Long time, no see. I am officially back to the blogging world, and I’m very excited for the new year ahead. I’ve got some ideas that I can’t wait to share here, and at the same time I am just as excited to read what you all have to share with me. ❤
In the meantime, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are happy, safe, and with those you love. It is holidays like these that remind of us of our blessings, and it is so crucial that we do take a moment to thank God for what He has given us.
Some of you probably aren’t the biggest fans of Christmas and the holiday season, but I urge you to consider what the season is all about. While society has made a big deal of the materialistic aspect of gifts, gifts, gifts, there is a deeper point to Christmas and why it applies to all of humanity. So… Without further ado, let’s look at some of the most important takeaways of Christmas.
1. GIFTS ARE TO BE GIVEN
It is no secret that you, me, all of humanity–we like getting gifts. We all want things. Some of us are hoping for a shiny engagement ring this Christmas; others hope for something as simple as a new pair of shoes. But in the midst of all this desire for things, we must remember that gifts are to be given.
Huh? What does this mean? Aren’t you supposed to give gifts so that you get what you want?
Well, not exactly. It is better to give gifts than to receive them. Why? Because you’re doing something for another person. You’re ignoring your own wants to provide the wants of another. And trust me, there’s nothing better than seeing your loved one (or a stranger, I might add) open a gift and smile bigger than Texas.
2. LOVE ON DISPLAY
The holiday season is about love. Without getting too soppy, I’ll say that the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a good one to listen to. In these weeks of celebration, family is hugely important. Whether your family is blood, or your family is your friends (or maybe a pet LOL), you must be with them. Why do I require it? Because we don’t know how many Christmases we get on this planet, and it’s important that we savor family time while we have the chance.
And this is the perfect time to love on people, even if you want to slap them or disappear due to the family drama. And another thing, we’re not just supposed to love those we know. We’re called to love those we don’t know, and we must be kind to all we meet. That is what I love about the holidays: That, despite the manic tone in the air, there is also a feeling that… Maybe, just maybe… We can slow down and take the time to show kindness to those around us.
3. THE BIRTH OF THE SAVIOR
Some people don’t celebrate Christmas for this reason, but I’ll tell you that to me it is the most important. Christmas, which I like to think of as “More Christ” (Christ + más, which is “more” in Spanish), is the day in which we celebrate the birth of a particularly lovable baby named Jesus Christ, the very baby who would one day grow up and save the world. Sounds like a story, right?
True stories are the best kind.
No one really knows when Christ was born, but we take December 25 as an opportunity to commemorate the birth that would change everything in human history. Some speculate that his birth was actually in the springtime, but I’m going to be tart and say: I don’t really care when he was born. I care that he was born, and that he lives!
This is the true reason for the season, as they say. And even if you don’t believe, I ask you to read Luke 1:1-20 and Matthew 1 & 2:1-11. What does it hurt to read about a baby that was born to be the savior of the world? Even if you don’t think it’s true, you can’t not say it isn’t a compelling story. ❤
Merry Christmas, everyone! Again I am so glad to be back on this blog and posting content for you guys. But this is also an opportunity for me to get to know you all better, so keep writing and recommending things to me. I love hearing from you!! ❤
Here in the United States, it means that we’re surrounded by Christmas music, twinkling lights, decorated trees, hot chocolate, and, for college kids, finals season. Most people really enjoy the holidays, and especially a certain component of December 25…
So, you may be thinking, What in the world should I gift my loved ones? Well, I’ve got a solution for you this year, even though it may not be the most popular gift idea for the population at whole: Why not bring books back into the equation?
Though so many people do not enjoy reading, I truly believe this may be because they just haven’t found the right book. So why not try something new (and typically pretty cost efficient) and gift your loved ones a book?
Over the years, I have found that some of the best gifts have been books. I don’t remember my first book, but I do collect them whenever I can. Here is another life lesson: You never know which book is going to be your favorite. Maybe you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, and your sister gets you a book about the Serengeti. Why not give it a try, and expose yourself to something new? Reading can definitely be that outlet!
