20 Simple Ways to Offer the Love of Christ this Christmas + Starbucks Giveaway

christmas gifts

My paternal grandmother, Alberta Scott, aka Ma-ma, crafted the art of memory-making.

Every December certain things took place in her home. The smooth sounds of Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis spun on the console upstairs while boiled custard simmered on the stove. A twelve-inch ball of Styrofoam decked out in olive-green velvet hung over the same doorway for as long as I can remember. And the gold pedestal candy dish in the living room was emptied of common candy in favor of peppermints.

Ma-ma made Christmas special for everyone who walked through her door. But she didn’t stop there. Every year, she loaded her Buick with homemade pound cakes, fudge, and spritzer cookies, making her rounds to those who were home-bound, lonely, and sick. Even as a little girl, I remember thinking how I wanted to be like her when I grew up.


Her gestures were simple but meaningful.


She taught me that sharing the love of Christ, especially at Christmas, is a privilege that no jolly red-coated gift deliverer could possibly match.

Over the years, I’ve tried creating ideas that worked for our family. Below are some of those ways. I’d love to read yours in the comment box!

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:16 ESV

Offering the love of Christ at Christmas

  1. As you receive Christmas cards in the mail, place them in a bowl in the center of your table. Pick a card each night and pray for that family.
  2. Before your fluffy socks hit the floor each morning, ask God to help you be attentive to the divine opportunities He has for you that day. Maybe you will be the only patient person in line behind the woman who plops 20 items down in a 10 item lane. Or, the only person that shows restraint, refusing to honk at the woman who robbed you of a green light because she was too busy reading her phone. Deep breath Cathy, deep breath.
  3. Not only come to a complete stop for pedestrians but smile at them. It’s a nice way to let them know they’re not an intrusion on your day and that they are worthy of your time.
  4. Go beyond what’s expected when you hear the bell ring near a favorite store. Buy a bottle of water or a hot cup of cocoa for the person who is willing to brave the weather to raise money for those in need. If you really want to make their day, take their order for a nearby coffee shop or restaurant. The smile you receive will be the brightest gift you’ll open this season.
  5. Family activity: Bundle up, grab a basket and head outdoors to find objects in nature for a holiday centerpiece. As you walk, consider pointing out the details of God’s magnificent handiwork. When you return home, place a large white candle in the center, sharing how Christ is the true Light, the Light of all mankind (read John 1). Capturing ordinary moments for God’s glory releases extraordinary possibilities.
  6. Celebrate Advent as a family. Advent – A Countdown to Christmas, by Focus on the Family has several resources that are sure to help you get started.
  7. Give the gift of song. Gather friends for cocoa and go caroling! Hand out peppermint canes with tags that read, Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)
  8. Exchange busy for being. For a few minutes each day, be intentionally still and quiet as you meditate on Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God.
  9. Curl up with your favorite cup of tea and Christmas novella. After all, how can we serve others if we ourselves are depleted?
  10. Lend an ear⏤a listening one, that is. For those who are struggling with the season, be there. It’s not so much what you say as much as what you hear.
  11. Do you enjoy decorating? Take time to notice those around you who may have physical difficulties and are unable to decorate a tree.
  12. Gift a day. If you know someone who became a widow in 2018, create a day for them. If they’re a single mom of young children, offer to watch the children. Or plan a day that doesn’t require money — hiking, festivals, or a church Christmas program.
  13. “Wrap gifts” for Jesus. I was a single mom when I celebrated my first Christmas as a Christ-follower. Throughout the month of December, I jotted down specific ways I was thankful for my new life, His promises, and blessings. Each one went on a different notecard and under the spindly Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, after the boys had gone to their dad’s, I spent a quiet time unwrapping the gifts and saying each one aloud. It was a Christmas I’ll never forget. That’s what happens when one crosses over from darkness to light.
  14. Invite a lonely neighbor to dinner or dessert. The blessing doesn’t dwell in a dish but rather, the heart.
  15. Adopt a family with a deployed military parent. Being a single parent is never easy but this is especially so during the holidays.
  16. Write to someone who has especially blessed you this year. “More than kisses, letters mingle souls.” – John Donne. What would it mean to you to receive such a letter?
  17. Who couldn’t use a cup of coffee? Consider treating the person behind you in line. Not so long ago, I chose to forego a pay-it-backward moment because the woman seemed to have it all together. Why would a woman driving a BMW with impeccable style need a free coffee? (Must I reason everything out?) One divine tap. That’s all it took. God alone knows what’s going on in the heart of another.
  18. As you flick on your lights in December, let it remind you how Jesus is the Light of the World. He pierced your darkness and mine.
  19. Do you know someone who has lost a loved one this year? Consider gifting them an evergreen plant or tree. In the note, remind them that like the evergreen that retains color all year long, their love too will remain. Perhaps invite a few close friends and spend time sharing sweet memories of the person as you plant the tree together.
  20. Take a cue from the song Silent Night, Holy Night, and turn off all TVs, phones, and laptops. Read a book, sing Christmas carols, work on a Christmas puzzle, or bake Christmas cookies for yourself and others.


Every December, I peel open the tote that holds Ma-ma’s ball of styrofoam dressed in olive-green velvet and smile. Yes, the memories of childhood prompt it but it’s the blessing she brought to others that hold it.

