Christmas Series: For those without a gift for giving gifts

big present IMG_3432I do not have a gift for gift-giving.  I am overwhelmed as the holiday season approaches and I ponder gifts for my kids, who are already bored of the gifts I gave them for their birthdays; my parents, who already own nicer things than I could afford to buy them; and my husband, who only ever wants specialized hobby equipment that I am not even knowledgeable enough to buy.  It seems that anything I can afford to buy en masse for my neighbors and coworkers is junk.

So I have scoured the Exponent archive for tips for remedial gift-givers like me. Exponent blogger Whoa-man, who is a natural at gift-giving, shares tips for choosing the perfect gift in The Art Of Gift Giving. I marvel at the thoughtfulness of the gift highlighted in Jessawhy’s Birthday Gift From My Pro-Feminist Husband. Here are some great thoughts about children’s gifts by Emily U: What Kinds Of Toys Did You Buy For Christmas. A guest poster resolves the neighbor gift dilemma with Simple Gift Suggestions For Friends Who Are Not LDS and these ideas for a Mothers Day Gift From Bishopric To Women would also work well as neighbors’ Christmas gifts. Emily CC reminds us that sometimes we don’t need to pull off the perfect gift, A Good Enough Christmas is good enough!

And this video is a great one to get in the giving mood:

My Song in the Night by BYU TV

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The Exponent Christmas Series: The Posts of Christmas Past…

We love Christmas here at the Exponent, which means we love Christmas posts!

noelBecause of this love, we are dedicating this week to a Christmas Series, complete with poetry, ward Christmas party hints, an excellent Christmas Nativity play, and even a Christmas book review, plus lots of love for the women who celebrated the First Christmas, Exponent Style. But it won’t end this week, we will sprinkle flakes of Christmas cheer throughout all of December, in celebration of Christmas.

“But wait!” You say, “This week is American Thanksgiving! We want Tofurky recognition!”

We know!  We do, too! We love American Thanksgiving …and Canadian Thanksgiving, and Australian Thanksgiving and any time a Thanksgiving Feast is offered.  (“Thanksgiving” was a term used in a celebratory feast when voyagers arrived at far off destinations, and was even a term used among Mormons at the completion of a new chapel’s construction.) So we are still having some delicious Thanksgiving posts as a part of the Christmas Series, to round out the season properly…. rather like a nutmeg-sprinkled happy sip of egg nog.

But before this series of fresh Christmas posts begin, we invite you to visit the ghosts of Christmas posts past. So, sit down, grab a cup of cocoa –or iced chocolate for those in the Southern Hemisphere– and put your feet up. Because we have some magical Posts of Christmas Past for you, such as:

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Relief Society Lesson 25: The Birth of Jesus Christ: “Good Tidings of Great Joy”

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français
Click for Spanish Translation/Traducción en español
Mary nativity

Mary nativity

 

To quote the Teachings of Joseph F. Smith manual:

“There is no story quite as beautiful, or which can stir the soul of the humble quite to the depths, as this glorious story can of the birth of our Redeemer. No words that man may utter can embellish or improve or add to the eloquence of its humble simplicity. It never grows old no matter how often told, and the telling of it is by far too infrequent in the homes of men.”

If I were teaching this lesson, I would do exactly – talk of the birth of Christ.  And not of the shepherds, or Joseph, or the wise men, but the person who was the intimately and physically involved in the birth of Christ: Mary.  In my experience at Christmas-time at church, we often want to gloss over the experiences of Mary as the mother and life-giver in favor of celebrating Christ and the meaning of his life and teachings.  I don’t think this is necessarily inappropriate, but since we (hopefully) devote the other 51 weeks of our Sunday worship to the teachings of Christ, I’d like to talk a little about the brave woman who gave Christ life.

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Guest Post: Managing Life’s Winters

Amish in Winter by Evan Tye PetersonGuest Post by Shelli

It was 16 years ago. The 21st of December was a typical New England winter day with snow and ice already making their regular appearance, and I was writing a talk. However, this was not an ordinary talk I was preparing. Not a neatly packaged sacrament sermon or a personal testimony. Rather, through a torrent of tears and profound sorrow, I was summoning God for hope and peace through words, as we buried one of our beloved young women. Not only was it winter, but it was truly a season of death and sadness that came with a jolting chill to my soul, and to the souls of all who loved Oeun.

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Perpetuating the Santa Claus Myth

Perpetuating the Santa Claus Myth

Santa ClausWhen my daughter asked me about the veracity of Santa Claus, I told her that I like to pretend that Santa Claus is real because it is such a fun thing to imagine.  She seemed fine with that.  Although we continue the Santa tradition in my household, I sometimes question the wisdom of speaking untruths to my children, even if it is fun to pretend the magic is real. My husband and I have chosen to give our children their main Christmas presents as gifts from us, so that they understand that we parents are the ones who worked and saved to buy their presents, while Santa only delivers stocking stuffers.

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