rekindle your holidays: giving traditions {$50 starbucks giftcard giveaway}

December 20, 2012 by Ali

For part three of our series on “Celebrating The Holidays”, we turn to my favorite part of the season — giving.

Specifically, though, I want to talk about the idea of giving “presence”.

Many of you may be familiar with a movement that launched in 2008 and has since swept across thousands of churches around the world called the Advent Conspiracy. At its core was a simple call — to “spend less, worship more, give presence and love all”. You can see the original video for it here, and my friend Jason even made one of the 2009 videos for them here.

I absolutely love this movement. In the midst of the crazy consumerism side of the holidays — which usually seems to result in spending money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need, with lots of unnecessary stress piled on in the process — Advent Conspiracy challenged people to instead encourage families and friends to give one another the gift of presence. No, not your typical presents. I’m talking about the “-ce” spelling, the gift of your time and attention.

Without a doubt, most of my favorite holiday memories are traced back to spending time with my family, not the gifts we have exchanged. In fact, I don’t know about you, but I can’t even really remember most of the gifts I exchanged with family in 2011. Or 2010. And certainly not in 1999. But I do remember driving by a Clark Griswold-worth house with my friend Amy last December on our annual search for the best Christmas lights. And I remember standing beside the members of my choir watching a magical Candlelight Christmas Eve service unfold. And I do remember my grandma teaching me exactly how to do a proper shrimp boil last Christmas morning.

Time together is where memories are made. So here are a few of the simple ways that I have learned to celebrate the holidays with the gift of presence.

Staying In Together

Sometimes the best gift that you can give someone is the gift of a simple night in. I have found that a warm cup of hot cocoa, a cozy sofa and taking the time to just catch up with someone you love can turn into one of the best nights of the season. You don’t have to spend money or time preparing — just give the gift of welcoming someone into your home for a relaxing evening amidst the hustle and bustle. All the better, of course, if there is some Christmas music playing and a warm fire crackling in the background. (Yes, I happily go with all things nostalgic around the holidays!)

Going Out Together:

Going out also does not necessarily have to entail spending money or shopping! Some of my favorite memories as kids were piling into the car in our PJ’s to go drive around and look at Christmas lights. Now as an adult, my friend Amy and I love continuing this tradition each year in Kansas City. We love checking out the monster bazillion dollar houses and their Christmas lights, and then even finding the cheesy smaller tune-your-radio-and-watch-the-lights-match-the-music displays around town. So fun, so festive, and always one of my favorite times of the year with my friend!


If you are someone who ends up doing a lot of baking (or crafting, or DIY-ing) over the holidays, why not make it double the fun and invite a friend to join you? As someone who does a lot of holiday baking, lemme tell ya — it goes a lot faster, is way more entertaining, and way more fun when shared with a friend! Plus, doing the dishes always goes twice as fast with two.

Remember Together:

The best thing about holiday decorations are the memories that come with them. So enlist the whole family (or if you are single, or have family far away, invite some friends!) to help you deck the halls! And then have a storytelling session as you remember all of your stories about setting out cookies for Santa, or the dog eating the candy out of your stocking, or about your favorite grandmother who gave you that ornament. Somehow stories always come to my mind with Christmas decorations…and they are all the more meaningful and fun when shared!

Worship Together:

Finally, if faith is a part of your holiday tradition, worship together. The Christmas story never ceases to amaze me year after year, and retelling and remembering it together alongside friends and family makes it all the more powerful. So even when things get busy, remember to prioritize time together to worship and celebrate the truest reason for the season alongside those you love. That is my favorite kind of togetherness.

$50 Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway:

How To Enter:

What is your most favorite holiday tradition? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a $50 Starbucks gift card!


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 12/20/12 to 12/28/12.

Visit the Starbucks brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts and find more chances to win!

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About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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110 thoughts on “rekindle your holidays: giving traditions {$50 starbucks giftcard giveaway}

  1. Counting down on New Year’s Eve with friends and family

    - Chelsea O.

  2. Getting to open 1 present on Christmas Eve

    - Chris Lehan

  3. My favorite holiday tradition is singing Christmas songs at church!

    - Rachel Puro

  4. Decorating the tree and house, the day after Thanksgiving; what can be better than getting into the holiday sprit and avoiding the craziness of Black Friday?!?!

    - Raelynn

  5. My favorite holiday tradition is watching holiday movies with my family.

    - Anne W.

  6. tweet
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    - Tabathia B

  7. baking gingerbread house with the kids

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    - Tabathia B

  8. My favorite Christmas tradition is hosting an annual cookie exchange party.

    - Debbie

  9. My favorite holiday tradition is baking Christmas cookies with Grandma!

    - Lynn

  10. I tweeted about this promotion.

    - Kim C.

  11. My favorite Holiday tradition is going to midnight Mass with my Mom every Christmas Eve.

    - Kim C.

