Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Free printable Christmas lunchbox notes and jokes

Spread Christmas cheer with these printable Christmas lunch notes!

I started putting a lunchbox note in my daughter’s lunchbox when she was in kindergarten — and I never stopped. We love lunchbox notes and having Christmas lunchbox notes is lots of fun.

What I love about putting note cards in my children’s lunchboxes is that it is a great way to encourage them in the middle of their school day. With premade free printable Christmas lunch notes, sending along a fun little note during the busy holiday season is even easier.

How lunchbox notes help our children

Lunchbox notes are a great way to encourage and connect with our children. One of the things I love about sending along a note in my kiddos’ lunches each day is that it gives them a pause to remember how loved they are.

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We all love encouragement and support, and lunch box notes are an easy way to do that for our children.

The notes are also a great way to connect with our children throughout the school year. Even with children who are older, I love sharing something special with them each day in their lunch.

Lunchbox notes can also be a great way to build confidence in our children. They remind our kiddos of their support system and give us a chance to cheer them on, even when we’re apart.

And, finally, lunchbox notes can even be educational in a fun way. When my daughter was in first grade, for instance, I wrote a note for her on Fridays that included her spelling words. 

She had lunch before her spelling test, and I figured her seeing the words one more time before the actual test would be helpful!

All about creative lunchbox notes

Because I send a daily note in each child’s lunch box, I have to come up with things to write for them, so I have themed days. 

  • Motivation Monday: An inspirational, encouraging quote
  • Truth Tuesday: A Bible verse
  • Wacky Wednesday: A joke
  • Thankful Thursday: Something about them for which I’m thankful
  • Fun Fact Friday: A random, interesting fact

That remains the same throughout the holidays. So having themed lunchbox notes as a digital download comes in handy!

Christmas joke lunchbox notes

During the Christmas season, I like to use Christmas themes as much as I can. I started with Christmas jokes.

These free printables include 16 Christmas-related jokes that will tickle your kids’ funny bones! I’m actually planning to use some for our elf to deliver and hide around the house for the kids to find!

Kind lunchbox notes

And then these free printable lunchbox notes also include eight kind lunchbox notes filled with a sweet message for the middle of the day. It’s a simple way to remind your kiddos that you’re thinking of them and hope they have a good day!

​A sweet note with a bit of a pun is so much fun, and many of these notes include little jokes along with kindness.

How to get the Christmas lunch box notes

The last thing busy moms need are more hoops to jump through. So I’ve got these Christmas lunchbox notes for you as an instant download you can use right away!

The image below will take you to a digital PDF file that you’re welcome to use personally. This file is not for commercial use. It’s a Christmastime freebie!

Click here to download the free printable Christmas lunch notes

I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas season!

Free Family Devotional

Learning how to not be hard on yourself

What if you saw yourself like your loved ones see you?

I was putting my son to bed recently, and he was having a difficult time. His young self was upset with a mistake he had made. 

It was a very small mistake. He didn’t get in trouble for it. Nobody was upset, hurt or angry. But he was treating himself as if he had physically harmed someone else. 

He looked at me and asked whether I think he’s too hard on himself.

I know he knows the answer, because we’ve talked about this many times. However, maybe he needed to hear it again. So I said yes, I do think he is too hard on himself. 

Then he asked where he gets it from. He knows the answer to this as well. Both my husband and I have shared with him a few times that I am the same way with myself. Yet, again I answered. 

In all sincerity, he looked at me and asked incredulously, “Why are you hard on yourself?”

He said it in a way that he truly didn’t understand why I’d be hard on myself. He is my son, my baby boy, who adores me. 

From the beginning of his life, he’s been my sidekick. He has quite literally chosen to be with me instead of friends quite a few times during his life thus far. 

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My son sees me in a different light than I see myself. He sees good things. 

I’m thankful for that. It left me wondering, though, why am I so hard on myself? More importantly, how can I start being kinder to me and teach my son to do the same?

What being hard on yourself looks like

I can’t speak for everyone; I can only tell you what being hard on yourself looks like for me. Unfortunately I see my son doing some of these same things, and it breaks my heart. He is a chip off the old block, so to speak. 

