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Who Am I?

  • My life as a wife, mother, and child of God. I can tell a good joke, but only at my own expense. I can tell ya how to parent, but only by first failing. And I can tell you how to get to Heaven, but you gotta get there on your own.

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December 14, 2009


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

I have to say I am surprised you don't have more decorated - didn't you say you love decorations? Are you planning on decorating more? Are you preparing your kids for no gifts?

I could go without the gifts, too. The meaning and magic is what it is about for me. I really cherish the time I spend with my family. For some reason I don't feel it is Christmas either. I think it has to do with my unhappiness in my job. I need to snap out of it and realize how much I really do have!!

You are wonderful, Amanda. :)


I love this, Amanda. And I love that your family decided not to do gifts. There is so much to be said in that. I am sure that you will start to feel more like it's Christmas soon. Your heart is in the right place for sure!


I love how everything you do and everything you say points right to Jesus! You have incredible faith!

I too struggled with the gift giving thing. I didn't want Christmas to be all about 'gimme, gimme' for my kids. But I came to peace with it after I read a slogan in the Family Christian Store and this is what I'll be teaching my boys this year and every year from now on.

We give because He gave first. I think gift giving can be a lot more then just giving and getting gifts. For friends who might not know the Lord, a simple gift can go a long way. Last year, I had a friend who was not a Christian. But because of my constant badgering and telling her of all the wonderful things Jesus has done in my own life she finally started coming to church. And for Christmas last year I bought her a devotional (She all ready got a bible for her birthday!) While I'm not friends with that girl anymore, I do still pray that she is reading the devotional and coming closer to Christ because of it.

I commend you on your decision though! I think it's wonderful that you're teaching your kids the importance of the season.

Tina Fisher

Thank you for your beautiful post! I am going to write your Christmas acronym on some paper and make something from it for our house for years to come!

I applaude you for not doing gifts this year. I am trying to make sure that my kids know that Christmas is about Jesus first and Santa second. I am even going to try and make your "Faith Cake" and we'll sing Happy Birthday!

I like that you "walk the walk"!

Much Love,



That acronym is AMAZING! Thank you for sharing.


Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!

Amanda Sikes

Such a good reminder. It is something that I think we all struggle with. I admire you for being able to totally do away with gifts. We cut way back this year and have gone really simple but are still doing some gifts.

Check out my Christmas post on the sacrifice of Christmas.


I have really cut down on the decorations this year too. Mainly because I have a very busy toddler who would love to wrestle with a tree full of "balls"!
I am also making, successfully I must say, a big effort to remember the reason for Christmas. The gifts are fun but the message is life-giving!

Margaret in Minnesota

I wish I had the guts to not do gifts at Christmas. I *did* tell my mother-in-law that I don't want anything from her this year--only the gift of her time in teaching me how to quilt.

I could hear her relief over the phone. One less gift to have to purchase!

I think that my gift-giving is tied up in my need to feel loved and appreciated--that's why I over-complicate things and fret over getting the "perfect" gift. Yet, when I think back to Christmasses past, it's the together-time I remember the most.

Not the gifts.

And do you know, while I was composing this comment I glanced over at your sidebar and saw a category titled "Shanley High School," which I immediately clicked over to read. Guess what, Amanda? I was your Religion teacher. :)

Now how's that for an Advent coincidence?

Kristin Smith

Thank you for sharing that beautiful post! I am with you...the true meaning of Christmas gets lost at times. I love the song "Mystery" by Selah....talks about that it is a mystery that God would have chosen to create us knowing that ultimately He would have to send His son to be born in a manger and later be offered as a sacrifice for all mankind. Our minds can't fathom love like that! But PRAISE GOD for his grace and mercy!

Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS friend!

Blessings, Kristin


It does resonate, Amanda. Thank you.
I was just out at a store and heard the clerk saying, "I will be so happy when Christmas is over. I'm tired of putting these big boxes in bags." That made me so sad.
Oh, that we would remember what Christmas really means!


How I absolutly LOVE this time of year! For us, we let go of the mechanical obligations and spend more time together doing the things we enjoy. We all spend time sharing our talents with others. Our kids have become become accustomed to our family's focus on giving to others. No matter how tight money is, how little extra time we seem to have we make sure that our focus becomes what Christ gave to us and how we can demonstrate that precious gift. While there is still gift giving, we have made sure that each day there is at least a few focused moments on giving to others. As the years have gone by I spend less time decorating the house, only getting out the "essentials": the kids hand made decorations, the lights, the tree(and train) and the nativities- we have toy ones for the little ones that visit to play with, hand made ones from loved ones and a fragile one that was inherited. Although, the house isn't covered every nook and crany with red and green our house still feels like Christmas!


PS: I love the kid decorated tree~

janmary, n ireland

Inspirational post. I love the acronym.

Wishing you and yours well, and commend your focus on the reason for the season.

Cop Mama

Thank you for this wonderful remimder of what Christmas is truly about. My DH listens to Hank Hanegraaff all the time. I'm sending him the link to this post.

By the way, I think your tree is adorable!

He & Me + 3

It hasn't seemed like Christmas here either just the present buying. I love that acronym. Perfect.


Well said.
I am acutely aware that what "we" made Christmas to be is not at all what it should be, and it can't be pleasing to God that people get as stressed out as they do in the hustle and bustle, going in debt way over their heads to "buy Christmas" a term I find dismaying. More people should consider the "no gifts" idea...or more realistically, not buy what they can't afford.
You are teaching your children what all children should know.
Wouldn't it be nice if all of us gave our time and energy instead of gifts? Help the single mother with a plumbing job, the poor widow with some groceries thoughout the year, pay for some stranger's meal in a restaurant....