Mustard Seed Moments

Watch for the next Tiny House Tuesday! It will be my only post during the month of December. I plan to enjoy my family, merge into a new church family, prepare my heart for Christmas, and down buckets of coffee. Speaking of which…

What’s one way you/your family reach out to others during the Christmas season? Or, is there an idea above you plan to try this season? Leave a comment and your name will be included in a random drawing for a $10.00 gift card from Starbucks!

**Subscribers! Be sure to check your inbox today. A full list of family ideas for the Christmas Jar is included in your Letter from the Tiny House on the Hill. 


Why We Need A Place to Pray {& How to Find it}

viewquiettimemg_3667It’s no secret that we can pray in any place we choose but there’s something {at least for me} about having a dedicated space that helps me to stay focused on God and His Word.

Moving into a smaller home forced us to downsize in every way, especially when it came to furniture. But one thing I rallied to keep was a 3 piece set from the first ice cream parlor in Simpsonville SC, and I’m so glad I did. Even though a 7′ farm table sits nearby, this parlor table found its own niche tucked between two large glass pane windows that frame the mountains quite nicely.

It’s at this table, that the various needs surrounding my day {dirty dishes, soiled clothes, dusty surfaces, etc.) fade into the background, fueling my engagement with God. It’s as if the brain knows this when I sit in that particular spot. If not the brain, then it must be the heart.

I remember when the boys were young my go-to prayer spot was on the end of a hand-me-down oversized sofa. Some days, I’d simply curl up, confident of my heavenly Father’s presence surrounding me. You know, when that kind of truth settles deep, it can change a person’s life. And it did. I’ll never forget that corner of prayer.

We all know there’s nothing magical or mystical about a particular place to pray. Being in a certain spot doesn’t reach God quicker or deeper. I think it simply signals to my body – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – that the temporal “stuff” needs to rest. Maybe the same is true for you — when the temporal pressures of the day begin to release their grip, eternal treasures gather both a brighter and clearer place in my mind and heart.

blogcanstockphoto16813515So, how do we find our own places of prayer?
  • Seek out a quiet place. Seems obvious, I know, but prayer has as much to do with listening as it does speaking or quietly sharing from our heart. When I show up to simply spew my desires {even godly ones!} it feels a bit more like Santa’s lap than a Savior’s embrace.
  • Find a “view”, or not. For some, a beautiful landscape, or whatever you consider to be beautiful within eyesight, can be a distraction. Not so for me but we’re all different and we need to find places that work towards focusing on God.
  • Recognize that the most vital placement question is that of the heart. Does prayer have a place in our heart? In our priorities?

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don’t want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of ‘good time’ is seldom in sync with ours.”
― Oswald Chambers

I’d love to know where you most often find yourself in prayer. Please share in the comment section below. If you’re searching for an inspiring post on prayer, there are many but this is one from Focus on the Family that covers a lot of bases.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day with me. Blessings!






Creating A Memorable Summer Vacation

When I saw these Butterfly Snacks on Facebook (compliments of Juggling With Kids) I couldn’t help but think of our own boy’s summer vaca’s. 

As an only child, I was happy slapping mud pies into tin plates on my grandmother’s back steps for my imaginary customers, so coming up with summer ideas for two little boys didn’t exactly come naturally.

But I wanted to create good memories for our boys so I sought reinforcement via Focus on the Family. I purchased 4 books that are now out of print but were priceless at the time.

Thankfully, the internet now offers a plethora of resources for moms like me. In addition to Juggling With Kids, here are some more to enjoy with your children/grandchildren:  

  • Thriving Family: A FREE summer activity calendar (takes only a moment to register)
  • Summer Ideas for Kids on Pinterest (awesome craft and food ideas)
  • 100 Summer Fun Ideas for Kids and Parents
  • Devo Kids, Summer Butterflies

Just like first impressions we’re given but one opportunity to create meaningful moments with our children. Let’s redeem the time!


Creation beckons us to open or eyes to the wonders of God. Look for a place outside where all you can see is God’s creation. If you’re in an urban area, consider visiting a park and lying down under a tree where all you can see is its branches and slivers of sky above. Spend fifteen minutes simply sitting or resting in the place. Pay attention to the details-the textures, the colors, the intricate care with which God formed creation. Allow yourself to spontaneously respond to God in thanks and worship, celebrating the wonders of creation all around.

Focus Helped Our Family Thrive

Our boys were 2 and 6 when I became a Christ-follower. With this new life in Christ, I became keenly aware of my need for growth, wisdom, and discernment in every area of my life, especially parenting.

I desperately wanted to be a godly mom, but my life skills was damaged, brittle, and broken. Studying the Word and enjoying community in our local church equipped me with truth, and tuning into Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family on 89.3 helped me practically apply the truth to my family’s needs.

God used the ministry of Focus on the Family in countless ways as we raised our boys, and it continues to help me today as I grow in my various roles as a woman of God, a wife, a mother of adult children, and a soon-to-be grandmother. It’s for this reason I’m both delighted and humbled by their acceptance of one of my submissions for this month’s publication via their online magazine, Thriving Family.

How fitting it is to have this article published In November—the very month we’re expecting our first grandchild (granddaughter Piper!) from the son referred to in the article.

I can share today’s post with you because I know it has nothing to do with my parenting skills but everything to do with our Father. He is faithful.


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