Being hard on myself means that when I make a small mistake, I chastise myself as if I have committed a grave error that will affect the rest of humanity for the rest of known time. I ruminate on the mistake. 

My critical inner voice says really mean things to myself about me. While I consider myself an encourager to others, I am proficient in negative self-talk and negative thinking. In fact, I think I often speak words of encouragement to others because I so constantly need them. 

Yet when someone does compliment or encourage me, I struggle to believe them.

For me, being hard on yourself means that no matter what you do, it’s never enough. I always find myself wanting. 

I struggle to acknowledge the good things I’ve done and focus instead on the negative things. While I might accomplish many things in a day, I focus instead on where I failed and the tasks I didn’t get to. 

Another way I’m hard on myself is in taking responsibility for when things go wrong or a family member is upset — even when there is no possible way I’m the cause. 

I remember doing this even as a child. When I came home from school and my mom had had a bad day at work, I felt like I was responsible. 

(And I have an incredibly sweet mother who has always been a positive influence in my life. She didn’t take her bad days out on me in any way. I could just sense her feelings and somehow felt I was at fault.) 

The truth behind being hard on yourself

I won’t pretend to know the truth on why all people are hard on themselves. I don’t even fully understand why for myself. 

Instead, I suspect a lot of it (for me, at least) stems from two things: being a people pleaser and a perfectionist.

While I think I’m not a people pleaser so much these days, the truth is I am. I don’t like conflict. 

As someone who is sensitive to others, I don’t like negative emotions. (Who does?! But, I often quite literally feel what those near me are feeling.) 

I don’t care what people think about things like what I’m wearing or doing. I’m comfortable in my own skin. 

However, I really don’t want to upset people around me. I avoid conflict like the plague. 

So, I guess you could say that I am a people pleaser, even though I don’t want to admit that.

Then there’s the perfectionist side of me, which goes along with people pleasing. I have high standards and want things to be just so. 

More than anything, I want to be the best version of myself and who I expect me to be. However, sometimes I set a much higher standard that conflicts with who I actually am. 

I’m a quiet introvert. Sometimes I’d love to be gregarious extrovert who confidently walks into a room and chats kindly with everyone they see. I set high expectations I could never meet.

Even though I know that isn’t me, I’m often hard on myself when I do just the opposite. As I slump into a room, hope nobody notices me, find a friend I can latch on to and then count the time until I can escape, I am simultaneously mad at myself for not being different.

My perfectionism usually has way less to do with physical attributes and things as much as it does with myself. I want to be perfect, but I am not. I fail and come up short. So then I’m hard on myself.

Learning to be kinder to yourself

I am a work in progress. I certainly haven’t conquered being hard on myself. But I am working on it. It is definitely a learning process. 

I noticed how I was being hard on myself even more after having children. Then I really paid attention when I saw my kiddos being the same way. 

My daughter has been hard on herself for sure, but my son amps up to my level of being hard on himself. His inner critic is quite harsh.

Like so many things, my desire to improve myself stems from seeing the same struggle in my child and wanting to be better for him. So, I’m working on it.

Doing the best that I can

A few things have helped me give old Stacey a break and not be so stinking hard on her all the time. 

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The first is reminding myself I’m doing the best that I can. Overall, I really am doing the best that I can at any given time. 

Yes, there are times I could probably put in more effort, but most of the time I have given my all and that has to be enough. Because it’s all that I have to give. 

Often I repeat to myself when I start getting mean inside my head: “I’m doing the best that I can.” 

I tell my son the same thing. As a dyslexic, he can be very hard on himself about reading and spelling. He wants to always have perfect scores on assignments and tests. 

I can only begin to imagine how frustrating it is when words are everywhere and everyone else reads them with ease while you struggle. 

I remind him often that his dad, teachers and I only expect him to do his best. His best is good enough. He is doing his best, and that’s all that matters.

I want him to learn those lessons early in life for his own mental health and personal growth. My husband and I are doing our best to be positive influences in his life to help him overcome his own negative feelings.

Letting go of perfection

The other thing that I strive to remind myself is I’m not perfect. While I know I’m not perfect, I often behave and treat myself in the opposite fashion. I need to cut myself some slack in my own thoughts. 

