On the 1st Day Of Christmas…..Giveaway w/ Zoe Elmore

Welcome to day one of the 12 Days of CHRISTmas giveaway!!! There will be holiday ideas, easy recipes and both practical and pampering prizes to win. Best of all, each day you will meet one of my fellow “sistas” from the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaking team. Get to know them and their wonderful resources including books and teaching cd’s. Why, you might even just discover the speaker you have been looking for to appear at your next event.

So get in the holiday spirit. Tune in each day. Hop on and leave a comment. The more you leave, the better your chances of winning. The winners will be announced on the 13th day of December so comment every day if you can! (Now, don’t neglect the family or the let the house go, just do what I do and lose a little sleep in order to carve out some time to sip something hot and connect with your cyber sisters!!!) Enjoy!!!

Now, let me tell you, I had a hard time deciding which of my Proverbs 31 sisters to feature first. Then I remembered that little verse in the Bible about the last being first and the first being last, so I thought I’d start with my sister with the first name that begins with the last letter of the alphabet…..ladies……meet Zoe Elmore!!! 

Zoe’s Bio:

Happily married to Tom Elmore, Zoe is the mother of two sons Joshua and Joseph and her future daughter-in-law Kelsey. She makes her home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has six years of training with Bible Study Fellowship International where she served as a small group leader and assistant teaching leader for three years.

Zoe has a passion to encourage women and through her gifts of encouragement, compassion and humor, Zoe challenges women to experience the Lord’s peace and provision as she pours His life into theirs. Through inspiring stories and unforgettable word pictures, she will encourage you to experience God’s presence in a new and fresh way.

Ever the princess of our speaker team, Zoe enjoys time with her family and anything that sparkles.

             Zoe’s precious family. 

 

  • Zoe, how will you and your family celebrate this Christmas season?

This will be our first Christmas without my dad and Tom’s mom as they went to dance with Jesus earlier this year, so we are changing our usual traditions. We will spend Christmas in our home for the very first time and my mom will be joining us for the holiday before she travels to Texas to be with my sister and her family.

We’re really excited that our future daughter-in-law Kelsey will be joining us for part of the holiday.

  • What is your most and least loved aspect of this often-hectic time of year?

Most Loved: Time with family and friends. I especially love Christmas morning in our jammies as we open gifts and enjoy breakfast casserole and monkey bread.

Least loved: Not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Oh yeah, and taking down all of the decorations!

  • What is your most treasured memory of Christmas as a young bride?

Our first Christmas tree was only 3 feet tall so we placed it on an end table in front of the large window in our apartment. From the street our tiny tree appeared to be full-grown.  I hand made all the ornaments for our first tree and we continue to use those every year as we decorate our tree.

  • Any holiday foods or decorating ideas you want to share with us today?

I always place a nativity scene in the branches of our Christmas tree to remind us that Jesus was born to die on a tree for our salvation.

I make Baklava and Kourambiethes (Greek pastries). I’ve added hand-made chocolate covered cherries to my repertoire thanks to Proverbs 31 speaker Marybeth Whalen and her mom.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Zoe and Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Okay ladies, Zoe mentioned not enough hours in the day to “get it all done”. Don’t we women, especially moms, feel the pressure to “do it all” every single year. You know, that tug you feel to bake decorated sugar cookies from scratch, construct a magazine-like gingerbread house, make fresh cedar garland for your mantle and hand write a personal note inside all of the 82 Christmas cards you feel compelled to mail out each year. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!

In my workshop The Holidays: A Time to Bless, Not Stress, I encourage moms to take a deep breath, muster up their courage and hold a family holiday re-evaluation meeting. I did this with my hubby and kiddos about five years ago and we did it again this year on Thanksgiving Day. The goal is to discover exactly what YOUR family holidays should look like and to rid your schedule of the activities and even foods that really aren’t special to your clan.

You see, sometimes we are busting our tails to try to make the perfect holiday, complete with lots of hustle and bustle and homemade fruitcake. What we don’t realize is that our family would be just as happy with less hustle, no bustle and they don’t even care for that fruitcake!!!! 

Enlist the help of your hubby, if you have one. Encourage your family members to be ruthlessly honest. Don’t be offended by their answers. After all, you want to scrape some things off of your holiday plate and free up some time to just be together!!! So, gather that darling clan and ask them the following questions:

