Holiday Traditions

Christmas Tree

I don’t know about you but my life hasn’t turned out quite the way I expected. I thought I’d have 6 or 7 kids by now and I imagined all the things we’d do to celebrate the holidays. Instead I’m stepmom to a teenage boy who doesn’t have the patience for most of the things I wish we could do, and when we don’t have him for the weekend it’s just the hubs and I. It’s hard to do a lot of the typical holiday things with just adults. So, I’ve spent a lot of the time in our short marriage trying to figure out family traditions for the 2-3 of us. And I definitely haven’t figured things out yet.

Mostly we experiment and everyone gives a wishy-washy review of whatever it is we’ve done that I’d hoped would be a winner, something we’d love and do again and again. But not so much. I find myself getting lazy about it all or worse, having a bad attitude about it all. It’s really been a struggle. So, I’m sending a plea out to the universe (particularly to you parents of teenagers or those of you without kids.) What are your family traditions? What do you do each year to create memories and cement bonds? I’d love to hear your ideas, and feel free to venture beyond Christmas traditions. I can’t wait to be inspired and start some amazing traditions with my little family!

Jesus Is My Peace


In a church meeting this weekend we had a remarkable lesson about the role of Jesus Christ in our lives. One of my favorite verses of scripture is in Isaiah (you’ll probably recognize it from Handel’s Messiah) that announces the Savior as Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God and so forth. Now a lot of those names are a little hard to relate to on a day-to-day basis and we were encouraged to think about what Jesus means to us each and every day.

And each and every day I find that I need peace. Whether it’s an emotional situation, a crazy family situation, work or the evening news or not being able to find a parking space or a million other things that happen all the time, there always seems to be a lack of peace. And so I turn to my Savior for that “peace that passeth all understanding” and He never fails me. Sometimes its just a moment of solace, sometimes its inspiration to solve a problem, and sometimes its just the reminder that “this too shall pass.”

I’m grateful for this Christmas season to be reminded of the birth of a babe in Bethlehem who was destined to be the Prince of Peace and the constant peace in my life. If you were to fill in the blank what would role would Jesus play for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Jesus is my_________.

Music Monday ~ Garth Brooks

I’m not sure how I missed this one last year but I’m listening to it on repeat this year. I absolutely love the message (and I love watching Garth Brooks get all emotional in the video.) Such a wonderful reminder of what’s really important. And it’s always fun to add a new favorite to my holiday playlist!

Picture Book Review ~ Christmas Tree Tales

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Alright, I guess now that it’s December I can succumb to the holiday madness. I’d like to share a couple of my new holiday favorites…and no worries, there’s more to come!

Pick a Pine Tree Book Review

Pick a Pine Tree

Written by: Patricia Toht 

Illustrated by: Jarvis

Number of Pages: 32

Age Range: 4-9

Rating: 5/5

This book has made the rounds of the bookblogs and Instagram of late. And all and for great reason, it’s just lovely! So, if you haven’t had a chance to take a look at it yet, I urge you to get your hands on a copy. You won’t regret it.

The premise is simple but it’s beautifully executed. A family goes to the tree lot to find the perfect tree. After loading it onto the roof of the car they get it home and decorate the heck out of it with the help of friends and neighbors. The culminating effect is gorgeously glowing and a perfectly peaceful representation of the best of the season.  This is bound to become a Christmas classic.

Here are a few more images from the book.

Pick a Pine Tree Book Review 2Pick a Pine Tree Book Review 3

Red and Lulu Book Review
















Red and Lulu

Written and Illustrated by: Matt Tavares

Number of Pages: 32

Age Range: 4-9

Rating: 4.5/5

For a Christmas tree story on a much larger scale, look no further than this beauty. The title characters are two cardinals who’ve made their home in a neighborhood evergreen tree. They spend their days happily watching over the families that live nearby, and their winters listening to them singing O Tannenbaum while decorating the branches with lights. When Red heads out one day to find breakfast, the tree is cut down with Lulu still in it. Red searches high and low until he hears someone singing their song. Following the tune, he finally finds her (and their home) and a surprise bigger than he can imagine.

An author’s note gives details of the history of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. I loved learning that the tradition began nearly 100 years ago and that the wood from the tree is donated to Habitat for Humanity to build homes for those in need. It’s a fun perspective on a great tradition and a fun tale for readers of all ages.

Out and About ~ Downtown Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City LDS Temple

In an effort to try and get over the turkey coma from the past weekend, the hubster and I headed into the city to usher in the Christmas season with the rest of humanity. First up was the requisite pilgrimage to the amazing Temple Square to see the lights there, and then, pushed along by the crowd we wandered to see the lights and windows at the City Creek shopping center followed by two different productions at the relatively new Eccles Center. (What a fabulous venue! It’s gorgeous and there’s not a bad seat in the house.)

Eccles Theater

Friday night’s show was a musical version of Elf, based on the movie starring Will Farrell. While it didn’t quite measure up to the original (I don’t think anyone could compete with Farrell’s exuberance) it did have added song and dance numbers and was just great fun overall.  Monday, we journeyed back to see Jewel’s holiday extravaganza. She shared the stage with her two brothers and father, who sing and write songs as well. They told stories of their childhood growing up on a homestead in Alaska, and she was candid about her struggles with anxiety, shoplifting and her health before being discovered, interspersed with songs of course! Nearly half the show was Christmas songs, backed by her band while the other half she sang some greatest hits accompanying herself on the guitar. She’s got one of those voices that you either love or hate (her background in yodeling definitely influences her all-around vocal style) and I loved hearing it fill the hall, particularly on the nearly ethereal high notes. The whole weekend was a great way to kick start the holiday festivities.

Eccles Theater Interior

Have you got any traditions of your own that help you welcome the holidays? I’d love your suggestions in the comments below!