Simplifying the Holidays – Giveaway!

Are you overwhelmed with the thought of yet another holiday season? Do you desire a peaceful holiday season and yet purposefully Christ centered? How can you begin now to pray and plan how God might have you and your family invest in making this a profitable and God-glorifying time of the year?

It might seem a little early to start thinking of the upcoming holidays, but what better way to keep the holidays simple but through a little planning and foresight! I am looking forward to sharing a few ideas that I have been blessed with over the next few weeks in our Simple Living Series, but for now, I would like to kick it off with a little giveaway!

The 12 Week Holiday Planner for Christian Families by Sheri Graham (mother of five) is a great tool for any family desiring to keep the Christ-centered focus in the holidays without being overwhelmed. Filled with practical and useful charts, planner pages, the Jesse Tree Devotional and other useful information, you will be equipped to keep your light shining this season!

Sheri says, “My desire in putting together this eBook is to provide a tangible way for you to plan out your holidays so they are enjoyable, less stressful, and more filled with the things that really matter.”

This 146 page e-book includes:

*Weekly plans for the 12 weeks prior to Christmas

*”Sheri’s Tips”- tips to make your holidays meaningful, shared throughout the ebook

*Thanksgiving Ideas

*Christmas Craft, Gift, Decorations and Menu Ideas

*Memory Making Ideas for the Family

*Ideas for Baked Items to Share/Give Away

*Ideas for Meals to Freeze for Use during the busy weeks

*Supplies to stock up on ahead of time or when on sale

*Ideas for a Holiday Baking Schedule

*Kids’ Gift Idea List

PLUS!!! “The Glorious Coming: A Jesse Tree Celebration of Advent” – Jesse Tree devotionals which include devotionals, ornaments, and instructions to make your own Jesse Tree!

I am so thrilled to share this resource with you all and am finding it very helpful already as I start taking simple steps with the use of these materials for planning our purposeful Christ-centered holidays!

Click here to view more details!

To join in on the giveaway, please leave a comment below and feel free to share one idea you have found helpful for simplifying the holidays.

Giveaway ends: Tuesday, October 14th 5:00pm PST. Winner will be randomly draw Tuesday evening and announced next Wednesday.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

112 Responses to Simplifying the Holidays – Giveaway!

  1. Colleen October 14, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    I think this sounds great! My tip is to make up lists early( I do mine in the summer) and make/ buy as many things ahead as possible… I am working on having all my shopping done before December even hits, and having all of the items for baking already, too- I’m about 75% done already. This helps me to be available mentally and physically for the whole month of December for my husband and 4 children.

  2. Manda October 14, 2008 at 10:14 am #

    Sounds like a great resource! We actually do not exchange gifts within our immediate family. Our children receive so much from relatives that my husband and I do not find it necessary to buy them anything else. And being on a tight budget, we would rather just spend time together than worry about buying each other the “perfect” gift.

  3. Melissa October 14, 2008 at 7:45 am #

    I am always looking for ways to simplify the holidays. My biggest struggle is the Santa Claus influence from extended family members. I feel like I am taking the fun out of Christmas because I have to be the “heavy”. I do try to do some fun things with my children that center around Jesus, but it is so hard to tear them away from the world around us! Anyone have any suggestions for dealing with in-laws? I am very concerned this season because we are now living with my in-laws while we build our house.

  4. Tami October 14, 2008 at 3:46 am #

    I’d love to win. The holidays stress me when they should be a time for the Lord. I have no advice to offer.

  5. Maria October 13, 2008 at 11:06 pm #

    I’m not sure it counts as simplifying Christmas or not…but for the last several years I have taken to making homemade Christmas calendars or other gifts that can be passed down and treasured for years. I got so tired of plastic toys and such that rarely were used or broken. For the children in our family, I focus on books or educational materials that will foster their imagination and creativity. Hopefully, I can pass this down to my children as they get old enough to be involved.

  6. Tara October 13, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    As an extended family, we have decided to limit our gifts to kids only. This helped a lot since most of the adults didn’t need anything so it was hard to buy for them. At our home we try (year round, but especially at busy times) to limit our activities. We decided last year that we can’t do it all and still remain sane. So we usually do family things and church functions only. Usually this encompasses most of our close friend’s anyway. And we try to do several things with just us four. Thanks for offering the giveaway.

  7. Que October 13, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    We celebrate advent, putting an emphasis on fellowship. In late October – early November, we choose whom we want to invite to celebrate with us. For four Sundays before Christmas we have a few families over who are very special to us and enjoy a meal and a themed evening. The theme depends on which candle is being lit. (Love, Hope, Peace…) We plan simple crafts, or a special movie or making a desert or cookies to take home. This way, we don’t spend alot of money, yet we always feel like we’ve been able to give something special to the people in our lives who we feel we have been so blessed by knowing.

  8. Cynthia Manion October 13, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    This sounds like great material to read. Please enter me in the contest.

  9. Sharmista October 13, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    I start making Christmas gifts in the early fall, that way I have them done well before the rush of the season hits!

    Thanks for your lovely blog. It is an inspiration!

  10. Melissa October 13, 2008 at 10:54 am #

    This book looks fantastic! One simple thing we do is to make sure we take time each evening in December to stop and do some sort of Christmas devotional with the family. This takes the focus off of us and the fast-paced nature of what Christmas has become and places it back on Christ.

  11. TaraB in OK October 13, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    What a fun giveaway! I can’t think of ideas to simplify except buying gifts early. I’m expecting our first baby on Jan 10th, so I’d better be thinking ‘simple’ for the holidays and get started soon!

