Happy New Year!

New beginnings are the best; they are a chance to start fresh! I am so thankful for new starts and for God’s absolute grace that washes over me again and again, like the waves of the sea.

“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”  – 1 Timothy 1:14

Wishing YOU the joy and peace that we are invited to experience as we start a new year! Looking forward to a wonderful year!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  –  Thessalonians 2:16-17

3 Gift Rule

Christmas Gift Giving

 

When our children were babies, we implemented the 3 gift rule that someone told us about. Just as Jesus received three gifts from the three wise men, you’ll remember from the Bible story, our children receive three gifts from us! This simple rule has simplified Christmas for us! Someone told me about it years ago, and how it gave Christmas deeper meaning to their little children and a chance to share the story of the birth of Jesus. There are still plenty of gifts around the tree, because you buy for others. Likewise, they receive plenty because of extended family Christmas gatherings. But the message that we share around the tree is the story of Jesus and the three gifts of the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

3 Gifts of the Wise Men

3 Gift Rule

What is the 3 Gift Rule?

So, what are these three gifts, and how do we implement that into our family Christmas tradition?

Gold: Something that they really want

Frankincense: Something that they need (like clothes)

Myrrh: Something to read or to help them grow (a book, devotional, or CD usually)

The message on Christmas morning is not one of extravagant material gifts, but of the most extravagant gift we could ever receive: eternal life because our Savior came and took the punishment we deserve. Our family is far from being holy or un-materialistic. These small steps, though, keep Christmas focused and keep our children from only caring about what they will receive under the tree Christmas morning! Our family time is meaningful and enjoyable. Christmas morning, along with Christmas Eve, is one of my most favorite days. We celebrate family and our Savior. I cannot remember who first told me about the 3 Gift Rule, but I am so thankful they did!

For more posts from Mom’s Priority about Christmas time giving:

Teach Your Kids to Give

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

 

How to Find the Best Black Friday Deals

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how to find the best black friday dealsBlack Friday is less than a day away!  Get ready to find the best black Friday deals, possibly the best this Christmas season!!  Retailers have been planning on this week all year because this is when the bulk of Christmas shopping will happen this year.  Peak Week starts the Monday before Thanksgiving and goes through the following Monday, referred to as Cyber Monday.  * Black Friday is a term almost used to describe this entire time period for many retailers.* I like to think of getting this task complete (or close)- Christmas shopping- so we can all enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas together a little more.

Back to Black Friday shopping, get your lists ready!  I do believe you will find some great deals this week if you are ready to make a purchase.  If you have any questions about securely shopping online, read this post to shop smart online this Christmas season.  We want to help you find the best Black Friday deals online and in stores so check Mom’s Priority daily for updates.

Best Black Friday Deals

We will be updating our list of deals daily as we receive them from retailers here on the Black Friday Deals page, accessible from the main page.  You may want to bookmark this page.

Here are a few tips to save money this Christmas season:

  • You need to remember to check prices before you buy.  Even though a retailer claims to be offering a great price on an item, that doesn’t mean it is the BEST price.  One great website resource to check Amazon prices is https://camelcamelcamel.com .  This is a legit site that does behind the scenes work for you.  You can even sign up for price drop alerts if you are shopping Amazon and need to find a particular item.
  • You should review the Black Friday Ads for major retailers below, which are linked below for your convenience.




Department Store Black Friday Ads

Black Friday 2018 is coming November 23!  Retailer giants like Amazon and Walmart have already begun their deals of the day and door busters, with more coming each day.  Here is a list of the bigger department store Black Friday ads we have so far.

Sam’s Club Black Friday Ad

Kohls Black Friday Ad

Macy’s Black Friday Ad

Walmart Black Friday Ad

Amazon Black Friday Ad

Target Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Ad

 

More Black Friday Tips

  • Use promo and coupon codes whenever possible.
  • Note retailers that price match, and ask for a price match if you find an identical item at another store.
  • Consider a free trial of Amazon prime just for the holidays for the free shipping benefits. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
  • Always keep your budget in mind and think about creating a Three Gift Rule to keep the focus off all of the gifts.  See our post about the Three Gift Rule here.

These are just a few of the ways you can find the best black Friday deals this week.  Good luck!!