  • What holiday foods do you most love and look forward to eating each year?
  • What holiday foods really aren’t your favorites and you could just as soon live without?
  • What traditions are the most meaningful to you that we do or have done?
  • What traditions do we usually do at the holidays that really aren’t important to you?
  • If you could pick only three holiday activities to do as a family (drive and look at lights, Christmas caroling, attending concerts, making cookies, etc…) which ones would you choose?
  • And last, but most important, how can we divide up the holiday duties (decorating, addressing cards, baking, etc…) so that all of the responsibilities don’t fall on mom?
Trust me ladies, you will be surprised at the answers. The first time I did this, I was shocked to find out that my kids didn’t really need to make roll out sugar cookies from scratch each year. (A time-consuming and messy activity!) I thought it was a must. After all I grew up doing it. What they told me, when I asked them to be honest, was that the only part thye really liked was frosting the cookies and placing the sprinkles and silver “bb’s” on top. (Okay, my boys call them bb’s. They are actually called dragees, I think!) So we changed our tradition. Now we purchase pre-baked, frozen sugar cookies at Sam’s Club that are made in the shapes of trees, stars, bells and snowmen. We still have fun decorating them and giving them away, however, now with no roll-out and baking mess!!! It is a win-win situation!!!
Well, I hope this little family exercise will get you on your way to a holiday season that blesses, not stresses!!! Now, for the question and the giveaway. Zoe will be giving one of you fellow memory-making gals a Starbucks card along with a copy of His Princess by Sheri Rose Shepard. 
This beautiful four-color book opens the eyes of women to see themselves the way God sees them. Many don’t even know that they are daughters of the King – chosen to be His Princess. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, they trade in their fairy-tale dreams of being cherished for a tarnished identity fashioned by their own insecurities and the mixed-up messages of the media. Now, these tenderly adoring letters written from God’s perspective demonstrate that every woman is beautiful just the way she is. Walking in confidence toward her God-given purpose, every woman can bless others – even future generations.
So now, how to enter: Leave a comment letting the rest of your cyber sisters know one of two things:
What holiday tradition or food you just couldn’t live without or….
What holiday activity or food you would happily dump right now!!!
If your comment is chosen, you can sip something hot and creamy while growing in your relationship with our wonderful God, compliments of Zoe Elmore!
Happy first day of Christmas everyone. Comment away…..
Scaled-back Holiday Blessings,
Karen

 

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  • Must have orange danish rolls for breakfast Christmas morning. Must have Christmas music. Have already done away with sending Christmas cards.

  • Must have EGGNOG! :-) Must have Christmas Music constantly playing. Must have the Sunday School Christmas Carol Sing!!

  • Thxs for these questionsGod new i needed a tool to take the unnessasary out of the coming weeks before x-mas
    This weekend i planned already to start preparing the house and to plan x-mas…
    Overhere ( Holland) after today’s celebration of St Nicholas the x-mas decoration and focus to x-mas comes out……
    Thxs for your blogs

    Blessing

  • I can’t live without my peanut butter pie!! The only time of the year that I make it is the holidays. I will continue to make it until I physically cannot.
    I just want to say thank you for this blog. I am enjoying reading about everyone. I am reconnecting with Christ and have found so many great new inspirations through it all. I truly do appreciate it all!!

  • I love the baking but not need the sugar cookies from scratch! I don’t like the time writing and addressing all the Christmas cards.

  • My favorites are Christmas cards, spending time with family, the decorations, Christmas songs, Christmas movies, and the joy and excitement from your loved ones when you give them something they really wanted.
    My least favorites are finding that perfect gift for some people. A few people on my list are very hard for me to buy for. I also dont like commercialism of the holiday makes it to easy to get our focus off the true meaning.

    P.S. I dont like the green bean casserole either….

  • For me it is a tradition that my husband’s family calls Dutch Lunch which we have on Christmas eve. It consists of meats, cheeses, special breads, crackers, pickles, olives, chips, cookies, etc. Just a lot of specialty items that we only eat at Christmas.

  • Favorite Tradition…. me NOT cooking… and that is my family’s favorite as well. LOL

    And in our Advent Calendar we place a little poem of something special we will do each day as a family. Every morning as our kids add a piece to the manger scene, they get to read what we will do for that day. They LOVE it. Many of them are simple… read a new book about Christmas… watch christmas movie while sipping hot chocolate… looking at lights… shopping… candlelight dinner with menu planned by kids…This year my 13 year old made the list of ‘her idea’ we could do for the 25 days. Made it easier on me. :-)

    Love everything about this time of year… I would dump the excess commercialism.

  • Every Christmas Eve, we have fondue after the kids go to bed. Then we get out all of the presents and wrap them while the kids sleep. It makes for a late night, but also for some great memories.

    I could live without having to send out Christmas cards. It stresses me out every year.

  • Our children are ages 3 and 1, so we are just starting to develop traditions with them. This year we sat down early and established our priorities for the holidays, before all of the event invitations started rolling in. That has helped a lot already! My favorite tradition is attending Christmas Eve service – it’s been harder with small children. And I would have to say while I enjoy decorating, I don’t enjoy packing up and putting the decorations away in January.

    Cindy

    (P.S. – And I’m with DeniseLynn up above. . .don’t really care for the green bean casserole, so I would be happy to not have that at Christmastime!)

  • This year we are expecting our third child ANYDAY and are also spending our first Christmas without my Mother-in-Law who is with our Savior this year. We’ve spent time thinking and preparing for the season–and want to keep our focus on our Lord’s birth!

    A favorite that we all enjoy is Chex party mix! A bowl of party mix, candles, and a Christmas movie are special treats!