  12. Naomi October 13, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog over the last couple months.
    Nathan and I have had two Christmases together as a married couple, and what blesses him is to have some time, at least a full day, to ourselves as a family right around Christmas, to unwind and relax together after (or before) all the bustle and activity of extended family celebrations.
    As far as gifts, I love giving gifts to family and friends that either share our photos with them or help them get their photos into good albums through my Creative Memories business. They’re gifts that last a long time!

  13. Farris October 13, 2008 at 6:53 am #

    Your blog has been such an inspiration!

  14. Shari Kelley October 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    I usually try to do a creative present for close friends or immediate family members at Christmas. This year I have been making greeting cards and books with our photos on I am not good on the computer at all, but have been able to figure it out. It is so much fun to take pictures we have from vacations and think of sayings to go with them. For example, we have a picture of a squirrel from camping this year so I used that to say “We’re nuts about you!” and then you can add Happy Valentine’s Day or Happy Birthday, etc. I also used a picture of the Grand Canyon and said, “Happy birthday to another wonder of God’s creation!” I sometimes put a scripture verse that fits such as Psalm 139:14 on birthday cards on the opposite page. I am putting together 10 assorted cards in a box, 2 of each kind (birthday, wedding, sympathy, thank you, etc.). I am excited because it is such a useful gift, but creative as well. The more cards you order at once the cheaper it is. The cheapest is $1.49 per card if you order 101. I ordered it for all my friends and family at once to get the cheapest pricing. The photo books are very simple too. You can do a short one for $12.00. I made one for a family we went camping with this summer. It contains lots of different photos of our time together. I hope this helps!

  15. rachael October 11, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    What a great book! Please sign me up for the drawing!

  16. Michelle October 11, 2008 at 6:56 am #

    We always choose an angel off of the Salvation Army tree and buy for a needy child. This year I’d love to sponsor a family, buy food for their Christmas dinner, etc. It’s so important to me for our kids to NOT think that the point of Christmas is Santa Claus (we do “santa” but they know it’s just us) and piles of gifts. We try to show the love of Christ all year long, but I find it challenging to counterbalance the materialistic messages coming from everyone at Christmastime. Thank you for doing this giveaway! :)

  17. Colleen October 10, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    This is the first year in our marriage we are unable to be near family for the holidays… we moved to be near our parents two years ago and the Lord has led them to states far away from us since that time (He took my father to Heaven a year ago.) Even though my heart aches to miss them all, especially my sweet daddy, I am looking forward, in a strange way, to the chance to forge new traditions and begin to develop a Christ-centered family celebration for our two little girls. This book looks wonderful!

  18. Andrea October 10, 2008 at 2:15 pm #

    This book looks very helpful! Since the birth of my daughter, I’ve been doing alot of thinking about starting family holiday traditions, but I could really use some help with managing my time.

  19. Shellie October 10, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    Thank you for this giveaway! This year, we have decided to do two things to “simplify”. I put that in quotes because we are actually doing more, but buying less. We are trying to have as much family here as possible. Some of our family spend Christmas alone, or just with the immediate. This year we have deicded to invite anyone who wishes to attend here, and to bring a covered dish so that the entire burden of cooking does not fall on me. The second thing we are doing is to only buy one toy per child. Also, the toy has to be a toy the child does something with, rather than the toy does something for the child. I think things will be much simpler this way!

  20. Marnie October 10, 2008 at 1:32 pm #

    I heard a great tip this morning while shopping. A lady said that her daughter only allows 3 gifts per child, since that is how many gifts that Jesus recieved. I think I will talk to my husband about that one.

    Thankyou for the giveaway!

  21. genny October 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    This looks great… I’m glad I happened upon your blog!

  22. Sunday October 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    My tip is to try to view the holidays through the “what’s eternal” glasses. I used to do a lot of baking and goodie baskets but now that I have three small children I’ve had to cut-back on those things. We do bake some cookies but I want the bulk of celebrating to be around who Christ is and why He came. We enjoy having a small tree in our dining room where we place small ornaments that illustrate the names of Christ. The children love it and it is simple for mom and dad to do.

    This looks like a great resource to extend what we already do.

    Great post and thanks for the fun contest!

  23. Lori Anne October 10, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    Putting Christ before consuming is only made more difficult for children by the Christmas items going into the stores in September. My son & I nearly fell over when right after school started we saw the first ones at Target. I kid you not.
    This resource sounds like a great family tool. Thanks for the post & opportunity.

  24. M.I.A in Minnesota October 9, 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    Wow! 85 entries! I think you hit a spot of interest. I know it is mine. I am very much into keeping life simple, especially during the holidays. I don’t handle stress well, so I have to do all I can to rid of it! There’s nothing more backwards than a stressful Christmas don’t you think? I don’t want my girls’ memories of Christmas to be that of a hectic season and a grumpy mom. Where’s Christ in that? I know each family is unique and has there own custom made ways of making Christmas holy and simple. We decline on a lot of Christmas outings. Not only to save time but also money. It’s expensive enough the way it is. My side of the family gets together on Christmas Eve, and my husbands on Christmas day so that we don’t have to be split on Christmas day. As far as gifts go, we had to draw the line somewhere, so I decided 3 gifts just like Jesus got. I also have heard a fun guide line that a friend of mine uses. A present you want, a present you need, a present to wear, and a present to read. That takes the guess work out of it. As far as extended families, fortunately my side draws names and my in-laws play a fun game every year with $10 gifts. I just want so badly for my girls not to get caught up in the gimme-gimme of the holidays. Instead I want them to find the joy in giving, as Christ did for us. There are sooooo many ways to show your kids that during the holidays. My girls love to go “shopping” when the Samartan’s Purse catalog comes in the mail. We give them a set amount and they circle all of there choices, just like a toy magazine. Only this way they’re not picking for themselves. It’s really a cool thing to see. Those are the memories that are going to stick. My mom custom made me and my 2 sister-in-laws our own Christmas organizer. From a calendar to a plastic zipper pouch in the front to hold pens, stamps, and receipts, to specific Christmas lists, to thank you check lists, to shopping lists, to card mailing lists, etc. etc,. It really has been a life saver. It’s all contained so it stays in my car during the shopping season so I have all the info I need right there all the time. As far as baking, I’ve cut waaaaaaaaaay back since having kids. I just don’t have the time and nobody’s waist line needs it. We all still manage to consume more goodies than we need! :o ) May you all enjoy a simple Christmas season filled with our Saviors pure joy!

