Holiday Shopping…More Blessing, Less Stressing.

Holiday Shopping...More Blessing, Less Stressing.

Holiday shopping advertisements are in full force. They are letting us know: Christmas is right around the corner and there is so much to get done. Does your blood pressure rise a bit when you see those commercials or walk into a glitter-filled store? Mine does. I love the season and the gift giving, but honestly– sometimes it just feels like too much. 

How can we avoid less holiday shopping stress? I’ve put together some ideas that work for our family, and hopefully, might bring a little bit of sanity and calm to yours…

1. Buy to bless, not to impress.

I’m a firm believer that what we believe determines how we proceed. In other words, what you think is the purpose behind celebrating this holiday season will influence how you shop. It’s so easy to get caught up in the game of expectations, obligation, and comparison, we will find it difficult to simply shop in a way that blesses another, rather than make much of ourselves. So, really, that is of greatest importance for me: getting my motivation for gift giving right practically wipes out the stress factor.

2. Determine a budget, and stick to it.

So much shopping stress is associated with the financial crunch that happens during the holidays. We find ourselves standing in front of too many choices, making hasty and emotional decisions that may or may not reflect our budget. Do yourself a favor, and determine ahead of time, how much you will spend, and feel good about sticking to it.

3. Consider choosing a theme for gift giving.

Although this may not be practical in all situations, it is definitely an idea worth considering for less stress and more thoughtfulness. Shopping thematically means that you determine, ahead of time, what kind of gift everyone on your list will receive this year, ie. books, gift certificates to favorite restaurants, music, or donations to ministries on the recipients’ names. Choosing one category for everyone you shop for allows you to hone in on what is significant, rather than run around town seeking various gifts for each person based on their wish lists.

4. Do your research, and shop online when possible.

Holiday shopping stress exists primarily when you must stand in long lines, hunt for the last one of a particular item you are looking for, or when you run around town doing price comparisons. Do your research ahead of time via the internet, ads, and a simple phone call to your local shops. Avoid the stress of trying to compare brands and ratings at purchase time by having all that done ahead of time. One way to be blessed and to be a blessing as well is to purchase handmade! There are so many great shops, (including this one being featured in the giveaway today!), and you know it is blessing another family when you purchase from local and online artists. Many small handmade shops online are shops benefiting adoptions, ministries, and Christian organizations. It is an added bonus when you know that your online purchase can go towards building up others in the Lord!

5. Make it fun by spending time with someone you love.

Go get dinner and make it a date. Or, invite a friend and grab peppermint lattes. If you must go out into the hubbub of holiday shopping, make it an opportunity to invest in relationship. If you have little ones, as I do, getting babysitting for the night definitely helps to avoid stress. Rather than allowing stressful situations with children and schedule conflicts to consume your holiday shopping experience, set yourself up for an enjoyable outing. De-stress your shopping experience by making it a memorable time of catching up with a friend or taking your spouse out for the evening. Remember that the the process of gifting is to be a blessing…start being a blessing even while shopping.

What are some ways you are choosing to make gifting a purposeful, and less stressful this season?

Because of Grace,



Words can’t express how thankful I am for each of you who have joined us on this journey for the past two years. I am overwhelmed by the thousands of women that come here every single day to share life and learn together!! While we may not be perfect (or even close to it), we desire to be better – for our families, for the world, and for our great God and Savior!  Thank you for joining me in this movement as we raise children who will impact the world, take care of our homes, love our husbands, and ultimately honor God with our lives!  ~Blessings, Ruth Schwenk

To celebrate our new design we will have a fun week of giveaways!!

We have some wonderful giveaways today. First one is from Ruth from  She is giving away some beautiful things from her shop!