When my negative thoughts threaten to take over, I strive to remind myself that I a human being and am going to make mistakes. And that’s OK — truly OK.

I’ve also realized the good that comes from not being perfect and shared that with my son the other night. I told him he isn’t perfect. And neither am I. None of us are. 

If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus. He hadn’t thought of it that way before. 

I don’t want to go through this life without Jesus. He has seen me through so many things and loves me in ways I don’t understand. 

If I were perfect, I wouldn’t need Him. I don’t want to imagine what that would be like. Truly, I don’t. 

So not being perfect really is OK. His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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Seeing you as others do

Finally, I’ve been thinking about what if I saw myself the way my son does. What if he saw himself the way I do? How would that change our opinions of ourselves? 

I don’t think I’d be as hard on myself; neither would he. We would get a bigger picture view of ourselves that is more well-rounded.

When I look at my baby boy, I saw a young man who is persistent, kind, empathetic, caring, sweet, hilarious, thoughtful and so much more. He can solve problems and come up with solutions better than anyone I know. 

He thinks outside of the box. I often refer to him as “my little man with a plan,” because of how his mind works. There is no way I’d trade him for any other son. He is just right!

I can’t tell you exactly how he sees me. But, I hope my family sees I love them and am trying every single day to do my best for them. I want to be their support system and soft place to fall. 

My desire is to encourage them and uplift them. Hopefully, they see my sensitivity, my empathy and my love for Jesus. 

Perhaps they see the strength I’ve used to overcome various challenges. I have good qualities. I need to do is focus on those more often.

Can you imagine how much my attitude would change if I allowed myself to peak at the good things God sees in me? He truly knows me. Even in my relationship with Him, I can imagine Him shaking His head at my faults. 

But He knows we aren’t perfect. He sent His Son to die because of how much He knows this! He is a loving Father who sees us as a whole person and someone worthy of love. 

Just like I see the struggles and faults my kids have, I also see much more the goodness and strengths they have.  

Next time you are being hard on yourself, remember that you are doing the best you can and you aren’t perfect. Then take a moment to step back and look at yourself the way those who love you — including your heavenly Father — do. 

I’m going to do the same thing. And if we do this on a regular basis, little by little our old habit of negative self-talk with dissolve.

Bible verses about leaning on and trusting God

20 Bible verses to help you remember to trust and lean on God

I’ve been a Christian officially since I was 10. That means, I’ve had more than three decades of living with God in my life. 

I have seen and know His faithfulness. Trusting Him should be second nature right now. Often it is, but other times, I need reminders when life starts going haywire that God is on His throne and I can trust Him completely. 

That’s where Bible verses about leaning on God help. His Word is the best way to remember Who God is and how much I can trust Him.

These powerful Bible verses remind us to trust God in tough times and in good times. As you lean on God through His Word, let the peace of God fill your heart and mind.

Learning to lean on God

Just like with any relationship, our relationship with God is a day-by-day thing. I don’t mean that as in we need to doubt our salvation, but I do mean that in the way we choose each day (and sometimes each moment) to live in line with God or not.

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 It’s our choice to make Him a big part of our lives or keep Him tucked away in a small corner of our lives. 

A couple of things help me most when my faith and trust in God get shaky: Bible verses and music. I’m encouraged that God clearly knew we’d have moments of weakness and doubt. So He packed His Word full of verses to encourage us on our faith journey.

God knows our weaknesses as humans, and He loves us anyway. He gives us the tools we need along the way. It’s just up to us to utilize them.

Favorite Bible verses about leaning on God

Turning to the Word of the Lord is the first place to start during times of testing of your faith. We serve a trustworthy God who will be with us in times of trouble. We can lean into our Lord Jesus and know He will be our strong tower during hard times.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

My own understanding of things is paltry at best. I don’t know what the future holds or how things are going to work out. 

This verse reminds me that regardless of what I know or understand, I have a God I can trust in with all my heart because He knows it all and will be there with me every single step of the way. 

I want to always be in the will of God, even when I don’t understand completely the situation.

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“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.'”

Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

When it comes to Bible verses about leaning on God, this is one of my favorites. I have trouble being still in my head. I can easily get carried away, ruminate and stress out. 

