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

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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!


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

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

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

  3. baking gingerbread house with the kids

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  4. tweet
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

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

  6. 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?!?!

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

  8. Getting to open 1 present on Christmas Eve

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