  12. Making cookies as a family!

    - Cher

  13. Favorite holiday tradition is spending Christmas Eve with my mum’s side of the family, tons of delicious food and great time spent with my family.

    - Jenny - Creative Cooking GF

  14. I love decorating the tree with a fire and xmas music going…and having cocoa. so fun!

    - cw

  15. what a nice post; my favorite tradition is going around on christmas eve to look at all the lights!

    - Jasmine A

  16. Every year we make Christmas tamales

    - Carolyn G

  17. Great post, Ali! My favorite holiday tradition is when my little niece and nephews open their presents – their reactions are priceless!

    - Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

  18. I like making tamales on Christmas eve.

    - Maria Cantu

  19. my favorite holiday is Passover, when the whole family gets together to show off what fabulous cooks we all are!

    - Deena

  20. Making spritz cookies with my dad, 26 years and counting!

    - Julie

  21. My favorite holiday tradition is baking together

    - Jessie C.

  22. Going to the Festival of Lights

    - Wanda McHenry

  23. Currently- my husband and I are combining family traditions to make our own (and please both families). Christmas Eve we go to dinner with his family, go to my uncle’s to celebrate with some of my cousins, then watch “Christmas Vacation”. In the morning we go to church the two of us, then to his parents for brunch and relaxing, then my parents afternoon/evening for dinner. This year- will be totally different- it’s our first Christmas away from family. We are going to continue the church, movie, but we are trying to figure out our own things. No matter what- it’ll me merry and bright spending it together.

    - Jessica

  24. decorating sugar cookies :)
    family74014 at gmail dot com

    - alaine

  25. We go to midnight mass at a very old Italian church downtown, where my oldest daughter was married. It’s not the church we attend regularly, so we only go there about once a year, but the Christmas Eve service is so beautiful, and the church is as well.

    - Amy L

  26. My favorite holiday tradition is Kansas City BBQ on Christmas Eve!

    - Laura @FoodSnobSTL

  27. I tweeted about this giveaway (see

    - Christine

  28. My favorite holiday tradition is caroling in the neighborhood with other members of my church. We enjoy sharing the holiday spirit with those we encounter. Thank you for offering this giveaway, and best of luck to everyone who enters! May you all truly be given the gift of presence!

    - Christine

  29. My favorite Christmas tradition is having a special Christmas morning breakfast. I make ahead a Christmas egg casserole & cinnamon rolls the night before, bake them in the morning, set the table with special dishes and we just enjoy the special meal together.

    - Michelle P.

  30. Sleeping by the Christmas tree!

    - Merriam

  31. Making cut-out cookies with my family!

    - rachel

  32. Definitely agree time together is the best. We cook spring rolls and dumplings together for holidays, we always have a lot of fun. Thanks for the giveaway.
    songyueyu at gmail

    - sy

  33. Each Christmas we find a new breakfast recipe.

    - Kathy R

  34. Making Christmas Crafts. My daughter and I make a different Christmas Craft each year. The best part of it is being creative and spending precious time together

    - Kathy

  35. tweet–

    - Wild Orchid

  36. I love playing board games with my family!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

    - Wild Orchid

  37. I love turning off all the lights and just sitting in the light of the Christmas tree :)

    - Rose

  38. everything about our Christmas Eve celebration! tons of traditions that day/night!

    - melissa@IWasBornToCook

  39. I just love being home with family. We relax, watch Christmas movies and eat. It’s wonderful.

    - AMY C

  40. My favorite tradition is baking Christmas cookies with my dad!

    - Mary S.

  41. My favorite tradition is seeing family members’ faces as they open up presents

    - Julia

  42. My favorite tradition is Christmas Eve mass with our family!

    - Kerry

  43. My favorite part is just simply being with family. I love all the traditions, but they are only good because I do it with the ones I love.

    - Jess W.Y.

  44. My favorite tradition is going to my in-laws on Christmas Eve for food and presents.

    - Madeline

  45. Christmas eve at the National Cathedral!

    - Betsy

  46. My favorite tradition with my daughters is an advent calendar, counting down to Christmas, with little gifts for every day. I collect things through the year for this.

    - Judy

  47. enjoying green chile stew and tamales with my family on Christmas eve

    - MeLisa

  48. My favorite Christmas tradition is bringing my family to the candle-light Christmas Eve church service, it’s always so beautiful and really sets the tone for our celebration.

    - Kristy M.

  49. My most favorite holiday tradition is to bake cookies with my kids and giving them out to neighbors, friends and family. :)

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

    - Amy Tong

  50. Baking tons and tons of cookies with my mom!

    - Corey

  51. Making and decorating sugar cookies with my daughter.

    - Renee F

  52. Thanks for doing this great giveaway! My favorite Christmas tradition is for sure gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies!

    - Amber

  53. I love making Christmas cookies.

    - Kristin T

  54. My favorite holiday tradition is putting up the tree. I love my ornaments and they hold so many memories for me! I love seeing my son get excited at seeing his favorites now, too.

    - Beth C.

