I no longer wear my pajamas on the drive, but we still go look at lights in December. Since getting married, my husband and I have been evaluating which traditions we want to have for our family and marking the Advent season with prayers, devotions, and an advent wreath are high on our list.

    I went through The Greatest Gift last year and am going through it again this year. I am so excited about the family version and would love to receive both of these books!

  166. Reading the accounts of Jesus birth from the Gospels, Christmas Eve service, opening one gift each on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Day, opening our gifts one at a time instead of all at once so we get to enjoy it more. When we were younger, we made homemade ornaments ( my sister made a big candy cane that was heavy and we always teased her that it would pull the whole tree over), driving around looking at all the lights. Our family has a favorite house that we love to visit each year that goes all out to celebrate and display the true meaning of Christmas. This home has multiple nativities, signs that say “Happy Birthday Jesus” & “Jesus is the reason for the season” & “Wise men still seek Him. ” This house has lighted angel figurines, at least one star and even lights in the shape of wise men on their camels. You can get out and walk around & see the beautiful display on three sides of the home & yard.

    I’d like to begin doing the advent wreath and Scriptures & do more to celebrate advent in general, like going through “The Greatest Gift” each year and focus more on giving to and blessing others besides my family members.

  167. We love Christmas! I love the Nativity sets throughout the house, the smell of the Christmas tree, being all bundled up and looking at lights at the local zoo, you name it! I think my personal favorite tradition (this feels slightly sacrilegious to share) are the ornaments on the tree. Each ornament has a story, whether it is a vacation memory made or something symbolic of a child’s year (each of our four kids gets an ornament each year to represent their year…could be a piano, could be a picture of them without their two front teeth, etc.). The most symbolic ones are the empty framed ornaments saying “Baby’s First Christmas” that represent a year of loss. It’s a time to remember and honor, a time to reflect, and a time to thank God for his goodness through the years.