Tuesday I linked to several Advent resources we use in our home, and today in keeping with my break from wedding blogging I'm going to share some gift ideas. (Don't worry, Mom, just because I'm not blogging about weddings doesn't mean I'm not writing about them). So since we did our family gift exchanges early I can relax and enjoy the fact that shopping is pretty much done. I have a really hard time with Christmas gifts. I get this set price in mind that I want to spend on each person and then obsess over getting as close to that amount as possible. So if I find something that would normally cost $25, but is on sale for $15, I make sure to make up the difference with another gift. It's a problem. If you have ideas to help me, please pass them on. For an English major I end up doing a lot of math in the month of December, and that is not pretty.
In the spirit of Oprah, below are some of my "Favorite Things." Only, unlike Oprah, I can't give them all away to my adoring fans. Well, first I have no adoring fans, and second I don't have the budget for that. But take a look and maybe these will help with your own Christmas shopping.
The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin. We gave this to all the women in our families, and I am currently reading it as well. Let me tell you, it is kicking my rear in the best way possible. I am a chronic over-committer and ultra-procrastinator. Rather than giving a list of organizational tips and strategies, Eastin goes straight to the heart in identifying idols that keep us from organization. It hurts, but in a good way. You can read Chapter 1 here. It's short, to the point, and well-written.
Joy to the World Sign - I downloaded this for free, had it printed on cardstock at Kinkos (I know, it's FedEx Office, but it will always be Kinkos to me). Then I bought some simple white frames and gave one to each family. I can't take credit for any of it but am so thankful for the designer offering it for free - check out her blog at the link.
Hymns for the Christian Life - this newest Getty album is so good. I had never heard too much of their stuff until a few months ago when they led worship at a conference I attended. They played several songs from this album and they are fantastic. The theology of these hymns is just so good.
In Feast or Fallow - this album by Sandra McCracken is easily one of my favorites of all time. You can listen to samples at the link and read about the meaning and theology of each song.
Looking for a Name - I have to give a shout out to my brother-in-law, Peter, AKA Schottsy and the Sharpshooters. One of those Sharpshooters is my husband's sister and one of my BFFs, Jen. They make great music, and even better they really love Jesus.
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing - this follow-up to The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones is a great gift for the 6-and-up kid in your life. We got it for our daughter for her birthday, and, although she's just five, she seems to enjoy it and understand it. Actually, I probably love it more than she does at this point. The short devotional thoughts are just excellent.
Finally, I'm grateful for those who had my April 1st writing deadline in mind in their gift-giving. My sis-in-law and mother-in-law went together to purchase a massage for me, and I also received several gift cards for coffee shops. Unfortunately I also received some Amazon gift cards, and with an ever-growing list of books I'd like to read it will be difficult to resist the urge and put them off for a few months. Guess it's good I'm reading that organization book, huh?
Later in the week I will do one more Christmas-related post with a couple of alternative giving options that are close to my heart. In the meantime, what is one of the best gifts you've received or given?