Preparing for the Holidays: Recommended Resources

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As we enter the holiday season, I compiled an archive of all the helpful holiday tips, recipes, and encouragement towards intentionality this holiday season that we have shared previously here. Let’s start the season off right by taking time to plan and prepare our hearts. I encourage you to embrace the “one thing” that is truly necessary this holiday season: resting and sitting at the feet of Jesus.

“Serving is important. Our Lord also taught us: “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” But serving is not the most necessary thing. There is only one thing that is truly necessary—listening to the Lord speak. So as we head into the holidays, as we face the temptation to be distracted with much serving, or tempted about many things, let’s remind ourselves of Jesus’ words. Should I be serving? There is one thing more necessary! Should I be worrying? This is completely unnecessary! There is only one thing that is necessary. And what is that? To sit and listen to the Lord’s teaching, that’s what!

Let’s take our cues from Mary. We shouldn’t wait until things settle down after the holidays. We shouldn’t postpone listening to Jesus until January 1. We must choose to sit and listen to the Lord’s teaching today: right in the middle of the Christmas craziness. And we must strive to do so every day after.” – Carolyn Mahaney (from Only One Thing is Necessary This Holiday Season)

Purposeful Holidays

Sharing Christ on Halloween - learn a creative simple means of letting your light shine on Halloween
Trick or Treat?
– learn the history behind Halloween and how we can still redeem this holiday
Thanksgiving Journal: Preparing Your Hearts with A Month of Thanksgiving
– take this upcoming month to focus on recording God’s goodness
Simplifying Thanksgiving
– tips and resources for a purposeful and simple Thanksgiving celebration (including crafts!)
Our Jesse Tree- A Focused Advent Celebration
– a fun, Christ centered way to celebrate Advent
Celebrating a Simpler Christmas
- 9 ideas to help keep it simple but purposeful this year!
Celebrating Christ’s Coming
Holiday Evaluation Questions - help get your heart in the right place
Christ Centered Christmas Dialogue – helpful questions to encourage productive conversations
Simplifying Christmas Events & Building Traditions – how to cut back on outside events while building fun family traditions
Simplify the Holidays by Focusing on Giving – fun and easy ways to give unto others this Christmas.

Operation Christmas Child is one of these wonderful ways to pass gifts of love and sharing to children around the world through a simple shoe box. National Collection week is November 15-22, 2010, so please check out how you can participate and motivate others to do the same. Watch this compelling video of a young girl from war-torn Bosnia whose life was transformed through a simple shoe box gift. It brought me to tears to see how God can sovereignly meet all our basic needs and the life changing power of the gospel! Pick up a shoe box and pack it today!

Resource Recommendations

Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey – Barbara Rainey has created an excellent resource for enabling you and your family to remember the past, recognize God’s hand in our history, and express thankfulness to Him for His goodness today.

This story of the Pilgrims’ faithfulness and biblical thankfulness is accompanied by a CD of songs of worship and praise that will call your hearts to gratitude. It’s a wonderful opportunity to enrich your family’s awareness of our nation’s Christian heritage, provide models of courage and sacrifice for your children, and establish a tradition of sharing your gratefulness with one another, which will build a legacy of memories for the future.

Squanto And the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas – a solid historical based Christian retelling of the first Thanksgiving for young children.

This year I picked up What God Wants for Christmas, a new interactive kid-friendly nativity from Family Life that looks like a fun resource to use with your kiddos while you discover the true meaning of Christmas!

A fabulous collection of Advent readings can be found in Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas by Nancy Guthrie, which is a collection of articles by John Piper, Francis Schaeffer, John MacArthur, Charles Spurgeon and many other solid Christian leaders from the past and present. We read this last year and gave it away to many as a gift and it kept coming back highly recommended!

Gift Ideas

Simplifying the Holidays with Homemade Gifts - an assortment of gift ideas
Homemade Creative Play Gifts for Kids
Gift Ideas for the Natural Mama
Homemade Vanilla Extract – this turned out delicious and a fun Christmas gift!

Frugal & Green Gift Wrapping Ideas – learn to be creative in your gift wrapping this year!

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Healthy Pumpkin Pie
Holiday Eggnog & Eggnog Ice Cream

Blender Gingerbread Pancakes
Cranberry Candy Canes

Praying we all have a peaceful Christ filled holiday season this year!

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.

21 Responses to Preparing for the Holidays: Recommended Resources

  1. April Brown November 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Hi, I clicked on the link above called Simplifying Thanksgiving and it didn’t work. I have spent about 4o minutes looking for an article I am sure I read last year regarding simplifying Thanksgiving meals, among other things. You wrote about keeping it simple and limiting side dishes, etc. I specifically am looking for a green bean casserole recipe with home fried onions and cream of mushroom soup from scratch. I am pretty sure I tried several of the recipes last year at Thanksgiving that I found on your site. Is it just my imagination or did you used to have a bog post like I am describing? I can’t find it in any searches. I appreciate any help! Thank you!

  2. Shawnee August 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    this is so fabulous!! i am so, so, so eager for the holidays to arrive… thank you for providing a wealth of resources to make this year a bit more special and focused :)

  3. Pam December 14, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    Seems we have much in common. Our blog names! Faith, nutrition, I am a midwife,and you a doula, green smoothies!! So funny.