But this verse reminds me that I can just be still, rest and trust in God. Sometimes repeating “Be still” in my head can help calm my anxiety as I trust in the One Who is truly in control.

Other times, I ask God for help in being still, because doing so is hard with only my own strength. I need His help to even be still in Him.

“Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, 
is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)

The definition for the word salvation is to save or protect from harm, destruction and loss. This verse reminds us that God is saving and protecting us. We can trust in God’s unfailing love and not be afraid. 

The good news is when God is our strength, defense and ultimate protector, we can relax and rest in Him.

“Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself,
is the Rock eternal.”

Isaiah 26:4 (NIV)

Two things stick out to me in this verse. First, the use of the words “forever” and “eternal.” Knowing that God is an everlasting God on Whom I can lean throughout eternity is comforting to me.

My brain has trouble even fathoming how long eternity is, but even just having been able to trust Him for my meager amount of years on earth is significant. 

The second thing that jumps out at me is the concept of the Lord being the Rock. He’s not dirt or sand. He’s not water. God is a solid rock and firm foundation. In life, so many things can shift and change in the blink of an eye, but God remains the same in good and difficult times. He is solid and true.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

God is speaking these words to Joshua, but they apply to us just as much. As we trust in God, we can rest assured He will be with us everywhere we go — even in a day of trouble. 

Just remembering this gives me strength and courage. It helps me not be as afraid or discouraged. Bible verses about leaning on God can also remind us we are never alone, which is something we need to hear when life is difficult.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

When I was a child, I trusted my parents to meet my needs. I was blessed to never worry about what I’d have to eat or whether I’d have clean clothes to wear. 

That’s the same sort of trust I strive to have in God. My desire is to be trusting God so completely that when something goes sideways, I don’t have to worry and can relax in knowing that He’s got it covered.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Trusting in God can fill us with joy and peace. It can give us hope beyond what even makes sense. God has given us His Holy Spirit to fill us and dwell in us. 

During times that we are struggling to trust in God, we can ask for help and the Holy Spirit can fill us up with strength and peace not our own. I’m so thankful for that!

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“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.'”

John 14:1 (NIV)

Jesus is speaking here. He’s just told His followers of trouble to come and that He will soon be leaving them. They’re distressed and worried. They’re afraid. 

I’ve felt that way. I’ve gotten news that left me shaken and unsure. I didn’t know what the future would look like. 

But these words from Jesus remind me that I don’t need to have a troubled heart. I just need to believe.

In the proper time, I will see every good thing God has for me. That may be on earth or in heaven or, most likely, both.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.”

Psalm 118:8 (NIV)

In my humanity, I can often be tempted to trust in other people when things go wrong. 

For example, dealing with various health struggles through the years have led me down a path of beginning to trust in doctors or treatments. I had to learn to make sure I was trusting in God instead.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

Things change. People change. Life changes. But, Jesus remains steadfast and true. He is the same and we can trust in Him always because He never changes. 

I will never forget one of the lowest points in my life. I questioned God’s plan and purpose. Honestly, I questioned God’s love. Nothing made sense. 

My world was completely upside down, and I truly didn’t know how I’d ever endure and make it through to the other side. I spent that Sunday morning at church too overwhelmed to even sing the praise and worship songs. 

My mind wandered throughout much of the sermon. But my eyes saw the cross at the front of the church. 

And God gently reminded me that I didn’t need all the answers. I just needed to trust that He is ever faithful and true. The only thing I needed to know is that Jesus loved me so much He died for me. I could cling to that when all else failed me. 

That is the God we serve — One who is steadfast, true, unchanging and full of love for each of us.

Favorite Bible verses about faith and trust

As we are continually learning to lean on God, we also need to have Scripture references that encourage us in our faith and trust in God. Though I’ve been a Christian for decades, I still have times of wavering faith and trust. I have never turned my back on God.

However, in hard times I have wondered how much I could truly trust Him. I’ve questioned whether my faith was strong enough.

And each time, I learned that I can trust Him completely, because while I may change and struggle, God’s character remains the same. 

I can ask God for help with strengthening my faith when it starts getting shaky. If I can turn my eyes to look at Him instead of looking around me, my faith and trust are made stronger. 

