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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}”

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

  2. decorating sugar cookies together. :)

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

  4. 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!

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

  6. I tweeted.

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

  8. Homemade pizza on Christmas Eve.

  9. 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.

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

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

  12. 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!

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

  14. sitting around the christmas tree eating christmas cookies!

  15. Having hot pot for dinner!

  16. Decorating the tree is my favorite tradition.

  17. tweet–

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


  27. 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.

  28. I tweeted-

  29. 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.

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

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

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

  33. Making monster cookies together as a family.

  34. 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!

  35. My favorite holiday tradition is going Christmas caroling!

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

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

  38. 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!

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

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

  41. 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!

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

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

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

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

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


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

  49. Getting together with family and baking