    • Kate October 10, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

      At my aunt and uncle’s house we have the grab bag $10 (more like gag gifts) gift. Any gift $10 and under. EVERY year my aunt put a ketchup and mustard bottle in the mix of gifts. My aunt’s niece’s husband has received the same ketchup and mustard bottle for about 10 yrs running! It’s soooooo funny! We all roll our eyes, and know next year they will be back lol.

      Most times it’s recycled “teacher gifts” my aunt’s side are all teachers. Altho most of them retired last year so that should put an ax in the teacher gifts lol. We still want to come home w/a useful gift!! (never seems to happen) most are so whacky, and would no purpose. I guess no one has realized that you CAN buy a $10 gift and it’s a nice one! Only my mom, sister, and I buy nice $10 gifts. Every year we say we need to change the rules!

  25. Tammy October 9, 2008 at 6:53 pm #

    What a great giveaway. Please enter me into the drawing also. A mom of seven children difintely needs simplying. :) Thanks!!

  26. Kim G October 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm #

    I try to get as much done early as possible. I buy Christmas gifts throughout the year as I see them on sale.

  27. Trying Traditional October 9, 2008 at 11:22 am #

    The best tip I have for the holidays is assigning tasks to my husband. He wants to help, but doesn’t know where to start.

    His list this year will look something like this:
    1. by Nov 15th have outdoor lights hung (it gets very cold here by then)
    2. purchase or make gifts for his dad and brothers as well as my dad
    3. be ready the day after Thanksgiving to put up the tree
    4. make a list of things he would like to do or eat this season and have it to me the weekend before Thanksgiving
    5. help me keep on track

    It may sound silly, but this helps us grow closer during the holidays rather than stressed and taking it out on each other.

  28. The Gluten-Free Homemaker October 9, 2008 at 7:52 am #

    Sounds like a great giveaway. The thing that helps me simplify the most is to plan, shop, prepare Christmas cards, and make crafts ahead of time. Then I have time to decorate and bake in December.

  29. CcsMomma October 9, 2008 at 7:33 am #

    Every year I set a budget and stick very closely too it. I make the budget low, so that I have a bit of wiggle room. I’ve also quit giving store bought gifts to adults. Most of them have everything they want or need anyway. Children’s gifts are always a little bit trickier. I need some ideas there. Please include me in your giveaway.

  30. Laura October 9, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    The Jesse Tree has been a beautiful addition to our holiday celebrations. Looks like a lovely ebook, thank you.

  31. meg October 9, 2008 at 7:09 am #

    Ooh, this is right up my alley! It seems like as I get older, and our family grows, I want to simplify the holidays a little more every year. This year, my siblings and I drew names, which will cut down on gift production.

  32. Mrs. H. October 9, 2008 at 6:06 am #

    We try to make as many gifts as possible during the holidays. We also focus on large gatherings of family to eat and just be together, instead of focusing on large gift-giving parties.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  33. Michele October 9, 2008 at 6:06 am #

    Good timing! I’ve been thinking a lot about the holiday’s and how to simplify them. Perfect! Thanks for the opportunity.

  34. Kam A October 9, 2008 at 5:47 am #

    This sounds like a wonderful organizational tool – thank you for the giveaway!

  35. Cherity October 9, 2008 at 4:42 am #

    A few years ago, we were really feeling like Christmas was losing it’s true meaning in our home. That year, we received a wonderful Christmas card that changed our hearts and helped us put Christ back where He belonged. The card was a simple card that had a note enclosed saying that someone had made a donation to Samaritan’s Purse in our name to help feed a baby for a week. I had never heard of this program, so I did some research and found out what it was all about. The very next year, instead of buying gifts for friends, parents, siblings and grandparents, we browsed through the Christmas Catalog as a family and decided which donation each person would appreciate. The gift cards were so well received that I nearly cried for joy!
    Now, when the catalog comes my children drop what they are doing so they can “go shopping” for Christmas! They have even asked to use some of their personal money to “buy” something for their friends!
    To find out more go to

  36. Cindy October 9, 2008 at 4:35 am #

    This sounds great! One of the things that makes a big difference in our Christmas is having an emphasis on the story of Jesus, and not on gifts. We do give gifts in moderation but don’t do Santa Claus. Also, we do photo cards of our family to send to friends and extended family. We live a long way from everyone else in our family, so they enjoy the pictures. It is usually not that expensive and keeps me from stressing over hand-making that many cards. And we, of course, enjoy a new photo for the living room every year!