Hi Amanda! I love the kid decorated tree! :) Our tree looks sort of like that... though the kids are older... no neat tree with matching balls and ribbons... a mishmash of memories attached to various hand made ornaments.

Thanks for sharing the acronym... I struggle so often with how to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas while juggling the whole "gift giving/presents"... I think it is really hard (for my kids anyway) to think more about Christ on Christmas morning than the big pile of gifts under the tree (Hutch and I both come from large families). I used to think it really odd that Christians would do away with gift giving all together... now I admit, I sometimes wonder if that is the way to go. Seems like their ought to be a balance somewhere, yet I can't seem to find it!

Blessings to you!


I was out yesterday to pick up a few things, mostly unrelated to Christmas, and I noticed one prevailing emotion: everyone seemed painfully unhappy! They were all pushing and shoving their way through store aisles and parking lots, lugging bags of "things," scowling at other drivers and shoppers. All I really wanted to do was go home to my scantly decorated home and press fast forward on life. Please, God...just get me through this commercialized, gluttonous, frenzied spending season. You're spot on in your analysis. Most people have simply forgotten what it all really means. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!


Stephanie @ A Fine House

Hey Amanda,
Great post! You are sharing sentiments with Natasha from "5 Minutes Just For Me".
Check out her cute post on the meaning of Christmas. I think you'll enjoy it!


Amanda - Thanks for sharing. I totally understand what you are saying. I have started to struggle with the whole gift giving issue myself. I agree with Michelle (one of your commenters) that we "Give because He first gave". I LOVE to give gifts and would much rather give than receive. To me the joy is watching someone open a gift that I hope they will love and that will be meaningful to them. I hope that my children learn to love to "give" - of their time, their money, their gifts, their love.

I have been talking to many others about what they do about gifts at Christmas. Having a Thanksgiving baby and an almost Christmas baby it seems like they get a gazillion gifts within a short period of time. One idea that my husband and I have heard from many came from Focus on the Family originally and many parents at our church do this.

Each child gets three gifts since that is what Christ received. The first gift is symbolic of Gold and that is something that they have been wanting that might cost a little more than something you would just pick up randomly (For Bekah we got her the Tag JR reading system and 3 books -all on sale of course with coupons!lol).
The second gift is representitive of frankincense and is something to help the child on their spiritual journey - a Bible, a devotional, a CD or video. (We got Bekah a Veggie Tales Movie).
The third gift is representitive of myrhh which is something for the body so something like clothing or lotions or perfume. (We got Bekah pjs).
We figure that their birthdays are about them. We will spend a little more on birthdays but we want Christmas to be about Christ first and then family, friends, church and community next--the giving of ourselves. We participated this year in operation Christmas Child and as the kids get older I want to do more outreach - not just at Christmas.

I have also heard of this used in a secular way with a "gift of wonder" - something fun and big - some use it as their "santa" gift; a "gift of usefulness" and a "gift of meaning" which would have personal meaning for both people.

Wow - didn't mean to type so much- was going to type this in my blog and now I just may not have to! :) lol

Hope you are all healthy!
PS your tree is delightful! The kids will remember having the freedom to do it themselves and not have to have it perfect!!!


Hi Girl!

I was just thinking about you. For some reason your blog update didn't come up on my dashboard so I hopped over here anyway. Good thing too!

Thanks for being so real and authentic with the crazy world of the internet. Your focus is clear and that blesses me to no end. :)

I hope you find the excitement and joy in the season and are fulfilled in your choices. I can imagine that they are rather hard to stick too. Maybe it's just me who would love to go buy "one little thing" for my kids at midnight on Christmas Eve. :)

You are showing a lot of strength in not buying into the cultural Christmas. It is so hollow and meaningless. We have so many little traditions to keep that I love. It build the excitement of Christ's birth in a real way. Although I'm stuggling because the kids are getting mixed messages. One side of the family is less gift oriented than the other. I hate fighting that battle every. single. year.

Sorry, this is turning into a book!! :) May the hand of Christ Jesus rest on you during this season as you seek to honor Him.

Jamie @ Six Bricks High

This means a lot to me too!!!


Thanks for visiting me today Amanda and thank you for sharing the beautiful acronym. I agree with everything you are saying and I think you are teaching your children some beautiful lessons about faith and the true reason for the season!

I still love Christmas though, because of the happiness, joy and togetherness it brings but I also think we need to take some time each day to think of the countless blessings in our loves and give thanks.

Blessings and best Christmas wishes, Natasha.


I'm going to sound like an old person here (because I am - compared to you) and say "you have a good head on your shoulders"

Michelle M.

Great post! My hubby commented a couple of weeks ago that no one decorates with crosses during Christmas. I told him that is because we are celebrating Christ's birth, not his death, but I could still see his point. Christ's life should be the center of this holiday.


wow. I can't imagine not doing the gift thing... well in getting the rest of the family to participate in not buying presents for us and our children. I can just hear my mom now. sigh. All that I could do without. What I'd really like is if we only just bought a few simple gifts for our children and none for the rest of the family etc and they did the same.

It would make things a lot more simpler and get away from the mad gift fest or greed fest that it can turn into.

So I am proud for you that you are able to do this. I am sure your spirit will catch up as it gets closer to Christmas and replace those gift things with new traditions.

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