So, in today’s post, we’re going to go through some options for you, in case you’re struggling with that perfect book gift idea. 🙂
What should you get your dad? Well, you could try a book on planes or woodworking or insert whatever your dad happens to be interested in. That being said, my dad isn’t a big reader, so I am aware of that when I’m selecting the right choice for him. Therefore, I’d pick something short, realistic, and believable.
My choice: Bleachers by John Grisham.
The book focuses on whether the famous Eddie Rake, former coach of the Messina High School football team, was loved or hated by his former players.
Some mothers are into cookbooks (my mom), and others are into chick flicks. Some are into romance, and others legal thrillers. Since everyone is different, there is an endless array of picks for you. That being said, I am aiming this post more toward people I know, and therefore…
If I would give Momma J a book, my choice would probably be: Sanctuary by William Faulkner.
My mom’s favorite author is the incredibly talented Faulkner, who is famous for developing the Southern Gothic genre. Faulkner has had an enormous impact on my own writing, and Sanctuary is one of his best novels, though quite controversial.
Sanctuary is a novel by the American author William Faulkner about the rape and abduction of a well-bred Mississippi college girl, Temple Drake, during the Prohibition era.
My sister is only twelve, so our interests in reading are quite different. That being said, I do believe that she is about to hit an age where reading truly matters, because at that point in life, you are beginning to figure out who you are and what you like. Therefore, I’d encourage my sister to pick up a classic that most of you will probably recognize:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.
Maggie Givenchy is not a reader. In fact, she’d probably do anything to avoid books if she could, since Christmas Hallmark movies are more her thing. However, I was shocked when I recommended a John Grisham book that inspired her (you will see what it is soon enough) and left her wanting more.
Though I know John Grisham is my go-to answer, I thought it would be more interesting if I picked a different book for her: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty. (And what’s better? It has a 3.69 average on Goodreads.)
Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.
ROACHES (my college friend group lol)
There is one book that I recommend to anyone and everyone I meet. It has become a sort of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants book for some of my friends, and therefore it has taken a special place in my heart. I bought my paperback copy when I was fifteen, gave it to Maggie, who passed it on to Even, who was supposed to pass it on to Hadley, and so on…
What is the book, you may be asking, that has captivated a bunch of college kids who typically don’t like reading all that much?
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham.
A Washington reporter helps an on-the-run law student who knows too much about a government cover-up.
My Mamaw always reads these posts, and so I know she’ll be reading this one as well. 🙂 Therefore, though I don’t want to spoil what I will send her for Christmas, I do want to share what the book is for all of you.
Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry is an amazing book that everyone should read. It is not the most pleasant read, but the themes of hope and survival are universal. ❤
Two women kidnapped by infamous Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro share the stories of their abductions, captivity, and dramatic escape.
My choice this year for my grandpa is a book I read a few years ago, but it has recently come into my mind again. Louis Zamperini is a true American hero, and his biography by Laura Hillenbrand is an excellent choice to read. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is nothing less than inspiring.
Unbroken is a biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in the Pacific theatre, spent 47 days drifting on a raft, and then survived more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war in three brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camps.
You guys are an incredible source of positivity for me, and I love checking/updating this blog to see what you guys are up to and what your thoughts are. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to include you in this post. If you’re looking for something great to read, I urge you to check out the following books that have left an imprint on my heart.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García-Márquez.
The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
The novel’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand’s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism.
Thank you guys for reading this post! Hopefully you’ve found some ideas for your own Christmas gifts (or your personal reading as well). I wish you guys a blessed holiday season, and I hope that wherever you are in this world of ours, you are happy and safe. ❤
Until next time,
P.S. A huge shoutout to sweet Maggie Givenchy, who was the one to come up with this blog post. Thank you for always reading my posts and listening to my wild antics. You are the best, chica!!