Our kids are growing and so is our movie list! Be sure to check out our previous movie recommendations here! What titles are you adding to your Christmas season rotation?
Candy Maker's Christmas by Arden Mead
A German candymaker set on creating a new and perfect recipe learns the true meaning of Christmas.
The Christmas Crumb by Lewis Arlt
The story of a crumb that keeps on giving.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
The 2005 adaptation of the beloved 1950s novel by C.S. Lewis.
Recommended for ages 7+
Joy and Chris journey back to Bible times and learn nothing can stop God’s plan of redemption.
Slugs and Bugs Show: Make Ready for Christmas
A mixed cast of people and puppets work together to put on a Christmas show.
The Three Wise Men / The Very First Noel
Andy Griffith narrates a Christmas poem about the nativity, told from the perspective of one of the wisemen.
Koala Brothers Outback Christmas
The Koala Brothers help their penguin friend from Antarcitca visit their Australian homestead for Christmas.
The True Saint Nicholas - Why He Matters to Christmas by William Bennett
The tradition of the real Saint Nicholas.
Agapeland Once Upon A Christmas
The Christmas Story narrated by a boy interwoven with traditional Christmas songs sung by a children's choir.
Samantha: An American Girl Holiday
Be sure to check out our list from last year!
Are you gift shopping this year or opting for experiences and quality time instead? What's the best gift you've ever given or received? Our gift list is updated for 2022 with items our family or friends have loved and we hope it gives you some ideas! In the busyness of life I’ve found myself referencing our gift list for our children’s friends’ birthdays (it’s easy to forget what once sparked joy at younger ages!) What’s on your list this year?
Does your family celebrate Passover? Our family uses a brief Messianic Haggadah and has a Passover meal together. We've created this PDF as a discussion guide to use with your favorite children's Bible. You can also check out our free multi-day family devotional in our shop! We'd love to hear your Passover and Easter traditions!
*Stay tuned! New 2022 recommendations are coming soon!*
We are always on the hunt for media that reflects our values and is educational and fun for the kids. Below are some movies that will be playing at our house in the coming weeks! Before you jump into our list, did you know that Focus on the Family has a website called Plugged In with media reviews from a Christian perspective? Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more family holiday fun! What are you playing on repeat at your house?
Christmas Movies for Kids:
The Snowy Day - Follow Peter’s journey to his grandmother’s on Christmas eve, complete with lessons about family, friendship and overcoming disappointment.
Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie Special – a story about friendship with a curious mouse and his human bestie.
Adventures in Odyssey: Electric Christmas – a Christmas lights competition gone awry teaches lessons about responsibility, charity, and the true meaning of Christmas.
Boz: A WowieBOZowee Christmas – Preschoolers will enjoy Boz’s upbeat attitude, family values, and catchy songs.
Veggie Tales Little Drummer Boy – A story about friendship and overcoming misunderstandings.
LC Lifekids “Jesus is Born” – A nativity telling and interactive Bible adventure for young children.
Frosty the Snowman – The classic tale of the snowman come to life.
The Snowman - Without narration or words, music accompanies the story of a boy who builds a snowman that then comes to life.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Original Cartoon – The classic story of a grumpy grinch who after scheming to stop Christmas eventually has a change of heart.
Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas – Young children learn animal facts while watching the Kratt Brothers fight opportunistic villains who threaten wildlife.
Disney Nature: Penguins – a penguin love story documentary that follows two penguins as they raise a family in the beautiful and sometimes dangerous Antarctic.
Art for Kids Hub – how to draw the Nativity
Step by step drawing instructions for kids of all ages.
We want to know- what’s playing at your house?
Do you give gifts at Christmastime or opt for experiences and quality time? If you are a gift-giver, do you keep a running list all year, pull it together close to Christmas, or use another strategy?
Here's our gift brainstorming list updated for 2020! These are items we (or close friends) have found enjoyable, useful, and worth the money. Of course, the ultimate safe route is to ask the recipient or their parent, spouse, or friend!
What are your tried and true gift ideas?
Who's here for tips to simplify a busy time of year? We hope these ideas will help you make room for the things that matter at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and year-round. We’d love to hear your tips as well!
1. Over door mitten scarf holder. The weather is turning cooler which means all the gear. You can use an over the door shoe organizer for keeping mittens, scarves, and winter accessories sorted and available.
2. Furniture sliders
Oh how we wish we’d discovered these friction reducing beauties many holidays and children ago! Furniture rearrangement seems to be a part of family life and if you are making room for a tree or other decorations, may we suggest these back savers.
3. Panera coffee subscription
For $9 a month you get unlimited coffee at Panera! Subscription includes 1 cup of coffee per phone number and resets every 2 hours.
4. Tribl Worship Music App – Tribl is an incredible resource a friend shared with me. These prepopulated play lists will fill your home with worship all season long!
5. Dwell Bible App – Another way to keep your mind set on Christ throughout the season is to let someone else read Scripture over you. Check out this app which has a few books available for free listen.
6. Ready recipes – easy, yummy, and scalable for crowds. These aren’t necessarily holiday recipes, but if you are hosting out of town guests or just need some simple ideas for your family during holiday prep check them out! We also do plenty of BFD (breakfast for dinner), hamburgers, and take out when our schedule is full.