    • Kate October 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm #

      Us too! Lots of out of state family. My husband has so many cousins, aunts, uncles etc. that would be VERY VERY VERY VERY expensive to get them a gift, so we do the letter, and photo card every year. It can be expensive as the family grows, but still cheaper than a gift gift lol. We just buy a few rolls of Christmas stamps, and go to town lol.

      I love dressing the children up and having them around the Christmas tree. I even add the pets too! I have pictures from when me and my siblings went to see Santa as children (till we all got too old). Then started when we had our first baby. Our first Christmas photo was an ultrasound picture. Told MANY relatives that way.

      I LOVE reading about how everyone does Christmas!

  37. Frances October 8, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    This sounds like such a great book!

    One thing that we have heard of, but haven’t tried yet, is sending your family photo cards and newsletters during the summer instead of at Christmas time. This allows you to spend more time on the things that are less time consuming, as well as financial. We usually send out 100+ cards and that can get pricey.

    • M.I.A in Minnesota October 9, 2008 at 7:11 pm #

      What a great idea! I’m going to run that one by my husband. Thanks!

  38. Amanda October 8, 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    We love to use the crockpot for meals, especially during the holiday busyness. I also try to do one thing everyday from November 1 on to get ready for Christmas. It spreads things out over almost 2 months, instead of all at once.

  39. Felicia October 8, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    I would love to be included! Living in tight quarters we did the Jesse Tree by painting a picture of a tree branch on butcher paper.

  40. MImi October 8, 2008 at 8:21 pm #

    My husband and I like to keep things really simple during the holidays. We don’t exchange gifts with each other or any of our family or friends. We spend the money that we would have spent on Christmas presents by gifting a cow to families in Africa. We do this through

  41. Lisa October 8, 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    I would love to win this book! Please count me in. =)

  42. Candice October 8, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    Hey Lindsay, that book sound really neat. Thanks for having this giveaway, how fun:) I’m really excited for the holiday season. This would be a neat resource to have.

  43. sue October 8, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    What a great giveaway! I have found reducing the amount of gifts we give to family etc and to each of our children (we limit them to 3, good enough for Jesus good enough for us ;) you know gifts from the Wise Men).
    And focusing on the truth of Christmas has really simplified our time and we love it!

    Thanks for the chance to win
    [email protected]

  44. TAMMY October 8, 2008 at 7:26 pm #

    This idea is relaxing and fun. All gifts must be hand made. It is white elephant style by drawing numbers. The recipients must guess who made the gift. This is not an artistic family, so the gifts “really” look home made, but the laughs and stories continue year after year.

  45. Amy October 8, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    Wow! This is very cool…something I’ve been looking for and a great resource for us to use at our house church with the kiddos during the holiday season.

  46. kelly October 8, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

    Lindsay this sounds like a sweet and thoughtful ebook. I would love to be included in this give-away.

  47. joanna October 8, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    This sounds wonderful. :)

  48. Lauren October 8, 2008 at 7:00 pm #

    I keep my presents for family to a minimum. Rather than buying a bunch of small things, I try to find 1-2 things they’ll enjoy. For friends, I make cookies, unless we’re really close and then I make them cookies and buy them 1 thing. I also don’t freak out about wrapping. I think decorating packages is awesome, but if it’s going to stress me out too much, I’ll just wrap it and stick a bow on it!

  49. Erin Sarah October 8, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    I would be very happy to be part of this give-away.
    May God bless you and your family as you celebrate the Lord’s birth this Christmas.

  50. Mandy October 8, 2008 at 5:35 pm #

    This is a great giveaway! My Christmas tip is to get things done early. I like to be totally done with gifts by Thanksgiving. I also try to not go to the grocery store the week of Christmas. IT is crazy!

  51. Kate October 8, 2008 at 5:08 pm #

    We save all year for Christmas. My boss gave me an idea. She does ALL her Christmas shopping the week BEFORE black Friday. So this year that is what I’m going to do. I have enlisted some friends into this, and we’re all going to chip in and get some babysitters and for one full week we are going to shop until we drop!

    My children make their Christmas lists before I shop, and I take what they “want” vs what they need and get some of each. They may not get everything on their list, but they are thankful for what they do get.

    Also, at my job we have a tree where we can pick a needy child’s name and buy them a gift. Every year, I pick a child’s name and age that correspond w/my child and their age. And we go shopping for that child. I also have my child write a letter to tuck into their gift, the younger ones I will write out and they will print their names, or scribble.

    I’m working on our Christmas letter that will go into our Christmas cards. Soon we will get our children’s pictures done for the cards.

    I LOVE decorating, so I starting the day after Thanksgiving. We start w/the tree, (artificial of course). Then everyday I do another room, including stairs, bathrooms etc. I LOVE decorating, it gets me into the mood, I can’t imagine not decorating to the nines.

    I make sugar cookie dough before Thanksgiving, and freeze it. So when I’m ready I just thaw it out. My friends and I have a cookie swap every year. We make our favorite cookies and then have a cookie party and sample everyone’s cookies, and take a platter home.

    Christmas Eve we spend at my aunt and uncle’s house. A tradition that goes back for as far as I remember. They’re Catholic so we end up going to Mass. I always wanted to go to midnight mass tho. Never did, probably never will. Usually we eat chicken scampi. Yummo! Christmas we have a turkey dinner w/all the fixings. I bake a birthday cake for Jesus, and that’s one of our desserts. The children love it. We have tons of family that drop by on Christmas, and we love it. Our door is always open. Usually there’s football or a movie on a tv somewhere. But just having family around and watching the children play is a wonderful thing! I LOVE Christmas!!