  55. Getting together with family and baking

    - Theresa J

  56. The Christmas season officially starts in our home with a couple of days of baking cinnamon rolls for friends and neighbors.

    - Corinne

  57. My favorite holiday tradition is driving around town looking at lights with my loved ones :)

    - Melissa

  58. I love our New Year’s Eve at-home cheese fondue tradition. :-)

    - Elizabeth Langston

  59. Decorating the tree and reminiscing about where we got all the ornaments or what their significance is.

    - Sarah T.

  60. We love putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it. =)

    - Chelsea

  61. The church I grew up in gives a paper bag filled with nuts and chocolate after Christmas Eve service.

    - Carrie

  62. Making rock candy – we’ve been doing this in the family for more than 20 years… now my kids are joining in on the fun. Many fun memories were made over the years!

    - Kelli Wick

  63. We love to drive around town and see everyone’s Christmas lights!

    - Stephanie @ The Good Stuff

  64. making hot cocoa, turning on christmas music, and getting everything juuust right before we all decorate the tree together!

    - kat

  65. My favorite tradition is the lighting of the advent wreath for the month preceding Christmas – it’s a wonderful way to remember the reason for the season!

    - Amy | Amy's Cooking Adventures

  66. I love decorating sugar cookies with my mom and sisters!

    - Heather Hicks

  67. My favorite holiday tradition is decorating cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve with my girls

    - Evelyn R

  68. My favorite holiday tradition is going Christmas caroling!

    - Amy

  69. My favorite holiday tradition is going to Macy’s in Chicago to see the windows and tree with my boyfriend. We’ve been doing this since our first year together and haven’t missed it!

    - Meg

  70. Making monster cookies together as a family.

    - Kel

  71. My favorite tradition is making and eating cookies with my little boys. I love how messy they get :)

    - Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen

  72. Still forming new traditions with my husband and two young sons and loving it!

    - Ali

  73. Spending quality time with my family. That’s all I’m asking for Christmas!

    - Margherita

  74. My favorite Christmas tradition is probably spending time with our family. Only we do our big shin-dig on Boxing day instead of Christmas. We have family that travels in on Christmas day, so we spend the following day doing all our fun big family dinner, gift giving etc. It’s sorta fun to spread out the fun and love to several days.

    - Andrea

  75. My sister, mom and I make caramel apples every holiday season. They are part of our holiday goodie bags we give to our friends and family.

    - Miriam Maya

  76. I always spends New Year’s Eve with family in San Francisco to watch the fireworks

    - Alice

  77. My favorite thing is coming home to a big pile of homemade cookies by my mom.

    - Lisa

  78. I like to bake cookies and share them with family and friends

    - Elena

  79. I really like my in-law’s tradition of making a billion batches of Chex Mix. :-)

    - Marilyn

  80. Spending time with family and friends is my favorite Christmas tradition. Thanks for the chance to win!

    - Marilyn

  81. I love going out to cut down our Christmas tree, then coming home and drinking cocoa while we decorate :)

    - Katie

  82. My favorite holiday memory is by far spending several days making Christmas cookies together with the entire family!

    - Carol Burton

  83. tweet–

    - Mami2jcn

  84. Decorating the tree is my favorite tradition.

    - Mami2jcn

  85. Having hot pot for dinner!

    - Jenny

  86. sitting around the christmas tree eating christmas cookies!

    - sara

  87. Watching “The Nativity Story” on Christmas Eve, cooking my mom’s amazing ham and scalloped potatoes, and cuddling with my hubby! :)

    - Liisa Rettedal

  88. My favorite tradition is spending Christmas day at my mom’s house. We eat lasagna and then play CatchPhrase where hijinxs always ensue. It’s just such a laid-back, fun way to spend the holiday with my family and I love every minute of it!

    - Amanda

  89. Hot chocolate! xo

    - Rebecca

  90. My favorite tradition is baking cookies with my mom!

    - Maria Sophia

  91. Every year on the 23rd since I was 7 years old I’ve gone out to dinner with my aunts!

    - Blog is the New Black

  92. my favorite holiday tradition are the ones that me and my husband have created together. My favorite, only because it starts the holiday season, is getting the tree on black friday (we don’t do shopping mania) and getting hammered while we decorate.

    - stef

  93. Homemade pizza on Christmas Eve.

    - Melisa

  94. My favorite tradition is getting together with my entire family on Christmas Eve to eat appetizers and enjoy each others company!

    - Stef

  95. Picking out a new ornament with each of my kids.

    - Tammy

  96. My favorite holiday tradition is our silly $5 white elephant gift exchange – trying to find the coolest, silliest, most delicious gift for only $5, then stealing it away from Grandpa!

    - Sharon R

  97. My favorite tradition is driving through a local neighborhood’s “12 Days of Christmas” lights display!

    - Kara D

  98. decorating sugar cookies together. :)

    - grace

  99. watching White Christmas with my mom and my sister with a fire going and a glass of wine!

    - kristin