I’m not a super sentimental person, but there are a few things that make it feel like Christmas in our home: eggnog (even though none of us really love it); over-decorating (My husband nearly risks his life on our roof each year hanging lights); and of course movies (everything from Bing Crosby’s crooning + Kevin McAllister’s infamous scream.)

But my favorite Christmas family tradition? Giving of ourselves more and loving others louder.

Just a few hours ago, we finished our 3rd Annual Christmas Shop Event hosted by the church my husband is on staff at and the fitness studio we own. The Christmas Shop is an event where we transform our fitness studio into a giant toy store. Parents, guardians, and grandparents in need get to come, shop for the children and teenagers in their home, eat goodies, and have everything gift wrapped at no cost to them. It’s magical.

I’m blown away by the amount of help that showed up at 6:45am on an icy Saturday morning just seven days before Christmas.

I’m amazed at the amount of toys that we had donated.

But most of all, I get teary-eyed just reflecting on what we got to watch God do today.

This morning, both of my teenage girls hopped out of bed. (Okay, well, maybe they didn’t hop – but they didn’t complain!) They put their Christmas gear on and loaded in the van. They worked hard, they laughed a lot, and they saw first-hand what giving looks like on the faces of those receiving. But most importantly? They left more in awe of God.

The other night as we were heading home from preparing for this event, I asked them if when they grow up and have families of their own if they want to come back and help with The Christmas Shop. They both quickly answered, “For sure, Mom!”

Now, I don’t know if that’s actually going to happen, but I have confidence they will remember the tradition where as a family, we showed God’s love in a big, creative, and sacrificial way. And I pray that they teach their kids to do the same.

From our families to yours, merry Christmas!

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16