this Christmas

… we wanted to have a different kind of Christmas.

Weeks before Christmas I asked for ideas on how to make Jesus the focus. Not gifts. Or glitter.

And oh my, y’all did not disappoint.

P.S. If you haven’t read this post, and want wonderful ideas for next Christmas, you really should.

And so, at the beginning of December we purposed to spend time together as a family, every night, talking about Jesus.


We implemented a “no screens” rule between 6 and 10 PM. It was a smidge challenging.

But so, so worth it.


We read our Advent book nightly and then spent time just hanging out, playing games, reading.

And *ahem* sometimes falling asleep around the tree.


We also decided to buy for Christmas a little differently.

We set a dollar amount, according to the age of the child, and helped each of them shop for themselves.

Thank goodness for Amazon, thatsallimsaying.


Once their gifts arrived I wrapped them and put them under the tree, so no one actually got to see their gifts in person until Christmas morning.


And, because I was able to get the kids exactly what they wanted within their budget, without having to stress over what didn’t get, it was actually a lot more fun.

For mama, especially.


I did have a twinge of fear that doing it this way might take some of the excitement out of the day for them, but I shouldn’t have worried.


They later commented that it was even more fun because they knew they were getting exactly what they wanted.

And seeing their faces light up with recognition when they held in their hands the gift they’d chosen online was magical.


We also gave each child a dollar amount equal to what they spent on themselves to spend on someone else.

And then helped them choose a charity/person-in-need/cause to whom they could give this Christmas.


Our purpose in this was to, in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas, take the focus off of what they were getting. And put it more on what they were giving.

Selected charities were kept secret from other siblings to encourage introspection into what was really on their hearts to support. And, unbeknownst to each other, a few of them ended up choosing similar charities.


Tallula and Isabelle chose to donate to caring for dogs. “I want dogs to have toys”, was Tallula’s desire this Christmas.


Poppy wanted to give to a friend in the hospital with her son. So we sent some Christmas cards and a little Starbucks love their way.


Vivienne wanted to help fish. Pet fish to be exact. Unable to locate a charity that supports pet fish (surprise!), we did find a charity that cares for coral reefs which house 25% of all marine life.

She was good with that.


Shepherd chose to help a family in crisis with the gift of cleaning services.


Jude and Sophie wanted to help orphans in China and will be sponsoring one little precious peanut at Pearl River Outreach.

And Dalton and Asher did, too. They chose Lifeline to support with their donations.

Which might have made this mama smile especially big.


Zach chose to give to Doctors Without Borders.

And Victoria chose the Representation Project.

So loved learning more about the hearts of my kids through this.


Each of the kids stood up, day after Christmas, and shared about what or who they chose to support. And why it was important to them.

Our hope is to encourage them to consider giving over receiving. Especially as we celebrate the arrival of the ultimate Gift.

Because God is the One who gave all.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16


If you’re ready to play along, go ahead and link up below. Be sure to visit here for the full scoop.

To link up this week with your Sunday Snapshot, just copy the code under the Snapshot button and paste it into the body of your post where you’d like the button to be displayed.

Ni Hao Yall

When you hit ‘publish’ it should show up just fine. Then add your link below.

Happy Sunday, y’all.



  1. I love this! Thanks for sharing – I would love to incorporate some of this into our Christmas next year.

  2. Agree with April Z! Going to snag a couple of these ideas for next year! Thanks so much for sharing! Love you guys!

  3. Somehow, I’m not at all surprised at the way you celebrated Christmas with your children… you are doing it right. :)

  4. Nice post . Everyone is happy there! Wish you a happy new year!

  5. What a great way to celebrate Christmas! I love this idea. How did you decide on budgets?

  6. Lee Ann Boyd says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your new memories. They sound amazing. We too are trying to change our Christmas traditions and did some of that changing this year. Next year we would also like to set a dollar amount and choose giving opportunities close to each of our own hearts. I would love to hear more about how your chose your dollar amounts for the kids and how that worked out, for themselves and then the giving. :)

  7. Me, too… How did you choose a budget for each child and age, if you don’t mind me asking? I would love to be able to do that, but I’m not sure if I could resist buying extras.:-) So thankful that we decided years ago to not charge a thing (cash only!) for any gifts we buy, but now I would love to be more intentional and focused with gifts and charity.

  8. Sweet, happy smiles!! Have a blessed New Year and thanks for hosting the linky! <3

  9. Stefanie, I absolutely love the way you’ve redefined your celebration of our Lord’s birth! No doubt, this is a year you will not forget. Thank you for the inspiration. And thank you for sharing your beautiful Treasures with us!

  10. Thanks for sharing your special day with the rest of us! Hope for Paws is one of my favorite animal rescue organizations:)

  11. Sounds like a perfect Christmas season mixed with faith, hope and charity. I’m sick of the commercializations. Next year I hope to make more gifts from the heart. I can’t in good conscious be thankful one day yet one day later go shopping at 2am for Black Friday. Well done mama

  12. Wow! Stephanie, I’m {nearly} speechless. What you and your family did is amazing! God bless you all.

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