When I was growing up, my mom made Christmas wondrous.
From elaborate decorations and delectable cookies to endless presents under the tree, I experienced more anticipation and excitement than my little girl self could sometimes contain.

I was obsessed with the magical nature of Santa and had unwavering faith that nothing could stop him from delivering my special gifts year after year. I had no idea that my family wasn’t really celebrating Christmas at all. Jesus was nowhere to be found.

By the time I had my own children, I realized how stressed and exhausted my mom became each holiday season trying to meet her own expectations of what made Christmas special. While so many elements were lovely and enjoyable – I doubt she had the energy to truly enjoy all her labors.

Nevertheless, I wanted to carry on some of my mom’s beautiful traditions, but I was darned if I was going to give Santa any credit for the gifts we bought our children!  I made sure we shared the Christmas story and went to church on Christmas Eve. However, despite my best intentions, I often found myself feeling stressed trying to create the wonder I remembered as a child. I still had a deep-seated misconception that Christmas was especially for the children and that anything less than magical would leave them disappointed.

Celebrating Christmas IS about the children…and the parents…and the grandparents….and all the people in our lives. We know the season “should be” a beautiful reminder of God’s loving sacrifice to lower Himself from Heaven to ultimately save a lost world. But, it’s still so easy to get distracted. I realized I needed to be very intentional about keeping Jesus in the center of our celebration while still enjoying the warm, fuzzies that our family traditions like decorating and gift-giving can bring.

I still love to decorate, but some years I do less than others. I never send Christmas cards. Why make a busy time of year busier when I could drop a card in the mail any other time of the year and it would be more noticed and appreciated? From streamlined gift-giving to almost no baking – I love our more intentional and quiet Decembers.  I realized that I just needed to choose the things I loved best about our traditions and let go of the rest.

Most importantly, I love to start the season on December 1st with a daily Christmas devotional that helps me ponder the first advent of Christ.

Some years ago, I chose to write my own and added planning tips to keep Christ at the center of our celebrations. I titled it, FROM THE MALL TO THE MANGER because I remember the years when I needed to learn how to shift the focus of Christmas from shopping and gift-giving to worshipping and pondering the Greatest Gift Ever Given.

I hope and pray that this little book will bless some of you this year. You can purchase it at the link below or receive it FREE with any qualified purchase at the links below. It will be automatically added to physical orders or sent with free shipping if you place a digital order from now through November 30th.  ORDER HERE