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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!


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

  1. 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.

  2. I love making Christmas cookies.

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

  4. Making and decorating sugar cookies with my daughter.

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

  6. 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

  7. tweeted:

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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.

  11. Christmas eve at the National Cathedral!

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

  13. Tweet link:

  14. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  21. I love playing board games with my family!

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

  22. tweet–

  23. 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

  24. Each Christmas we find a new breakfast recipe.

  25. 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

  26. tweet:
    songyueyu at gmail

  27. Making cut-out cookies with my family!

  28. Sleeping by the Christmas tree!

  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.

  30. 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!

  31. I tweeted about this giveaway (see

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

  33. 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.

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

  35. 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.

  36. Going to the Festival of Lights

  37. My favorite holiday tradition is baking together


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

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

  41. I like making tamales on Christmas eve.

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

  43. Every year we make Christmas tamales

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

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

  46. 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.

  47. Tweeted about the giveaway: @Creatively_GF

  48. Making cookies as a family!

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

  50. I tweeted about this promotion.