1 fine art giclee print “Tulips For Morocco”: 7.5″x 7.5″, signed and numbered by Ruth Chou Simons. Archival quality print with certificate of authenticity. (value: $35)
"Tulips For Morocco": 7.5"x 7.5", signed and numbered by Ruth Chou Simons
1 set of “Rejoice Notecards”: original chalk art by Ruth Chou Simons printed on set of 8 (4″x5.5″) notecards with matching envelopes (value: $12)
"Rejoice Notecards": original chalk art by Ruth Chou Simons
1  ”Because Love Abides Here” (11″x14″) print: reproduction of original chalk art by Ruth Chou Simons, printed on thick velvet cover paper (value: $24)
"Because Love Abides Here" (11"x14") print
1 “Fading” (8″x10″) print: original water color by Ruth Chou Simons with popular quote from Anne of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” (value: $10)
original water color by Ruth Chou Simons
Total value: $81.00
The 2nd is a complete Child Training Bible Kit.  The Child Training Bible is tool that allows parents and children (and anyone that loves the Word of God) to go directly to the pages of Scripture for instruction in 20 key areas with a complete section dedicated to the gospel.  The Kit that we are giving away includes the CTB Chart Set, a Bible, tabs, and highlighters.  You can buy a kit by clicking here!Child Training Bible KitTo enter the giveaways join the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Ashlee says

    We have a sitter lined up for Saturday so that we can invest in our relationship while getting some shopping done. Looking forward to taking this step towards a stress free Christmas shopping experience ;)

  2. Ashlie Hill-Paulin says

    This year we kinda decided to do more online shopping since we have a little newbie and we live kinda far from family so we just cut some of the stress out! But my wonderful mother in law is going to come down and take our girls out while we wrap presents for some “us” time. I am excited and for the 1st year even with a baby I am not stressed!!

  3. Tracy says

    Try to do all my shopping on line. I usually find a better selection and a better price with the additional bonus of having it delivered right to mydoor, much less stressful!

  4. Kerrie says

    My Hubbie and I do the date thing too, we leave our littles in the care of our teens one Saturday and go to Cracker Barrel for some breakfast and stocking stuffer shopping in their gift shop before heading out on our big toy-store and mall excursion! :-)

  5. Amy says

    I have to tell you that I am stressing less this year. I told myself and hubby that this year we are only giving 3 gifts to each child. Well shopping is cheaper and I am almost done. I have 7 kids so Christmas can be expensive. I asked the kids to list 1 thing that they truly wanted, and two other things that they might want. My one son just brought joy to my heart. Dylan asked if he could give up a toy to get a book he has wanted to read.. Who could say no to that? I saw the child training set. I was sitting here thinking maybe if I knew where to go in the Bible I could use it as a tool like God intended. I wasn’t raised up in a Christian home. I have only read the Bible all the way through twice. The first time too me 5 years, the second 3. Maybe one year I can actually read it in a year. But I have been trying to change from the way I was brought up to something better, something more. I think this is it…. thanks for finding this and sharing……

  6. Jennifer Allen says

    Thanks for these tips on how to streamline holiday shopping. I especially love the first – buy to bless, not to impress!

  7. Laura Kolarikova says

    We try to give to charities at Christmas. We print catalogues to evangelical charities, pass out markers and circle the gifts we’d like to give.

  8. Denise says

    Thank you Ruth for the ideas for less stress! The art is beautiful- you are so blessed! Thank you for offering the giveaway! God bless!

  9. Carrie Palmer says

    My sister-in-law suggested having a “homemade Christmas” this year, so we are making each other’s gifts. I think it’s a great way to make gift giving more meaningful! However, with 3 young kids including a 2 month old, I’m not sure it makes things less stressful… LOL.

  10. Sarah Shore Leonard says

    Thank you for these reminders. It is so easy for me to stress about the right gifts and to want to please people rather than look at our budge realistically. I appreciate your thoughts.

  11. Luz says

    Thank you for the reminder. I actually went out and Black Friday and felt so stressed out! I didn’t even do very much Christmas shopping after all. But it’s ok, I still have time to shop and no, I won’t be shopping on BF next year. : )

  12. dawnettethomas says

    Some really great advice here on stress free shopping. It can be hard to keep this season in proper prospective – we all need to try to show grace and peace, slow down and smile and embrace opportunities to bless not stress.

