Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting ready for Christmas...

Kids are always ready for Christmas. Ours have already started planning their Christmas lists. It's June, for goodness sake. But I suppose if they're already getting geared up for the holiday season, we should be too.

What should we be doing? I'm glad you asked. Here are a few things to start pondering:

1. Budget. What will your Christmas budget look like this year? And, seriously, I do encourage you to have a budget. Christmas is the #1 season of the year for sending us into debt. Don't let it slip up on you this year. Plan now.

2. Get to work on handmade gifts. Unless you're giving baked goods -- and even then if you want to make/decorate your own containers -- you have a great opportunity to get started. Surf the internet for Christmas craft ideas. Head to the local paint-your-own-pottery store on a rainy summer afternoon and make gifts for friends and family before your schedule gets slammed with new school and church year activities. If you don't want to make your own gifts but love that handmade look, head over to Etsy and stand in awe of the artisans who sell their crafts there.

3. Shop early and save big. Many online retailers have Christmas merchandise on clearance NOW. Order those extra ornaments you need. Buy Christmas decor for teachers and neighbors in bulk. Choose your Advent calendar now, so that it will be in your house as the season nears. A few places to get you started are:

4. Dig into God's Word and choose Scripture for your family's Advent devotionals. Don't wait until the last minute to throw together a family devotional; choose purposefully now based on the make up of your family. Is there a new baby in the house? Are the kids growing older? Will you be at home or on a mission trip? Will you be near grandkids? Is there a friend/co-worker/neighbor with whom you want to purposefully celebrate the season? Begin seeking the Lord for what He would like to do in your holiday season. When He speaks, take steps to make it happen.

5. Ponder how you might like to be a part of the Celebrating Christmas blog. We are up for new friends and we would LOVE to have you share the holiday season with all who read our blog. Email us at to let us know if you want to join in the fun for the 2009 holiday season. We need devotionals, tutorials, holiday reflections, gift-giving ideas, holiday traditions, decorating ideas, entertaining tips, ministry opportunities, and words of encouragement for the WHOLE holiday season... Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmastide, New Year's and Epiphany.

And FINALLY... in the way of an update... we asked you to pray for our friend Jenn's daughter, Charlotte, as she had her second huge heart surgery a few months ago. We are thrilled to say that Charlotte came through her surgery with flying colors. She has amazed her parents and doctors, exceeding everyone's expectations for how quickly and how well she recovered. She is doing great and we are all in awe of our Lord. Thanks for your prayers!