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

I love this reminder of what just a teeny, tiny amount of faith can do! Have you seen a mustard seed? They are 0.1 inch in diameter! That’s tiny. 

Jesus is telling us here that even if our faith is small, it is still powerful. Can our faith be big? Of course! But even when it isn’t, it is still powerful. 

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“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

struggle with confidence in myself. And sometimes that can influence the confidence I have in God. 

For a little while, I can slip into a negative attitude like, “I know God can fix this, but I don’t think He will.” I don’t usually utter those words aloud, but God hears them in my heart. 

This verse, though, convicts my heart. Faith is the assurance of things of we cannot see and being confident in the God we serve. 

I can’t be confident in myself and that I’ll always come out on top, but I can be confident God knows what He’s doing and will come out on top. I am assured and can be hopeful that no matter what life brings, God is there with me. What better description of faith is there?!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Faith and trust really do go hand-in-hand with leaning on God. If we have faith in God and Who He is, then we can trust He will always be with us. 

Not only does this verse remind us we can have faith and trust in God, but it also tells us God is a God of hope. Trusting in Him will bring us joy and peace. 

And, finally, it reminds us that the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts to overflowing with hope and the joy of the Lord.

“‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”

Mark 10:52 (NIV)

This is one example of many in the New Testament where Jesus healed someone based on their faith. They truly believed in Him and His power. 

He sees the desires of your heart and knows your faith. Does this mean we will always get what we want? No. Does it mean we will always be healed on earth? Also, no. 

But it does mean that God sees you and will reward your faith. It also means our faith is about following Jesus. 

Instead of running off to live his life in a way he’d only previously imagined, the former blind man immediately followed Jesus. He knew where his blessing and healing had come from. 

We, too, know where our blessings and evert good gift come from and can put our faith in Him!

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.”

Psalm 119:30 (NIV)

Faithfulness is a way of life we can choose. We choose faith even when our faith is shaken and wavering. 

Sometimes when we go through the acts of faithfulness, it grows our faith. I have had times when my heart just wasn’t into worshipping God. 

Yet, I found myself drawn along in worship with other believers and before I knew it, God blessed my heart and encouraged me. Living the life we know God has called us lead will draw us closer to Him, even when we are resistant or out of sorts.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Romans 10:17 (NIV)

I’ve been going to church my entire life. I cannot begin to tell you ever sermon I’ve heard preached or Sunday School lesson I’ve sat through. But, they have all impacted me. They have served to grow and strengthen my faith. 

This verse plainly tells us that faith comes from hearing the message, which is the word of Christ. Keep on reading God’s Word, meeting with His people and listening to music that focuses on Him to keep your faith in tact. 

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“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

The peace in this verse is like that talked about in Philippians 4:7. It is God’s peace that is beyond our understanding. 

When we trust in God, no matter how dire the circumstance is, He can give us peace that doesn’t make any sense. He can bring us comfort and assurance through every moment. 

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 9:10 (NIV)

This is a good verse to remember for those times you feel like giving up. I love the reminder to trust in God and in HIs name because He has never left me. 

The good news is we only have to call on the name of the Lord and He will be right there in the midst of any storm. 

Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past helps me have faith and trust in Him even more in the present.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalms 56:3-4 (NIV)

My all-time favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10, which reminds me that God is always with me and I don’t have to be afraid. 

These verses takes that even a step further. Not only can we trust in God when we’re afraid and have Him give us peace, but we can rest assured there is nothing of eternal consequence others can do to us. God is upholding us with His righteous right hand.

We sometimes need to hear the perspective that God is so much bigger than the hard times we go through.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trusting in God looks like letting go of trying to make sense of things. If we are leaning on His understanding, then we are not leaning on our own. 

Faith, trust and leaning on God often don’t make a lot of logical sense. As we choose to follow God, we can decide He knows what He’s doing more than we can understand. 

Many times later on we are able to look back and see why He did things that didn’t make sense at the time.

Music for leaning on God

When we are struggling with our faith and trust in God, remembering His past faithfulness is helpful. One lesson I have learned is God won’t ever leave me hanging. He has proven time and again that He’s right there with me every step of the way. 