  52. Debbie October 8, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    Please enter in me in the giveaway. What a great resource.

    Several years ago, we sat down as a family and discussed Christmas and what it means to us. We decided to reduce the amount of spending considerably. Instead of tons of gift giving at Christmas, we do more on each persons birthday. This has reduced or Christmas spending a lot, plus helps us focus more on the true meaning of Christmas.

  53. Lori October 8, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    Wow, I would love to be included in this give-away. It sounds like an awesome resource!!!

  54. Monica October 8, 2008 at 3:35 pm #

    What a great resource and thanks for the chance to win it! One way that I make things simple (in a way and I haven’t read everyones so not sure if others said this already) is I start putting together my Christmas card list now. I sell Stampin Up! and make all my Christmas cards so instead of waiting for Dec and being stressed I start in Oct and have it all done before Thanksgiving!

  55. Jennifer Ott October 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    I would love to have this book! With a 3-yr.-old, 2-yr.-old and 9-month-old, it would be a help. Thanks for the chance!

  56. Erin October 8, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    Thanks so much! One thing I started last year to simplify Christmas is to do less decorating – just the “essentials” that helped our family focus on Christ. I got out our nativity sets, and decorated the tree, and only a few other things. I was more peaceful and less stressed by having less to do.
    I’m enjoying your blog a lot, thanks!

  57. Phebe October 8, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    I’d love to enter this contest. It seems the holidays always sneak up on us. This year we are doing better, though. We’ve already ordered the Christmas cards, and purchased a present or two.

    My advice is to keep it really simple. WE have picked a couple of traditions that we love to do: going to the woods to chop down our own tree, adding one item to our Christmas “village”, etc. After that, we limit outside activities and keep gifts to a $200 or so budget.

    The thing that used to make me crazy at Christmas was sending out gifts and cards to far-flung family (we have a lot!!). It was SO expensive, and so much work! Now I just send cards to people we actually KNOW and have a relationship with, and close family members and friends get our annual Christmas Book. We started this last year and it was a hit! My oldest daughter(6 yrs old) and I collabarate to write and illustrate a Christmas story, complete with a forward signed by the whole family. Then we get it printed for $6.00 a copy and mail it out in big envelopes. This year everyone wants to know when they’re getting their book! I plan to make this a tradition and everyone will soon have a collection of original stories!

    That’s my two cents…


  58. Kimberly October 8, 2008 at 1:32 pm #

    This sounds like a wonderful idea, please sign me up for the drawing One way I have simplified and trying to teach and live the true meaning of Christmas is the children get three presents for Christmas (doesn’t include stocking stuffers). They are nice presents, but Christ only received three and if we are truly keeping Christ in Christmas, I don’t feel we should get more than he did for his own birthday. The first Christmas I spent with my stepson (he at that time was the first and only child I had) I went OVERBOARD! By the time he finished unwrapping he was tired and bored (you can tell by the pictures). Then I realized, is it truly worth it? Yes, he got ALL he asked for, but how long did he actually play with it?

  59. Megan October 8, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    Hey there! Last year, I had a chart of everyone to buy for, what I had gotten them the previous year, and then what to get this year. There was also a column for price, shipping, and wrapping. This year we are bartering instead of giving gifts. Should be interesting!

  60. elle October 8, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    Thanks for offering the giveaway. Our family celebrates Advent, to keep our heart and minds in tune with the purpose of this special season.

  61. Theresa October 8, 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    What a great giveaway. Instead of running around like crazy on Christmas Eve, we take advantage of our local zoo’s free admission day and go there as a family. It’s relaxing and fun and a break from all the frenzy of both the world and the church activities that accumulate in December.

  62. Kendra October 8, 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    To simplify gift giving between adults, my family and I chose to only give tree ornaments. We set a monetary limit on this. This simplified gift giving and also created good memories as we each decorated our tree the following year.

    For my children, my husband and I try to simplify the focus of Christmas. The first “gift” my children unwrap is a baby Jesus from one of our nativity sets. We use that to tell them, again, that Jesus was the best gift because without Him we could not receive the Holy Ghost.

  63. Jessica Y. October 8, 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    I would love this book. I don’t have many ideas to simplify Christmas, because every year I plan to go all out and then become buried under half finished ideas, last minute shopping and good intentions.

  64. Kim October 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    I don’t have any tips and it’s just us here. But I wanted to say that, although it may sound trite, it is so important to remember the reason for the season. It used to make me crazy that two local radio stations would begin their 24/7 holiday music on the first Monday in November. Now, it just lifts me up to hear “O Holy Night” in the middle of a weekday on a secular station.

    I cannot say the same for the retail stores that began setting up their Christmas displays at the end of September.

  65. Amy October 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm #

    Thanks for a great give-away! My tip is to Christmas shop ahead of time. I’m usually done shopping by July or August (because most of what I buy is from garage sales). I give acquaintances homemade jelly, and always have lots of that on hand for new friends, etc.

  66. Erinthebeekeeper October 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    Looks like a great book!

    My best tip for simplifying the holidays involves wrapping paper and a notebook. I do gift buying almost all year, and buy stuff on sale and clearance. I’ve got a notebook with everybody that I have to buy for, including hubby and kids. When I buy something I write down what I purchased for them in the notebook with a number beside it. I then wrap it up right away and put a gift tag on it. On the lower right hand corner of the gift tag I write the number that corresponds to the number in the notebook, which I keep with all the wrapping paper. That way I can look at the notebook in november and see who I still need to buy for, and normally I’m just about done by that point, and not only done but wrapped and ready to go, so that my busy december isnt’ spent gift wrapping

  67. Allie - The Pink Potpourri October 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm #

    what a great giveaway! i could definitley use this. i learned from the chef at the seminary how to have a whole meal prepared, get yourself ready, be able to greet the guests as they come in,and serve the meal still steaming warm!!! cook everything 3-4 hours in advance, put it in a cooler (the more items you have in there, teh longer the heat will last) and your’e good to go!

