A Few of My Favorite Things

A thousand December wishes for you all! May you be overcome by the Lord’s goodness every time you turn around—in the wrapping of presents, the baking of treats, the singing of carols, the brewing of beverages, the writing of cards, and the clearing of snow. And when you put pen to paper for a fresh year’s hopes, take a deep breath: that’s the smell of God’s faithfulness in ways yet to be discovered, just waiting for you.

Some December gifts to point you toward:

Boundary Help: Talking “No” Pens

Laugh if you want (it will probably be difficult not to, honestly), but these can be fun lifesavers in the middle of a busy season. When the calendar gets jammed because of an inability to utter this monosyllabic word, let your pen do the talking. Have a girlfriend who struggles with saying no? Boom. Stocking stuffer.

Gift for the Chocolate Lover: World Market’s Salted Caramel Bark

People. You have not lived until you’ve tried this stuff. (Plus, if there’s a store near you, you get the added bonus of a phenomenal shopping experience! Think Anthropologie with a global twist.) “Rich, buttery vanilla caramel between layers of decadent dark chocolate and topped with sea salt.” I need to move on from this one—I’m practically drooling just thinking about it.

Mischief Tweak: The Grace-Filled Elf on the Shelf by Michelle Donnelly

If you’re a little uneasy about bringing a spirit of legalism into your home around the holidays but don’t want to miss out on the fun of an ornery elf, here’s a lovely alternative. Rather than serving as Santa’s spy and promoting behavior modification, this twist on the shelf elf can actually help reinforce rhythms of grace with your kiddos.

Breakfast Upgrade: Danish Kalenderlys

For the most part, Americans tend to miss beautiful opportunities to bond around the breakfast table. We’re so fixated on “cram and scram” that we bypass chances to gird one another with truth and beauty before facing the world. The kalenderlys, a Danish Christmas calendar candle, is a way to fight back. You burn a little bit during each breakfast throughout December, building anticipation and uniting families at the same time. (Here’s the one I’ve been eyeing.)

New Tradition: Kindness Spree

Honestly, Christmas can feel like the least wonderful time of the year. Between the rush of checkout lines, the pressure to “get it right,” and the onset of seasonal depression, we’re more likely to encounter (or embody) the Grinch rather than Buddy the Elf. Why not take an afternoon to intentionally spread some good old-fashioned Christmas cheer? Pay for the coffee behind you. Hide handwritten compliments in conspicuous spots around town. Bake cookies for a grumpy neighbor. The more creative you get, the more fun you’ll have.

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