A couple of songs have really spoken this message to me. The first is “Yes He Can” by Cain. I love the message and reminder from this trio that God has always been there in the past and will be now.

Another song that speaks to my heart in so many ways is Bethel Music’s “Goodness of God.” It reminds us how God has always been faithful and so good. It’s one of my favorite songs!

Finally, Andrew Peterson has a song called “Faith to Be Strong” that has been out since 2000 and still inspires and uplifts me. I remember this song really touching my heart after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

Encouragement to lean on God in faith

Sometimes more than anything, we just need to ask God for faith. Our Heavenly Father knows our faith and trust in Him can waver. He is ready to help us. It’s OK to be honest with Him about our feelings and ask for help.

Learning to lean on God doesn’t always come naturally or easy to us. We like to be independent and make our own way.

But, these Bible verses about leaning on God and trusting in Him remind us that we don’t have to go alone through difficult times. We can confidently lean into and on the God of the universe who loves us so completely.

Find more posts to encourage your faith walk:

Encouragement for when you feel like you’re failing God

When your faith is shaken

Bible verses for when you feel like giving up

Bible verses about gratitude

The best Psalms for anxiety

Boy mom vs girl mom: How they’re different and the same

What happens when you’re a both mom?

I’ve seen many posts from other moms on social media and elsewhere talking about being a boy mom or a girl mom. But, that leaves me wondering, where do those of us with both fit?

I’d rather not think necessarily of it being boy mom vs girl mom. We have a lot of common ground whether we’re moms of boys, moms of girls or moms of both! At the end of the day, just because our children may be a different gender, we are all still moms and the struggle and blessings are real!

Girl mom

I was a girl mom first, because my daughter is my oldest. She is the one who broke me in as a mom. Motherhood is incredibly awesome, but it can also knock you right off your feet as suddenly you become irrelevant in your own life. Everything revolves around a tiny person who is demanding and dependent on you for survival. And you love that tiny person more fiercely than you’ve ever loved anything before. It’s exhilarating and exhausting!

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Finding out I was having a little girl was exciting. I wasn’t someone who had a strong desire for either gender. I was just excited to be growing our family. Once we knew we were having a girl, we did some girlie shopping. I found a beautiful pink outfit to bring her home in.

Though we did our best to not place them upon her, my daughter fulfilled gender stereotypes as a young girl.

My daughter is full-fledged girl. From the beginning she’s enjoyed things that are pink and sparkly. She loved baby dolls more than any other toy. She’d whip up food in her play kitchen. My sweet girl enjoyed tea parties and princesses.

While she took her time with more physical skills, her verbal skills came early. 

From the beginning, I had fun dressing her up in adorable outfits for baby girls. And now that she’s older, she has fun dressing herself up in adorable outfits. She has girl energy in being able to sit and do one task quietly for a long time. That was true by the time she was a preschooler and has only gotten more true as she’s getting older.

Boy mom

My baby boy arrived just over three years after my daughter. From the beginning, one of the major differences was his temperament. He was more demanding. 

While my daughter was pretty even-keeled, my son was happy or not happy. He didn’t have much in between. Not much has changed even now that he is older.

As the mom of a boy, I found adorable boy clothes. There were tiny suits and tiny jeans. His winter coat when he was 2 was a small bomber jacket. His nursery was decorated with superheroes. He also talked early, but he was also more physical earlier than our daughter. 

We learned early on that our son was a ball of little boy energy. Thinking back now, a few years later, I hardly remember him walking. He was one of those toddler boys who seemed to go from crawling to running almost overnight. Even without seeing weapons, he could pick up random toys and make them something to fight with.

He didn’t have as much patience for sitting still for activities like coloring. He liked to go-go-go. Even now at nearly 11, he most likes to do something while he is listening to our book being read. Sometimes he snuggles, but other times, he just quietly moves around his toys or pets the pup.

Getting the jokes

Lots of posts and comments about being a boy mom vs girl mom are about funny truths of raising girls or boys. A mom of girls will joke about glitter getting everywhere. It does. I have had glitter in the lint trap of my dryer more often than not over the past decade.