  13. Shannon Hamm says

    I would lik to do three gifts for each family member for Christmas…but I’m actually having a harder time coming up with gifts for my preschool and toddler boys that will feed their spirit/soul…as they already have three great Bibles. So this year, we are getting each of the boys one gift that really speaks to their interests. I love love love your artwork, Ruth.

  14. Christy says

    I’m working on getting my family to switch to more handmade gifts than mass market. Love the ideas & artwork!

  15. Katie says

    Thank you writing these tips. I definitely needed to be reminded to allow my shopping trips to be the beginning of a blessing. Online shopping and researching ads and deals has definitely saved me stress this year.

  16. mb we;ch says

    I have barely started my shopping, but I might call a friend, grab a couple peppermint lattes and go without stressing it!

  17. Melinda says

    Thank you for the wonderful tips…we all tend to get stressed out at the time of year, when we should be enjoying our families and celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

  18. Julianne Collier says

    At this time in my life, I have to have a budget and stick with it! It would be such a blessing to win the give away. I love the Moroccan painting especially. :) -Julianne Kelly(Collier)

  19. Dawn-Marie Irvin Jackson says

    I teach pre-kindergarten and would love to win any of the items but especially LOVE the Bible.

  20. Amber Nicole English says

    Have never seen the child training bible. Looks like it could be a great resource! Love the artwork too.

  21. Stacy says

    Ruth, I love your art work! Your art and blog posts inspire me to keep moving forward and to get creative. Thanks for blessing us with your wisdom!

  22. Grace Cho says

    thanks for the reminder! thinking about the reason for giving is something i’m going to have to remember as i shop for my family!

  23. Joanna Warren says

    Great tips! All of the gifts for my children were purchased through Amazon, after comparing prices. How nice it is to relax instead of trying to run around town!

  24. Julia Rogers says

    I am hoping to head over to your store to buy a special gift no matter what but it would be helpful on the budget to win one too! Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Katie S says

    Thanks for the fun ideas! I would love to get a babysitter and spend an evening with my husband shopping for others. Might have to convince him though :o)

  26. Mary T says

    The Better Mom has certainly blessed many moms and grandmoms! Love your new look! The artwork is truly inspirational and the Bible looks like a family must have! Thanks for sharing and for all your giveaways!

  27. Brianna Alton says

    Thank you for the tips! I made a budget but I didn’t stick to it! We always seem to overspend! Luckily we are all done shopping though for everyone!! so YAY!

  28. Tia Miller says

    I love this idea…. it will make it so easy to get to the scripture that refers to the actions of my children and sometimes even us as parents. Hoping to be blessed and not stressed!

  29. Jane says

    I’m a foster parent and have had kids from all ages and walks of love. I would love to win the Child Training Bible to use in guiding and training my precious kids.

  30. Angel says

    I have the virtue training and the child training and I love them! I know of a single momma friend I have that would greatly benefit from having her own copy :-) These resources are such a blessing!

  31. Melissa Ansiel says

    This Bible would be a great resource to apply what we have learned from Shepherding and Instructing a Child’s Heart, Don’t Make Me Count to Three, and Teach them Diligently! Four of my favorite parenting books.

  32. Erica S says

    I have heard so many great things about the training Bible. Thank you for this opportunity and for how you let God use you to bless others through this website.

  33. Elizabeth Prentiss says

    I am so inspired by the Bible. I have two very busy boys, one of which is extremely strong willed. I struggle daily with parenting as much as I am grateful to do it each day. What a huge help this Bible would be!

  34. Katy Manley- Morrison says

    I have been wanting one of these for awhile now, hoping I win, I think I’ve entered everyone of these and have never own maybe I will this time.

  35. Christie says

    I have been eyeing the Child Training Bible for quite some time. I would love to win it. And, what a great gift that would be for families with children.