Gratitude: The Cure for Entitlement

The Cure for Entitlement: Gratitude  the cure for entitlement is gratitude

My son has been excitedly asking about our gratitude jar for the past month. Filling the jar with things we are thankful for is a tradition we do every November. Every day in November (ideally… we often have to catch up!), we write down things we are thankful for on slips of paper and add them to the jar. On Thanksgiving Day, we read all of our notes aloud. It is a humbling and gratifying experience to say the least. To hear aloud my family members say things that maybe I never think to be thankful for, this fills my heart! This is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Get Our Hearts Right

It surprises me that he asks and even remembers! Our gratitude jar simply sits on our kitchen table for one month out of the year. It precedes Christmas, which can become an extremely materialistic time of year if we’re not careful. I love that it makes an impact on him, and I hope we keep this tradition for many years to come. More than anything, in our entitled world, I want our kids to know the source of everything. I want them to know that it comes from God, and not from any work they can do themselves. Sure, hard work is often rewarded, but this gratitude is what separates the entitled from the humble and thankful.

gratitude
Simple Jar or Bucket

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your container has to be Pinterest-worthy to use! A gratitude jar (or gratitude bucket!) can be as crafty as you want, or have time, to make it! It’s the practice, the habit, of daily writing down things we’re thankful for that we’re after. If you have time to make it super-cute, then by all means, do! This year, my usual glass apothecary jar was being used for something else. So, we are using a galvanized bucket with a ribbon tied at the top! Times are busy right now, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to miss this opportunity! Who knows how many more years our kids will want to do this?! I do hope it sticks with them. But regardless, it will be a fulfilling memory to store away for future thanksgivings.

Solutions to Raising Grateful Kids

Beyond this simple idea of a gratitude jar, here are other ways to raise grateful kids in this entitled world:

  • Express thankfulness in prayers and blessings. Thankfulness is a key element of prayer, and in blessings at meals, we bless the food and thank God for providing it. Creating this habit reminds us daily to focus on God, and not on ourselves.
  • Give gifts and serve in the community. When you give generously, you think of the receiver and it forces you to look beyond yourself. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our situation, that we fail to look outward. Giving good gifts to teachers and others in the community helps us to voice our appreciation of their work.
  • Get into nature and experience the awe and beauty around us, given to us by God. How can you look at a sunrise and not be thankful?!
  • Live intentionally. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, focus on what your purpose is and do that well!
  • Keep Christmas about the cross, and not just wanting more “stuff.” We can challenge ourselves to give and not just want. The 3 Gift rule helps our family keep away from all of the “I wants.”

Expressing Gratitude Creates Long Term Impact

Ultimately as parents, when we “teach” our children, we’re really teaching ourselves, right? This reminder every November is good medicine for me AND it’s great for our kids. We’re raising up the next generation, and who wants a bunch of spoiled adults running around! Long term, I believe practicing gratitude creates healthier families. Think of how much better you sleep when you’re not overspent and overworked? When you’re able to focus on living intentionally, grateful for each day. There are even studies pointing to gratitude reducing anxiety and depression in adults. The results of one study are preliminary, but it suggests practicing gratitude actually rewires the brain! Knowing that the future ahead for our children is not going to be any easier, I want to give my kids all the tools to have long, productive and meaningful lives. Gratitude is a simple answer.

For more posts related to family and living intentionally around the holidays, join our newsletter and click to read these posts:

Christmas Giving with Kids
Three Gift Rule
Living Intentionally as a Mom

Hobby Lobby Christmas Decor on Sale

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Hobby Lobby is an amazing place.  I can get lost in the store and my worries seem to melt away as I focus on a much bigger God.  The verses of truth surround me in that store!  I know it may sound materialistic, but I’m okay with that.  😉

Selected Hobby Lobby Christmas decor is on sale this week at 50% off and also today only they are offering free shipping as well!

Hobby Lobby Christmas Decor

Get Free Shipping on orders of $59 or more at HobbyLobby.com. Some exclusions apply. Free Shipping ends 11:59pm PST on 11/17/18.

Shop now for Seasonal Christmas Items at Hobby Lobby. Select Categories now 50% off. Some Exclusions apply.