Here are recipes from years past:
For convenience, here are our tips from prior years but be sure to check out those posts here and here for all the details:
Last year we shared some of our family’s favorite Holiday Hacks- ways to keep the season simple in order to focus on Jesus, togetherness, and the joy of the season. We’re continuing the tradition and sharing a few more tips! Really, these can be used year round.
Let’s talk about gift shopping.
What do you buy for the adult siblings who seemingly have everything? The in-laws? The children who aren’t anywhere close to your kids’ ages? Or maybe you don’t have children? What in the world should you buy? Socks. Lot of socks. Just kidding. Sort of.
Creative thinking takes time! Once I’ve found a gift that my kids love, I take note! And you better believe all the nieces, nephews, and kids’ friends who are the same age will probably wind up with that gift that year! I have a feeling I’m not alone. So let’s help each other out!
Comment the tried and true gifts you or your children have received! Don’t do gifts? Share your all-time favorite holiday outings, experiences, or volunteer opportunities! Please include kids ages (no need to share yours but you can if you want!) They don’t have to be trendy or expensive. You just have to feel they were worth it! For example, our best toys have been the ones that keep our kids occupied, regardless of the price tag! Our list is below, but our children’s age range is pretty limited. Let us know what you think! What are your tried and true gifts?
And when in doubt…SOCKS.
Our gifts of generosity- time, money, energy- given with a pure heart are an offering, a pleasing aroma to God.
God showed the ultimate act of generosity by giving His son, Jesus to all who will receive Him to save us from sin and death and to give us everlasting life.
In a season about giving, what practical things can we do to be generous?
Here are some ideas:
- Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan’s Purse. Collection week is this week! November 13th- 20th. You still have a little time to participate. Pack a shoe box with toiletries and recommended items. Drop them off at a designated location. Samaritan’s Purse will include a gospel presentation and ship the boxes all over the world to children in need.
- The Salvation Army Angel Tree. Contact your local Salvation Army to hear how you can donate unwrapped gifts to local children in need.
- Donate non-perishables to a food drive or sponsor a family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas meal through your local church.
- Bless teachers and people who serve our communities with gift cards or hand written notes.
- Visit with an elderly person who has lost a spouse and be a listening ear.
What are some of your ideas?
“10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” - Acts 10:1-4
“18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:18
“3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:3-4
So there are 7 weeks until Christmas.
Every family has traditions, commitments, and a different schedule but we all have to prioritize to find time for the most important things. We thought we'd share 7 things our family does to keep the peace in case they resonate with anyone else out there. We do these throughout the year but think they may be particularly helpful during this season!
1. Amazon Gift Card Greeting Cards Delivered by US Mail Same or Next Day
Amazon to the rescue. They offer greeting cards with gift cards inside that ship the same day (if you order early enough) or next business day. It needs to be a day when mail is delivered (so not Christmas). But for all those close-to-Christmas special occasions that require gift giving, you're just one click away from a card in your hand. If you're really running behind you can even ship direct to the recipient.
2. Amazon Prime Unlimited Music and Shows
An Amazon Prime membership includes unlimited access to streaming shows and (as we learned this year) music! Build those Christmas playlists and stream your favorite Christmas shows and movies. There are music and video apps for your phone. Don't have a Prime Membership? It's worth it all year round. Free 2-day shipping on a kajillion items, streaming (we use it for all our children's shows), and things like diapers and vitamins delivered to your door with automatic scheduling. Two Amazon plugs in a row! We don't get kickbacks from Amazon. We are just sharing out of the goodness of our hearts.
3. Wal-Mart Online Grocery Shopping and Free Curbside Pick Up
100% FREE. Schedule a grocery pick up time, shop and pay online, and then drive to the store. They bring your groceries to your car. If you have the app, you don't even have to call when you get there. The GPS notifies the store. We have been using this for a few months now. We tried grocery delivery but those services sometimes don't honor store sales, the actual food prices are higher, and there are annual memberships (plus tips for drivers!) We didn't grocery shop at Wal-Mart before. Now that I don't have to go into the store, I am there at least once per week.
4. An Easy Recipe List - Links Below
Not the highlight reel type. There is a lot of peripheral eating besides the Christmas dinner around the holidays! Maximizing time visiting with family means getting creative with meals that are fast and easy. At the end of this post are a couple of ours! We'd love to hear some of your go-tos.
5. Paper Products
There is no shame in this game. Again, maybe it's just our life stage but paper products are always on our Wal-Mart grocery pick up list. And not just at Christmas.
6. Poinsettias for 99¢ at Home Depot on Black Friday
Buy 10, throw them on your mantle, table, entryway, really anywhere that needs a little decorating. After the holidays you can keep them (or in our case try to keep them alive as long as possible), reuse the soil, compost them, or just throw them away. They biodegrade so this makes up for all the paper products. For those who dread venturing out on Black Friday, Home Depot is about the only store we brave in person!
7. Mangers - A Completely Unbiased Perspective
Last year our family used a manger to hold our gifts which is actually very practical. It takes 5 minutes to set up and tear down. And above all, it's a great reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season.
We'd love to hear from you? How do you simplify your holiday to spend more time with those you love and reflect on the real reason for the season?
Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Crock Pot Taco Soup (Can also be made on stove top)
Tater Tot Casserole