  36. Amanda says

    we are going to be a traditional homeschool family next year(we’re cyber schoolers now) and I am looking forward to adding in bible study to our new curriculum! Your blog is inspiring!

  37. Michelle says

    Enjoyed the thoughts on helping to focus my Christmas shopping…I want Christmas to be simple and to focus it on Jesus…the world makes too much noise and dazzling distractions.

  38. Michelle Bell says

    I have been wanting this child training bible since I heard of it a couple months ago. I have the highlighters and tabs saved in my amazon cart. Hopefully I win this so I can clear my cart!

  39. Cheryl Patricia Porak Manney says

    Who ever said kids don’t come with an instruction manual? The Bible is the best one around!

  40. nichole says

    My son asked me for tabs for his Bible like the ones that I have on mine. It is so amazing all the things our children emulate. It makes me so aware that my child looks to me for guidance even when I don’t have something specific to share.

  41. Carey says

    This is just what I’ve been looking for. I have 5 kids and struggle with bible lessons. I think this would be a fabulous blessing for them! Thanks!

  42. Rene Scott says

    All of these things would be a blessing to win! The Bible would sure come in handy as I raise up four littles!.

  43. Heather Davis Nowlin says

    The Ruth Chou Simon’s products are beautiful and the Bible would be a great start to our Children’s Ministry Library.

  44. April says

    Wow! The child training Bible looks amazing! I have never seen one (and the Pastor hubby is a Bible Collector!) Awesome!

  45. Mandi Miller says

    Love every single one of these items!! I’ve been wanting to get my kids the Training Bible; this would make a great gift! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  46. Justina Nunery says

    My Son and Step-Son would enjoy this!!! It would be great bonding time for the whole Family and as for me, I’m a new Christian and would learn a lot from this myself!!!! :)

  47. Aida Feliz Vicuna says

    A great bible to help guide our children to turn to the Word of God for all their questions and answers.

  48. Megan says

    I’m done with my shopping, since I shop throughout the year (mostly for budgetary reasons), but I love all of these ideas! And thanks for the fun giveaways!

  49. Mother of many says

    This would help my husband and me to stay on the same page as we seek teach our children according to Gods word.

  50. jenturp says

    This would be a great teaching tool for our children, showing them that they can always go to the Bible for the answers they are looking for.

  51. Tammy says

    A wonderful gift to help our children feel more comfortable using the bible and see how it holds the answers that apply to everyday life situations.

  52. Kriziela says

    I’d be so excited to read to my daughter the Child Training Bible! This would be a great help to me in teaching my baby girl stories about Jesus!

  53. Diane E. Ruiz says

    The child training bible looks like an amazing tool! This would be great to use with my 9 month old son. “Bring up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it”.

  54. Michelle Kilcoyne says

    I have been looking for something like this for a long time. I would LOVE to have the Child Training Bible to use in our home!

  55. Pam says

    This is great timing for me. We have entered into a phase of frustration with my son. He is only 4 but we did not go through much during the ‘terrible two’s or threes’

  56. Krissti Bryant says

    I would love to win the bible I have 5 children and it would be a blessing thank you for running this opportunity.

  57. Amanda Fransen says

    I like that it has tabs for behaviors and actions. I have an ADHD Child and a lot of christian sites I read don’t believe in ADHD, and believe it’s all correctable through the Bible…maybe it will help…

  58. Molly says

    The Bible would be a great reference for when I quickly want to find a scripture to remind my children of what God’s word says about life aspects of life.

  59. Grace Chute says

    I would love to win the Bible. My friend has one for her children but we couldn’t figure out where I could find one. Thanks for the info!

  60. says

    Themes have helped me over the years. I especially loved the year the theme was books! I just placed one big Amazon order! Books are great even for non-readers (yes really). Because even if someone isn’t a reader there’s usually always a cookbook or coffee table book they’d like instead. Not to mention audiobooks!

    I’d love to win the cards!


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