  68. Erin October 8, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    Please add me to the drawing. I am new to simplifying, so I don’t know that I have any ideas of my own to share…but I am excited for your upcoming series on simplifying the holidays! Thanks!

  69. Judy Kay October 8, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    One thing we’ve done is take the month of December off of school. That give us plenty of time to do all of those things that are supposed to be fun like baking, making gifts, visiting neighbors…etc, but often become a burden when too many things are competing for our attention. We want this season to really be a calm and joyful celebration and that won’t happen unless we’re intentional about it.

  70. Erin October 8, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Please enter me to win. To save on money this year, I hosted a Premiere Jewelry show. I was able to get over $500 in FREE jewelry!!! That took care of all the ladies for Christmas.

  71. Sharon October 8, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    This sounds like a great book! I have really been convicted about keeping Christ at the center of Christmas rather than as just a part of it, so this year we are doing very minimal gifts to keep it simple.

  72. Melody October 8, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    Thanks for this great giveaway. I love christmas but probably won’t decorate as much as i usually do. We moved into a new house a few months ago which we are renovating. We also moved 3 to 4 hours away from our families so there will be traveling this year. None-the-less, I would like to make it special for my now 18 month old.
    Thanks again!
    [email protected]

  73. April October 8, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    This seems like a wonderful resource. I really need some help with the simplifying, so I hope I win!

  74. Amy October 8, 2008 at 11:24 am #

    This book looks great! One way we’ve simplified is to get the kids (2 of them) very little in the way of gifts. We try to make a lot of at-home memories and take our time opening what we have. We don’t make plans to go anywhere and we enjoy each other all day.

  75. Melissa October 8, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    Over the last four Christmases since my husband and I have been married, we have established a few traditions that I absolutely love. We have decided Christmas Eve and Christmas day are days strictly at our home. My folks often come into town, but we do no traveling except to Christmas Eve Worship and Christmas Morning Communion at church. We have made a very intentional effort to focus our children on the real meaning of Christmas, which automatically reduces any stress about trying to find the perfect gifts for them, as well as the associated financial stress. I make baked goods which can be frozen, well in advance of the busy season, and my oldest, Anna, helps me make gifts. For most of our family (grandparents and great-grandparents) we give framed pictures of the girls (I am a photographer), and homemade gifts (ie crayon masterpieces, sticker collages, etc.) They are not “perfect” by any means, but my family loves them more than anything. Otherwise, I often work on artsy gifts like crocheting afghans or making small scrapbooks, all through the year as I have time. This year I am planning on making cloth napkins and casserole carriers. Anna will be helping me make apple-cinnamon tree ornament picture frames. All these traditions let me truly adore my family and revel in God’s perfect plan of salvation all during these weeks which can be, for some, the most dreaded of the year.

    May everyone’s upcoming Christmas season, be “simply” blessed!

  76. MacKenzie @BRC Banter October 8, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    I wish I had a good tip to share. This will only be our second Christmas as a married couple and last year I went way overboard with baking and making crafts and decorating… and ended up so sick that I spent all Christmas eve and day on the couch eating crackers. I really want to do better this year and just enjoy the time with my family and appreciating the wonderful gift God gave us for Christmas – I just don’t know how.

  77. Crystal October 8, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    Ooh! Pick me! I need all the help I can get this year. I am pregnant with my 4th baby, due December 30th.
    Something I did last year that really helped keep things simple, was that I made Christmas breakfast the night before and just baked it while we were opening presents in the morning. Then when everything settled down I put chili in the crockpot for that night. My father-in-law thought we were having money problems because we were eating chili for our Christmas dinner, but it’s what we wanted! And it made the day a lot less stressful for me.

  78. Andrea in Alaska October 8, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    Last year my parents asked us to give to the church instead of spending money on presents for them. We did, but I hated showing up to Christmas empty handed. I decided to make coupons personally designed on Publisher and printed on nice cardstock and wrapped up with a large candy bar for each family member. My father got an evening of watching the kids while he whisks away my mother on a date, my mother got a meal cooked at her house or mine, and my little brothers got a special lunch alone with my husband and I. Each event was planned with care and enjoyed by all. In our busy lives time is sometimes the most precious thing and because we were able to give them the coupons AT Christmas, we were able to spread the giving throughout the year. My mother has asked for us to do it again this year!

    Thanks for the ebook give away. I’ve looked at a lot of these organizers online, but without a Christian perspective, they just fall flat. I could definitely use the help keeping things simple and focused!

  79. Lisa October 8, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    My tips are these:

    Give one big present to each kid. {“Big” is defined differently in each family)

    Also give something the kids didn’t know they’d like.

    Give teens/young adults gift VISA gift cards. They’ll love you.

    Keep track of what you gave the great-aunts, grandmas etc to avoid repeating yourself.

    Save the receipts for everything!!

  80. Chele October 8, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    We have a very large family who loves to give presents. We take the children’s Christmas lists and parcel it out to each family group. We also give baked goods and handmade good to everyone except a select few people. This is made easier by my owning a craft business. Other than that, we limit the amount of gifts we give the children ourselves. One big gift, three Christian books, and maybe a movie. This year’s big gift is going to be split between the children.