Fellow boy moms talk about body parts, pee on the bathroom floors and gross jokes. Those things happen. My son cracks up at anything related to flatulence and so on.

I get it. Boys and girls both tend to have their own qualities. Some of them seldom overlap. And they are often confusing to the other gender. 

For example, my children were recently going to spend the day with my parents. My son pulled on clean clothes from his drawer without paying too much attention to them. My daughter labored over her decision of what to wear and how to style her hair.

I heard my son say to her, “It doesn’t matter what you wear. We’re just going to Lolly’s!” (They call my mom Lolly.) I could only think, “Bless his heart. He doesn’t understand how things work for some girls.”

Being a both mom

I don’t begrudge solely girl moms and solely boy moms their role. And I don’t feel like they are leaving me out in any way. But I do want to give a shout-out to my fellow both moms. 

We get the best and worst of both genders. We get the sweet snuggles and silly fart jokes from the boys. Our girls give us warm hugs and commentary on our fashion choices. Both moms get to do all the stuff. We get the girlie things and the boy things. We get a mix of both. And our kids learn from each other. Having grown up in a family where I only had an older brother, I feel like I learned more about how boys behave than I would have if he’d have been a sister. I think the same is true for my own two children. Younger brothers teach their older sisters about boy stuff and vice versa.

Because as both moms, we also have an easy excuse to encourage our kids to try things that they wouldn’t be attracted to otherwise. My son has played with dolls. My daughter has played with matchbox cars. They have access to toys and activities that maybe are different than what they would be drawn to. I like that!

We both moms also have to help our kids understand each other. Not only are they different ages (unless you have multiples) who can be in different phases , they are also different genders. There are times my kids just completely don’t understand where the other one is coming from. 

Boy mom vs girl mom quote

My daughter doesn’t understand her brother’s anger and his struggle to not act it out physically. My son doesn’t understand his sister’s desire to accessorize. As family members, we work together to better understand each other.

Of course these things happen for girls moms and boy moms. Because even as the same gender, each kiddo and person is different. I would daresay, though, that we both moms have that happen even more because of the gender difference.

The joy of mom 

In the end, it doesn’t really matter who is a girl mom, a boy mom or a both mom. We are all just moms, doing our best to be a better parent. 

Our journeys aren’t identical, because we all have our own challenges. But we are all striving to raise our children well. Each day we struggle through homework and meals. We remind kids to bathe and form a special bond with each of our children. 

We’re all wondering if we’re messing up our kids. Moms everywhere doubt their abilities and choices. We worry if our kids are OK and fret over whether we’re spending time doing the right things with them. We are doing the best we can in the midst of the chaos and exhaustion.

Whether you’re a girl mom, boy mom or both mom, you’re doing well, mama. The best thing is you get to do the rewarding, exhausting and precious job of a parent. You’re taking on motherhood like a boss. 

Encouragement for when you feel like you’re failing God

Even though I fail God, He doesn’t fail me! (Plus 10 Bible verses for when we fail God)

A couple of weeks ago, my son had a difficult spelling list. As soon as I saw the list of words on Monday as we worked on assignments, I knew it was going to be rough. My 8-year-old has some additional challenges that make spelling a very difficult subject for him, to say the least.

We worked on those words all week. One day, we sang them. Another day, he wrote them. We played assigned games with them. As we worked on other spelling assignments, we repeated the spelling out loud. 

I saw my son trying. He did his very best as he took the test. But then his face fell when his grade wasn’t what he wanted it to be.

As a mom, my heart breaks when things like this happens. We moms don’t like for our kids to have struggles and heartache. It hurts us deeply.

Failing God Pinterest image 3

I spoke with my son and reminded him that no matter the score on his spelling test that day, I was proud of him. I knew how hard he’d worked. I saw him do his best and that’s all I can ever ask of him. His best was enough. 

My feelings of spiritual failure

Later, as I was thinking about the day, I thought about all the times God has seen me struggle. I’ve worked on life lessons and done my best and still come up short. I put my faith into practice and then stumble right over it, yet again. In my head, I think of God as a stern Father, unpleased with me. 

But, I realized He is like I was with my son. I am His beloved child. He wants what is best for me. My Father wants me to try and to work. He wants me to trust Him in hard times when I can’t handle things. 

