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“Christmas Traditions -the Center of it all…” by Cynthia A. Lovely

Christmas Corner - Do you still send Christmas Cards?

Every year at the “after-Christmas” sales I make sure I find new cards for the following year.

In my search for the perfect Christmas message, I rule out many that have pretty winter scenes, catchy phrases, and often beautiful verses. Why? If the card does not center on the true message of Christmas, “Emmanuel, God with us,” I will continue to search.

This is the perfect time of year to spread the Good News yet we still get caught up in the holiday hoopla. There are beautiful cards out there with scripture verses and heartfelt greetings that share the love of Christ.

Let us hold to the message and take the time to share the beauty of Christmas at this time of year!

 



Thoughtful Last Minute Gifts

 

(Repeating a post from last year -there were some terrific suggestions in the comments and I’d love to have more feedback on this topic.)

If you’re still running around trying to find the perfect gift, here’s a few suggestions that I’ve found to be helpful:

  • Car Wash coupon booklet -  I don’t know about you, but we never seem to take good care of our cars and keep up on the car washing deal. Having a convenient booklet of coupons makes it so much easier.
  • Personalized address labels – Yes, it’s too late to order labels. But you can buy special holiday/winter return address labels at your local Office Max or Staples store. It’s easy to set up the matching template and run them off. I’ve found this to be an ideal gift for two friends who have recently moved to a new address.
  • Warm gloves or mittens – Okay, I admit I tend to lose gloves very easily. Surely I’m not the only one with this problem.
  • An Entertainment coupon book – Especially for your family and friends who love a good deal and are a “saving” kind of people.
  • Gift certificates to their favorite restaurant – I visit a local tearoom a lot and often receive gift cards to it – love it!

If you want to avoid the malls, sometimes you may find gifts at your local grocery store: favorite teas or coffee, food items or lovely Christmas flower arrangements. Visit your local downtown area and check out the specialty shops and quirky boutiques – you may find that perfect, unique gift! 

Please leave your own suggestions in a comment to enter the giveaway for the Christmas dvd, “A Holiday to Remember” with Connie Sellecca and Randy Travis. May also gift a Christmas novel…check back next week!

 



Christmas Afterglow

 

Love the week after Christmas. Now it’s time to:

  • Take naps.
  • Enjoy the colorful lights and decor surrounding you.
  • Admire the glossy pictures in Christmas themed magazines.
  • Sip gourmet hot chocolate or special gift teas that were given at Christmas.
  • Watch more Christmas dvd’s. (my husband has given me a deadline of New Year’s for this…)
  • Take a walk in the country and breathe in the brisk winter air.
  • Light scented candles in the evening and read a good book.
  • Bake those cookies you didn’t have time to bake before.
  • And when your energy is renewed…catch some of the after-holiday sales: such fun!
  • Give thanks for all the numerous blessings God has bestowed upon you.

I pray you enjoy the quiet after all the busyness, continuing the Christmas celebration, peacefully and prayerfully.

We had great suggestions in the previous post on last minute gifts. Keep them coming! Winner of the dvd will be announced in a few days, stay tuned.  (Note: Today’s photo is from Inn Victoria at Chester, Vermont – our favorite Vermont Inn)


Thoughtful Last Minute Gifts

If you’re still running around trying to find the perfect gift, here’s a few suggestions that I’ve found to be helpful:

  • Car Wash coupon booklet -  I don’t know about you, but we never seem to take good care of our cars and keep up on the car washing deal. Having a convenient booklet of coupons makes it so much easier.
  • Personalized address labels – Yes, it’s too late to order labels. But you can buy special holiday/winter return address labels at your local Office Max or Staples store. It’s easy to set up the matching template and run them off. I’ve found this to be an ideal gift for two friends who have recently moved to a new address.
  • Warm gloves or mittens – Okay, I admit I tend to lose gloves very easily. Surely I’m not the only one with this problem.
  • An Entertainment coupon book – Especially for your family and friends who love a good deal and are a “saving” kind of people.
  • Gift certificates to their favorite restaurant – I visit a local tearoom a lot and often receive gift cards to it – love it!

If you want to avoid the malls, sometimes you may find gifts at your local grocery store: favorite teas or coffee, food items or lovely Christmas flower arrangements. 

Announcing the winner of “Christmas Gifts” book: Emily Reynolds!  Please send me your address and I’ll get this book out to you. 

Next week’s Christmas giveaway: the dvd “Christmas Comes Home to Canaan.” To enter, please leave a comment here with a last minute gift suggestion. But hurry, we’re running out of time!



Blue Christmas

I offer this post today to those of you who have lost loved ones or those facing difficulties at this “most wonderful time of the year.”  My mother died in December several years ago, so the holidays are always bittersweet. Yet through the passage of time, God has restored my joy and my peace. Christmas is still a beautiful season to celebrate the birth of our Savior.    I marvel whenever I hear an old Christmas carol playing in the middle of a mall. There is no other time of the year you will hear a Hallelujah chorus praising God in the midst of your shopping. Truly it is a season of light, hope, joy and peace. 