    We could all go without the full schedules. Thankfully, this year, with a new Baby on the way, we’ve kept our commitments to a minimum. Our gifts are bought/ wrapped and the house is decorated. Now, we’re just enjoying the season! The question is: will we be faithful to do the same in the future years? One at a time…

  • OK this one might get me booed because it seems like I’m the only one who doesn’t like it but honestly …
    I would love to dump the green bean casserol! I’ve never liked it myself but someone always brings it to every Christmas celebration meal. *lol*

    and I know you only asked us to answer one of the two but let me just say I love getting all the Christmas cards and letters … especially hearing from those who we’ve not heard from all summer long. Reconnecting is so fun!

  • My husband wants to dump me cooking the Christmas dinner and go out, but my kids don’t want to do that.

    I’m wondering if cooking on Christmas Eve should be a new tradition …

  • I can’t do without our annual Christmas caroling on Christmas eve. My husband doesn’t like it though – SO… in light of reading your article, Karen, I think I may surprise him this year and be flexible on that.

    I could do without the rush – I’m trying very hard this year to get things done ahead of time so we can have a more relaxed momma and Christmas.

  • Love: all things associated with Christmas at our house, especially the simple things like watching a little boy gently unwrap assorted decorations and try to remember the story behind each one; keeping our focus on Jesus.

    Could do without: the western Oregon rain…oh, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

  • I love filling my home with Christmas music. Over 30
    years ago I wanted to hear Chrismas music and found
    a Christian radio station and a Bible teacher that made me realize I didn’t know the Bible had so much to say about life and death. I’ve been devouring the
    Bible ever since==it’s my daily bread!
    My grown children like getting together. Last year we
    couldn’t coordinate a date and time.My husband and I
    had to schedule 4 seperate Christmas celebrations.
    This year my son’s girlfriend planned the date of December 6.Everyoneis coming and we’re simplifying the gift exchange with a keep or trade one item gift/

  • I enjoy getting up on Christmas morning before everyone and having my cup of tea by the Christmas tree and waiting for those first footsteps and then watching in joy as my boys hustle around the house to get everyone up so we see what is under the tree. We laugh and giggle and enjoy it. But I have to say the quiet moments right before are always my favorite.

  • I enjoy christmas the most because I get to spend time with my family, some of whom I would not get to see any other time. I love my neices and nephews and yes I have alot, I love seeing the joy in their eyes while they open presents receiving gifts that they are well deserving of, and not able to get any other time during the year. I love the conversations that me and my sisters sit down at the table and have with our mom and laugh about old funny times! Those moments are so precious to me.
    I can however live without the hustle and bustle of last minute shopping, and the sadness of knowing that I am very blessed and fortunate to be able to shop early or last minute when their are so many who can’t. The feeling of nausea I get in the pit of my stomach knowing someone has lost a loved one and can’t seem to remember the real meaning of Christmas, or going through a terrible divorce and their children have to decide who to spend Christmas day with. I know somewhere somebody is hurting this time of the year more than any other!

  • What holiday tradition or food you just couldn’t live without or….

    our Christmas morning casserole. We only make it once a year. It is so rich with all the eggs, cheese, and sausage and such a treat.

    What holiday activity or food you would happily dump right now!!! Hmm. That would be all the decorations except the tree. I enjoy the lights on the tree and the shadows it casts on the wall.

  • Making cookies, watching corny Christmas shows and decorating the tree are favorites of ours. What I can do without is the three days of gathering together that my hubby’s family seems to want every year. Really… do we need that third day? We all live in the same county and I dread that third day.

  • It doesn’t seem like Christmas if I don’t bake candy cane cookies. These cookies (made of red and white dough twisted together to look like a candy cane) have peppermint extract in the dough and are topped with crushed peppermint candies and sugar.

    What could I do without? The long lists of “gimmes.”

  • What I love:
    On Christmas morning, we love to act out the Christmas story. We started this little tradition with our oldest daughter when she was two yrs old. Now, we have 2 little girls (5 and 2 1/2) that love pretending to be Mary and Joseph and they love to put Baby Jesus in the manger (laundry basket with their favorite blankies inside). Then we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. I know that they won’t always love this tradition. I’m sure when they’re 16, it might lose it’s appeal. But right now, they love it and when they’re older, we’ll find another way to keep the same spirit.

    What I would let go- TV commercials and the early advertisement in stores of Christmas. Every Saturday morning, my kids make a new Christmas list. I agree w/ Charlie Brown and Linus- “too commercial”.

  • I opened my Christmas Card List and found a note to myself from last Christmas…Dear self, Do not put all of those decorations up and make all of those cookies and buy all of those gifts or you will make yourself CRAZY again!!! How quickly we forget the insanity that we make for ourselves!!

    The one holiday tradition I could easily let go would be the extended family dinners. When I say extended I mean with my cousins and their children. I love these people but MUST we try to visit at Christmas???? A summer picnic would be so much more fun!!!