    The book looks very informative. I love to hear about ways to incorporate mor of Christ into Christmas.

  81. erica October 8, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    We do lots of fun things to simplify the holidays. One is that only immediate family (spouses, kids, siblings, and parents) get “real” presents. The rest get make-it-or-bake-it gifts, such as homemade breads or cookies along with a homemade card and pictures of the kids. Another is that I do my best to shop all year ’round to get things I know people will love and to save on that giant November/December shopping bill. We also started trading off holiday houses because one Christmas we went to four different houses. It was ridiculous. Now we do some on days other than Christmas, and some every other year or on Thanksgiving instead. Some that are not necessarily simplifying but go back to the right roots are reading the Christmas story from Luke before we open presents to remember why we’re doing it, baking a birthday cake for Jesus, and buying a present to give to a needy child. This book looks great; thanks!

  82. Rosita October 8, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    We have continued the tradition that my family has in that we give big gifts for birthdays and only a small gift at Christmas. My mother’s gift to my sisters and I is assorted cards (usually blank inside but with a wide assortment of messages or pictures on the outside) that she has collected throughout the year. The one year she didn’t do that, we all complained, as that has become our favorite gift.

    As my husband’s family lives on another continent, we don’t have to worry much about running from place to place. One tradition we have started is to invite people from our church who are far from home to spend Christmas dinner with us. We both were the recipitents of such invitations in the past and it was really meaningful for us to be part of a family instead of being far from home, alone, and being homesick.

  83. Rosemary October 8, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    In the past we basically spoiled our little one with toys that got shoved a way a month later. :) (Not to smart of us but like most we got caught up in consumerism!)
    This year we thought we just keep it simple by having a gift bag with 24 little things like craft supplies to count down to Christmas. And on Christmas four gifts. One for fun(What he would like to have). One for something he needs(This year I’ll be making him pajamas.) One for educational purpose. And the last for something we all can enjoy. I know it stills seems like alot. But it is a lot less than usual and most will be low cost.

    When I was little mom got us one big special gift, something we needed, and something she made. We made each others gifts too.

  84. annie October 8, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    what a great book idea and a generous giveaway!

    one thing we’ve done with our family has been to spend christmas day with just us, no going to grandparents’ homes or having guests over or anything. because of my husband’s job we’ve had to celebrate christmas on a day other than december 25 because he might have to work that day, but whatever day we choose is strictly our family. it simplifies things and makes it really special for us. :)


  85. Lorrie October 8, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    I would love to be entered for this give away. Thank you so much for hosting it. I look forward to seeing what new info you have for us each day. Keep up the good work.

  86. Shannon October 8, 2008 at 9:45 am #

    That book sounds wonderful! It always feels like a battle to balance family and holiday traditions with truly celebrating Jesus. I’m trying to spend at least one day around Christmas in service to homeless people with my daughter.

  87. Alison @ Wholesome Goodness October 8, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    In preparation for my in-laws staying with us for a few days and Christmas dinner itself, I put together a detailed menu plan and grocery lists way ahead of time. I put them in a binder and included a copy of every recipe I planned to use. That way, I didn’t have to leaf through my cookbooks, favorite blogs, and recipe sites in the midst of all the hubbub. Everything was together. I also planned a Christmas dinner countdown that mapped out what needed to be done 2 days ahead, 1 day ahead, the morning of, 3 hours before, 2 hours before, etc. It helped SO much. I’ll definitely be doing it again. What I wish I had planned better: gift buying and wrapping. I’d love to see what other useful tools are in this ebook!

  88. Heather October 8, 2008 at 9:37 am #

    Thank you for this! What a great idea! We start baking goodies soon after we’re done canning so we can pull them out and use them during the holiday season. We also shop throughout the year–this helps with keeping in budget too!


  89. Elise October 8, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    How we love our Jesse Tree book! This one would be a lovely addition to our holidays, especially with a little one due in 3 weeks- thanks for the giveaway! :)

  90. Brittney Colyer October 8, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    What a fun book :) I think one big part of simplifying(like many of the comments have already shared) is getting the right perspective. . . remembering what the purpose of Christmas is in your family and with those who you can minister to. If the purpose is to glorify our Lord by celebrating the salvation he gave through His Son, then all our “to-do’s” should revolve around this. I often have such high expectations for what I want to ‘get done’ that if I don’t apply this principle what would have been a joy (baking cookies for neighbors, decorating the house for family gatherings, etc.) turn into a burden that are just things I’m doing rather than ways I’m glorifying God. Some things might have to go because my heart is turning an opportunity for worship into a way of worry.

  91. Christy October 8, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    Sounds great…I’d love to win this book. :) We try to keep things simple with the gifts we give our kids. Usually just three gifts each…1 reasonably priced thing they’ve been wishing for, 1 thing they need (like slippers or pjs, a shirt, etc…), and either a good book or educational toy, or for our older one sometimes a good movie…like Amazing Grace.)

  92. Kristen October 8, 2008 at 9:08 am #

    If your family is up for the challenge, do a secret santa gift exchange. That way you don’t have to buy tons of gifts, you can just spend your time and money considering one very well thought out gift.

  93. Kristen October 8, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    One thing that has helped us prepare for the holiday season is to start saving money from January 1st onward which will be spent during Thanksgiving and Christmas (we set aside a bit each month so we will have enough to pay for all travel, gift, and food expenses). Since this has been in our budget savings plan all year long, I feel very prepared to go into this holiday season. This savings plan simplifies the holiday by taking out the biggest stress of them all – money! If you haven’t been doing this already, mark it on your January 2009 calendar and begin next year with a great head-start for the holiday season!