  4. Beth at God's Everyday Blessings November 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    Thanks, Lindsay, for all the great resources! It will take me a while to look through them all, but it should be fun.

    Great reminder as well to put God first in everything, to rest and find time for contemplative moments among the chaos that the holidays often throws at us.

  5. Kim November 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Hi, Lindsey! Thanks for this timely reminder to pursue the “one thing” that is necessary. Besides the approaching holidays, we are preparing for a move in 3 weeks. Lots of LIFE is happening in our home, and it is easy to neglect sitting still with Jesus. I also ordered your recommended book “Come Lord Jesus”. I’m excited to have a new devotional for Advent. Thanks!

    I loved talking with you at Relevant!


    • Lindsay November 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

      Hey Kim! Thanks for stopping by and sharing. You will surely enjoy Come Lord Jesus! A great read for your family!

  6. Kimberly October 31, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    I just found your blog and love the excitement in your writing~love your about page:) Look forward to reading more. I am a mother of 3 teens whom I homeschooled for most of their lives. I still homeschool my youngest (done with older 2:). I have health challenges and am looking for ways to simplify my life and be a better wife and mom. Have a blessed day!

  7. kelly October 30, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    I just love your website! It’s such a blessing!

  8. Laura October 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi Lindsey,
    I’ve commented here before as I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time.

    Just wanted to say, I am a missionary at a children’s center in Mozambique. We have been the recipients of Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes several times and they are such a blessing to our kids! So I want to personally thank everyone who particpates in this program.

    Not alone does it provide a wonderful gift for our children, but it frees up resources for us to provide for a nice Christmas meal and clothing for them as well.

    So thank you for promoting this wonderful program.
    Laura Andersonn

  9. tina b October 29, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    Hi, Lindsay! Thanks for this post! I am wondering- don’t you usually use a 12-week holiday planner? I thought I remembered you saying something about it last year… or the year before… or maybe it wasn’t you. LOL!

    Thanks again!

    • Lindsay October 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

      No, it is definitely me! I just didn’t include it in this post because it started back in early October. You can see my post about it here.

      • tina b October 30, 2010 at 9:30 am #

        Thank you so much! At least I’m not completely losing my mind :) I’m going to check it out even though it is a few weeks in… Have a great weekend!

  10. Ami October 28, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    I enjoyed this post and I’m really looking forward to worshipping my Savior this Christmas!

    We’ve been studying the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog together and I think it’s one step to getting our hearts in the right place.

    I usually make Christmas gifts but I’ve just got to scale back! Instead, this year I’m putting together baskets of goods from the farmer’s market! I am having such fun! So far I’ve got jams, crocheted washcloths, and goat’s milk soap. I LOVE all this homemade stuff that isn’t clutter, and I LOVE paying for these beautiful items right into the hands of the women who made them. I think I’ll make some bread to tuck into them and we’ll have some great baskets to hand out! I hope this idea might help someone else who’s looking for good gifts to give.

  11. A.G. October 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    I have been following your site for well over a year now. So encouraging and helpful! We have alot of similar interests. I wanted to see if you have encountered or known anyone that is a Christian but also follows Jewish high holidays and Hannukah? My husband I have been celebrating them with our 2 children for about a year now. We see alot of awesome connections to the high holidays and the new testament and Christ. just a small input from a Hannukah celebrating Momma! Thanks for all the hardwork you do!

  12. Monica October 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    I just purchased (from “Preparing my Heart for Advent”. It starts November 1st. Instead of waiting until December to start preparing your heart. A devotion each day of November and then on the corresponding date in December there is another devotion on the same subject. At the end of each week there is also information on Christmas Carols, symbols, and traditions. I can’t wait to get started. I love all your information. I will be referring back her often for the links.

  13. Katy October 28, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple months now, and truly appreciate your life giving words and encouragement. I love your Jesse Tree ideas. I started mine last year as well and shopped at JoAnn’s so many of ours are the same! I also made a bunch with salt dough and then painted them once they dried. Even though I am not crafty or artistic, those are actually my favorite. If you plan on making more ornaments this year, I’d recommend the salt dough as a fun activity for you and the kids.
    God bless you!

  14. Lori October 28, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    Thank you for all the resources! My hubby and I have been trying to figure out our response to Halloween. We live in a neighborhood that could easily bring 200-300 kids to our door. We have a two year old we don’t want exposed to all the scary costumes. Thanks for the links to various ideas for how to be a light at Halloween!

  15. elaine October 28, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    Wow! This is awesome – thanks for taking the time to put this together!

  16. Stephanie October 28, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    Hi, I just happen to come across your blog and I have not even read one post completely yet and I can already tell this is a thoughtful, Spirit-filled blog! I just wanted to say congrats on a beautiful website! I will be bookmarking this one for sure.

  17. Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama October 28, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    Thank you for all the great resources in one place. I will definitely be coming back to this post.

  18. Angi October 28, 2010 at 1:22 am #

    This post I will keep coming back to. We moved to the UK recently and money is a bit tight,so I need some tips to make it special for my kids even if it isn’t a huge massive to-do.