  • Dwell on the good memories, not the hard times.
  • Keep your focus on Jesus, the only One who can comfort your heart.
  • Embrace the season.
  • And most important – cherish your friends and family that are still with you. 

I pray God’s perfect peace will surround you, and that you feel the brush of angel’s wings as you slip softly through this lovely time of year.  

If you would like to add a suggestion or leave a comment, I will be giving away one copy of “Christmas Gifts,” by Gail Gaymer Martin and Brenda Minton. Winner will be announced next week only on the blog so do check back to see if you have won!


 

 


 


Christmas…continued?
Photo C.A. Lovely

First of all, stop yelling. This is not a post about keeping the Christmas tree up all year. In fact, this tree isn’t mine. It was at a lovely inn we visited in Vermont. Second of all, it’s also not about keeping the decorations up. I know it feels good to get the house back to normal and on to the New Year. I would like to define the reasons Christmas remains one of our favorite holidays. Perhaps we can carry some of those things into the next few months.

  1. We focus on the Lord.
  2. We give more than usual – of our time.
  3. We give of our money in donations.
  4. We give gifts to friends and family.
  5. We make the effort to clean house and decorate.
  6. We reach out to others less fortunate than ourselves.
  7. We throw parties and celebrate.
  8. We take time off from work.
  9. We listen to music and participate in concerts.
  10. We find time to make things special.

I’m sure there are items listed here that we can continue if we make the effort. Every month there is something to celebrate and future posts on this blog will list some of those events. Some well known. Some not so much : ) We’ll learn about many reasons to continue the celebration and also - to inspire future writing endeavors.

What would you choose from this list for the next month?

What would you add to the list?


Savoring the Season…

Photo by C.A. Lovely 12/2012

Christmas flashes by in a blur of high speed with weeks of frantic preparation only to fizzle out in a moment along with the lights on the tree. I refuse to end it on 12/25.

Often the weeks after the holidays are the most enjoyable. The house is still decorated, the pressure is off and family obligations have been met. Now there is time for personal reflection and preparation for the coming new year. Creativity begins to flow again as I write about sweet holiday memories and funny episodes.

A recent snowstorm of 16 inches (and it’s still snowing!) contributes to the “stay-snug-at-home” feeling. Cardinals, finches and bluejays flit around the gazebo frame in the yard, appreciative of the birdseed Christmas bells. As evening slips in, outside Christmas lights cast pools of brightness on to the fresh snow and sparkle off newly formed icicles hanging between the decor.

Simple pleasures – the week after. 

What is your favorite thing to do after Christmas?

How do you savor the season and make it last longer? 

Do you find it easier to write at this time?


A Reminder at Christmas…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                      Focus on Jesus.

                Avoid arguments.

                Pursue peace.

                Cut yourself some slack.

                Love deeply.

                Forgive a long-held grudge.

                Be kind to strangers.

                Give with a grateful heart.

                Rejoice in the simple things.

                Hug someone.

                Worship the Christ.

A happy, holy Christmas to you and yours.

Note: Congrats to the winner of the Christmas dvd – Carole Brown!


Christmas-What changes will you make this year?

Every year the holidays sneak up on us and we feel unprepared. Or maybe that’s just me : ) Looking back at last year, I did better with trying to focus more on the message of the season – the gift of our Savior. This year:

  1. Every time I hear those ringing bells, I stop by the Salvation Army Kettle and drop in a bill. Even if it is only $1.00. And along with the donation, I offer a heartfelt, “Merry Christmas!” Not a wimpy Happy Holidays, but a solid, old fashioned, normal, traditional Merry Christmas. It feels good. And it always makes the bell-ringer smile.
  2. Planning on shopping at many small local businesses. I dislike malls. I also am tired of reading Made in China. Local craft fairs and boutiques offer unique gifts. We need to support our local economy.
  3. Buying books. A lot of books. And music. And dvds. From a Christian bookstore or christianbook.com. I’m always cheered knowing my money is supporting Christian authors, musicians or artists. Spreading the good news at Christmas.
  4. Writing my thoughts and memories down for future stories and articles. Love Christmas stories. More on that next post…

Simple changes. But they make a difference.

What will you do differently this year?

 




Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Photo by C.A. Lovely 12/2011

It’s hard to believe we’re back at Christmas Corner again. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, the holiday race begins.

Christmas…everyone’s favorite holiday.

Or maybe not. It may bring happy memories or sad regrets.

Wherever you are this holiday season, I invite you to join me in my seasonal goal. To fix my focus upon Jesus.

Not because the holiday celebrates the birth of the Savior. But because He is my Savior 365 days of the year. Sometimes in the roller coaster of emotions the holiday brings, we forget what it’s all about. I want to center my gaze upon Him. Through every relationship, every event, every celebration. To refuse to be pulled into the frantic pace and mindless materialism.

By simply spending time with Jesus every day and centering my will in Him. Doesn’t that sound like an awesome Christmas?

 

 


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