What Everyone Really Wants for Christmas

How to Create a Christmas Budget -- and Stick With It!

Jon Acuff has a fantastic post up on The Gift Everyone Really Wants for Christmas. It’s a must-read. Here’s a snippet:

Your husband? He wants your presence.

Your wife? She wants your presence.

Your kids? They want your presence.

Your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your father, your mother, your friend, your neighbor? They all want your presence.

Every day this gift becomes rarer and rarer. Can you remember the last time you had a full conversation with someone’s face, not just their forehead as they stared at their phone? Can you remember the last time someone was “all there” not just partially there because interacting with you wasn’t enough to hold their full attention? I have to leave my phone in the car when we go to dinner parties or I will be physically present but absent in every other way possible as I engage with the phone instead of anyone else.

Don’t miss Christmas because you’re working or you’re lost in your phone.

This year, give someone that rarest gift of all, your presence. No one else can give them that.

It costs nothing, but it’s worth everything.

Read the full post.

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Great Last Minute Gift: $5 Magazine Subscription Sale!

$5 Magazine Sale Image 600Looking for a last-minute gift idea? How about a magazine subscription?

Magazines make such great gifts — not only do they not take up a lot of space in someone’s house, they are a gift that can be enjoyed all year long.

My husband and I love to get a few different magazine subscriptions (His favorite? Outdoor Life. Mine is currently Fast Company.)

Our kids also LOVE magazine subscriptions. I love that it encourages them to read and learn and they love the anticipation of getting a new issue in the mail each month.Why magazine subscriptions make great giftsThis weekend’s magazine sale from DiscountMags is a wonderful opportunity to find something for just about anyone on your list and this sale is full of best selling titles that are all on sale for only $5 each!!

DiscountMags makes it so easy because they even allow you to select and send an e-card to announce your gift:
Card DesignYou can purchase these magazines for yourself, as gifts for others and you can even extend existing subscriptions!

Go here to see all of the magazines in the sale!

Sale ends Sunday night, December 21st, 2014. No coupon codes needed!

(Note: The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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Why We Simplified Christmas This Year

Less Under Our Tree

I was with a group of friends earlier this week and one of the gals asked me, “So, are you all ready for Christmas?”

She was referring to whether or not I have all our presents purchased and wrapped and whether the myriad of other Christmas details were taken care of.

I wasn’t sure how to answer that question. You see, we simplified Christmas so much this year that it almost feels like we cancelled Christmas.

Only we didn’t.

We just decided that the past few months have been full enough that instead of trying to pack our December full, we’d instead leave it really, really empty.

Our extended families had already asked if we could cut back and really simplify when it came to gifts this year and we’d already decided that we were going to keep our kids’ gifts super simple, too.

Then, we decided to just let the kids choose which Christmas decorations they wanted to put up. They opted for their little pink Christmas tree — which they had fun decorating themselves.

Next, we decided that we’d skip sending Christmas cards. And pretty soon, after we’d crossed off or nixed most of the usual Christmas obligations or activities we’d opted to do in the past, we were left with a wide open December.

And it has been bliss. Bliss, I tell you.

Why We Simplified Christmas This Year

We’ve hung out as a family more. We’ve read together more. We’ve snuggled together and watched Christmas movies together. We’ve listened to a lot of Christmas music. We’ve gone to bed early. We’ve slept in. And we’ve not felt rushed or stressed or exhausted or frantic.

For the most part, December has been one of the calmest and quietest months we’ve had in ages. And it’s freed up much-needed space to just breathe, listen, love, rest, and enjoy being together.

Do I think families who have opted for lots of beautiful decorations, lots of Christmas shopping, and lots of festive activities are doing it wrong? Not in the least.

We’ve had years in the past where the Christmas season has been bustling with a lot of fun and where I found so much fulfillment in spending hours and hours picking out the perfect gifts to bless others. I don’t regret those years or those memories one bit.

But I also don’t regret having a quiet and simple Christmas this year. Sometimes, your soul just needs to take a step back and breathe.

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Free Ebooks: Homemade Christmas, The Christmas Story, Stewarding Life, and more

NOTE: The price of these ebooks is currently $0.00, but that could change at any time. Be sure to verify before checking out that it is still free.

Unless otherwise noted, these ebooks are specifically for Kindles, but you can go here to download a free application that enables you to read Kindle ebooks on your PC.

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