Sunday, January 1, 2017


          Christmas doesn't come in packages store bought & dressed in boxes & bows.  Our JOY is captured right here in these moments as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of the King of Kings.
     We begin our Christmas preparation earlier than most every year.  Our Christmas tradition is to do most all of our holiday shopping BEFORE Thanksgiving.  My parents so graciously bless my sister & I each year with a 3 day shopping trip to Atlanta.  We do love shopping but not with the black Friday crowd.  Instead, we enjoy the leisure pace, uncrowded stores, & stocked shelves.  We return just in time for mama to cook our Thanksgiving feast.  It's always delish!  She can do anything~shop, cook, decorate, you name it!  She's the best!  She goes at everything 100%!  Anyhow, I really love getting all of that out of the way so that we can enjoy the season together with the true meaning of Christmas in mind. 
      First up, decorating!  The days following Thanksgiving were made for decorating right?  We turn up the Christmas music, deck out the Christmas PJs, & get busy!  All 3 of our kid bedrooms have a tree & decorations.  We put up a tree in our kitchhen as well as our main tree in our den.  This year my oldest girls really did those.  I am so proud of what beautiful decorators they are becoming.  I dressed the mantle & several other surfaces.  Most everything in sight gets garland, lights, & bows.  My mama has surely rubbed off on us!  Then, on December 1st we head out to:
     This was the beginning of a perfect family day!  Pictured are my 1st time Ferry Boat cruisers!  We parked downtown Riverstreet, rode the free ferry across to the Westin Resort, & toured the free ginger bread village display.  It was absolutely beautiful!  Then we splurged on a feast of fresh lobster & crab legs & certainly spent a small fortune at the Savannah Candy Company too!  We definitely left with more weight than when we arrived!  Next on our adventure, we scored free Santa Land activities & pictures at Bass Pro Shop.  The kids always enjoy the art, shooting galleries, toys to try out, & SANTA too!  Displaying our Santa pictures through the years is a memory I will forever cherish!
     Each year we seek out a nativity production to enjoy with our kiddos.  This year we chose The Journey.  This was the absolute BEST way to begin our CHRISTmas season on December 1st.  It's literally a Walk Through Bethlehem experience.  You "live" as a person back in Bible days, sail across the Sea of Galilee, & journey through Bethlehem.  You interact with the villagers & are led to the birth of baby Jesus.  We have visited several of these in GA but this has by far surpassed them all!
     Another holiday tradition we have all loved for years now is welcoming our very own elf Mistletoe.  He appears every year at the 1st of December.  You just never know what is in store for our mornings!  Little feet scurry out of bed a little earlier than usual.  Giggles begin.  Sometimes he is hiding hard (like in the refrigerator all snug in a towel peeking out between the sauces), or sometimes he is in plain view but into great mischief!  You just never know!  Ours aren't really into believing in Santa bringing presents or magic Elves watching to report their behavior.  We just enjoy the fun of it.  It's about having family fun together during the last few days of the year!
     Each year, we plan several family activities during the holidays.  Usually we check out a light display, build gingerbread houses, attend a few parties or gatherings, make ornaments, complete various art projects, & bake.  This year we made our way over to Statesboro, GA to TMT Farms.  It definitely did not disappoint.  There were miles of lights that twinkled to Christmas tunes complete with a western village & nativity.  This family puts on a spectacular show for a great cause.  The entry fee is can goods or donation for the needy.  So we drove through & spent an hour or more as we downed our cold milk & hot Krispie Kreme doughnuts.  What a great night!
     One of our favorite traditions at CHRISTmas is Advent.  We have a simple wreath on our dinning room table.  Around it are 5 candles.  In the center sits a pretty poinsettia.  Right in front is our Advent countdown calendar with daily verses & devotionals.  Every night before bedtime we gather around the den with only the CHRISTmas lights glowing & Bibles in hand.  We let the kiddos take turns lighting the appropriate candles.  Nathan reads the scripture.  I share the devotional.  Of all of the things we do, they seem most excited about this.  I don't what it is about turning out lights & lighting matches while snuggling up to hear the scriptures & praying but everyone is all sweet & reverent.  It is such a blessed atmosphere to end our days.  We always end our CHRISTmas season at a local Candlelight Service reading the scriptures once again & singing the carols that ring of Christ's birth.
     This year my heart has been set on reaching out further than just to my little crew.  God has answered our prayers & blessed our businesses more than ever before.  Yet, we have more things than we can ever use.  I do want my children to have a special CHRISTmas.  I want them to go to bed with all the special memories we've made & wake up to exciting new gifts, but I also want them to be a blessing to others.  We have begun picking up a few kids that have shown an interest in attending church.  It is easy to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to the less fortunate in our area, but we've seen 1st hand that you don't have to look very far to find them.  Children don't ask to be born into families where no one holds a job or into neighborhoods where drugs & crime abound.  They get cold & hungry.  They have wants & needs just like any of us would.  This CHRISTmas I want my family to look beyond ourselves, to feel for others, to reach out & help.  We have been shopping, baking, & planning to be a blessing to them this CHRISTmas!  After all, that's what Christ was born for!


  1. We don't buy for each other instead we find others in need and give to them. We buy our girls three gifts each just as Christ received. (Keeping it low in cost) I wonder if they put the live nativity on line to see? What was the name of the place you saw it at? From your pictures you can tell it was awesome.

  2. What a wonderful Christmas. The kids look so adorable in their Christmas outfits. It is such a special time of year.