  94. Kristie October 8, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    What a wonderful way to organize the season around Christ!
    I have found that my son’s favorite gifts are ones that have already been well-loved by his cousins. As he grows we’ll be encouraging him to select a special item of his own to give away as a gift. Sort of a way to share the joy he’s gotten from an item and rather than giving a cold piece of plastic from the store he’s giving a gift that is truly personal.

  95. Lindsay Hill October 8, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    What a great resource! Last Christmas I was due with my second little girl (due date was January 1st!), and I worked really hard to do things ahead of time in case the baby came early, or I was just really, really pregnant! I made lots of cookies in November and froze lots of meals too. We always have a lasagna on Christmas Eve, so I was able to pull that and a chicken pot pie out to serve for my family of three. (Elise waited until January 3 to show up) :)

  96. Pam October 8, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    Looks like a great book. One thing we do each year is buy a pork roast for Christmas day. Before I go to bed Christmas eve, I season it, wrap it in foil and stick it in the oven at 225. By lunchtime Christmas day it is ready – all I have to do is bring out the buns, shred the pork, set out the BBQ sauce and a few sides and lunch for the extended family is served!

  97. Celeste October 8, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    My biggest simplifying strategy: starting early! I like to have as much as I can done before Advent begins so that I can prepare spiritually during that time. We also save our Christmas celebrating for AFTER Christmas Day–the Twelve Days of Christmas. It helps to celebrate each set of holy days at its appropriate time so it’s not all just thrown in there in December. We have a new little one on the way in January too, so starting early is my mantra this year!

  98. Farrah October 8, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    Please add me to the drawing. Thank you!

  99. Brandy October 8, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    I love this idea. My husband and I were talking not that long ago about the need to stress to our children what Christmas is all about. I love the idea of homemade gifts from the heart. My tip is so that Christmas morning is not so stressful, to Make a dish the night before that can go straight to the oven when you get up….I love baked french toast that you soak overnight!

  100. Susannah October 8, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    I was just listening to a pod cast on that book and the jesse tree one two days ago. As far as what we do to simplify? I read about a “wow factor” in The Complete Tightwad Gazette. If you over do things with children, you loose the “WOW” and tend to overspend. and so we simplify to keep the “wow” fun. In a supersized economy, people end up being miserable and in debt while chasing the “wow”.

  101. Lisa October 8, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    I also agree with the trouble of starting our own family’s traditions when we are running around to extended families. We have decided to meet with our ext. famlies on different days then Cmas Day. Starting about now I like to have the children bake some goodies and freeze them. lisa

  102. Lauren October 8, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    One way I simplify Christmas is to gift shop through the whole year. I pick things up throughout the year at sales and then when Christmas comes I am usually all set for gifts. My husband has a large family so this method makes it so much easier and simpler to be able to share in gift giving. I also shop at thrift stores and this allows me adequate time to find gifts for everyone.

  103. Michelle October 8, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    Please enter me to win. It sounds fabulous! Each year, I try to simplify more and more. This year I am going to try to make more gifts and spend less time shopping. I am going to be looking for creative ways to bring Jesus to the focal point of our Christmas activities and decorating.

  104. Monica October 8, 2008 at 8:08 am #

    This year I told my children that I was going to give them something used or something homemade as a Christmas theme. This will help keep us out of the stores to find the “perfect gift”. Their response: They were so excited to do this with their gift giving as well and are anxious to see which sibling they will be giving to in their exchange gifts. When my mother heard about this, she joined in as well. She is trying to label items in her house for the grandchildren for an inheritance and she decided to give each of my children one of her Bibles for Christmas. We had so much fun choosing which one fit each grandchild!

  105. DeAnna October 8, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    This sounds like a great book. I so want my girls to see Christ as the center of Christmas, which is difficult in the world around them. (And grandparents who spoil them) At Christmas, we make an extra effort to teach our kids about giving to others, especially those who don’t have things, at Christmas. Now that the girls are toddlers we are wanting to find even more ways to make Christ centered traditions. I love everything about Christmas, the weather, the songs, the decorations, but I want our family to remember Him more than anything. The more great ideas and help to do this, the better — especially with planning as things can get so busy and Christmas and come and go before you know it. Like Danielle said in the above comment, we have to simplify things with our family. My family is in town, but we have told them, that we are going to get up, have our nice relaxing time together as a family, and then if my parents want they are welcome to come up for breakfast, but we’re not going to rush and miss out on the time together as a family building traditions and celebrating Christ’s birth.

  106. gaitha October 8, 2008 at 7:53 am #

    Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway:)

  107. Kimberly October 8, 2008 at 7:52 am #

    We finalize our calendar for December in November after deciding what is important for us to do. After that, we decline activities.

  108. sara October 8, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    one thing my family has done to simplify Christmas eve is to make a winter chili in the crockpot that cooks while we’re at church, along with homemade bread in the bread machine. when we come home, there’s no need to fuss with dinner, and we can enjoy a dinner together!

  109. Donielle @ Raising Peanuts October 8, 2008 at 7:27 am #

    What a great idea for a book! Seems like very year we get to busy or to stressed. The one thing we have had to do is tell our families (mine and my husbands live in town) that we can only see them every other year. While it cuts down on time we get to spend with them, it’s great for our own little family since we don’t spend the entire Christmas day running all over trying to see everyone and have dinners at both homes. It used to be a whole day event for us and by the time we got home, we had no time to start any traditions of our own.