However, when I fall short and fail, He doesn’t get upset. His heart aches because He sees my potential. Maybe He has a slight smile because He knows what I’m going to learn from that failure. He doesn’t want to heap on more chastisement. God loves me and supports me every single step of the way.

I’d never be stern with my son about something I knew he had worked hard on and done his best. How much more is God the same way with us if only we trust Him and relax in the knowledge of what His is doing! God’s plan is always best, even when we go through times of failure. He will hold us and comfort us when we fall short. I am so thankful for God’s grace.

Bible verses for when we fail

When I feel like I fail God, I not only have this picture in my mind of Him treating me like I do my children when they fail, I also have God’s Word to remind me that He is ever faithful and true. The good news is these five Bible verses remind us of Who God always is — even when we fail and fall short.

Failing God Bible verse image 1

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:26 (NIV)

This verse reminds me that I’m human and I’m going to struggle with feelings of failure and failing God, but He will give me His strength if I just trust in Him. When I’m facing hard things, God sends His Holy Spirit to encourage me and help me beyond my own power and own understanding.

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” 

Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)

I love this verse, because it reminds me to keep going, even when I fail God. With Him I have the strength and ability to try and try again — no matter what my current situation is. 

When I encounter spiritual battles that knock me down, this verse reminds me that in the power of Jesus’ name, I can rise again and not be defeated.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

This is my all-time favorite Bible verse. I love it for the promise God makes to strengthen and uphold us, even when we do fail. And I love it for the reminder that I don’t need to fear, because I struggle with that.

So often during my quiet time, God has brought this verse to mind to remind me of God’s power and peace when I have needed it most. Many times I found rest and peace in the image of myself being held in God’s hand.

Failing God Bible verse image 3

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Just like I won’t ever give up on my children when they try and fail, never will God give up on us. As children of God, we can trust that God’s work is always ongoing in our lives — even when when experience a feeling of failure.

“The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.”

Psalm 145:14 (NIV)

Even when I get so overwhelmed and off-track that I fall flat on my face, God is right there with me to put me back together. 

I love that the Word of God reminds us God is faithful and full of grace for when we mess up. Our Father knows that by giving us free will, we aren’t going to always get things right. And in the perfectness of God’s ways, He has planned for those failures.

Bible verses to remind us of God’s faithfulness

Going right along with being able to trust that God won’t leave us when we fail, we must also remember God’s faithfulness. Even when I fail God, He remains steadfast and true. In big things and small things, God’s will and plan is always perfect.

“Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
You established the earth, and it endures.” 

Psalm 119:90 (NIV)

While I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness to me, I am even more so for His faithfulness to my children. And this verse reminds us that God is faithful through ALL generations. 

Knowing that Jesus Christ came to earth as the Son of God to die for my sins and those of all generations to follow me encourages me.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised is faithful.” 

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

This verse reminds me that I can hold onto hope no matter the situation because God is always faithful. He is even faithful when He says “no” to what I ask, because not for one minute does the spirit of God leave me! God’s eyes see the big picture to know what is truly best for me more than I ever could.

Failing God Bible verse image 2

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” 

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

These words come from Moses as he was telling the Israelites that God was going to clear a path for them and bring them through to the Promised Land. While I’m not wandering in the desert facing armies, I am facing battles in my life and trust fully that God will be with me every step of the way until I reach the heavenly Promised Land.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

God is always faithful and nothing can come between us and His love! Sometimes when we are in a spiritual battle, we can feel alone and even abandoned by God. But the Bible reminds us nothing can separate us from our Father!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.” 

Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)

This verse I picked to end with, because I love the reminder that each day is a new day. God’s love never fails me, even when I fail Him. And even though I might have failed today, tomorrow is a new day when I get to try again!

Failing God isn’t the end

No matter where you are or the battle in which you are engaged, rest in the assurance of God’s forgiveness and goodness if we only ask for it. He will come running to meet us.

And trust that God has good things in store for you, even when you are at your lowest point. I have seen Him work in situations I thought would break me. I cling to that when I’m faced with struggles and hard times again. My history of God’s love and faithfulness encourages me to keep going and trusting in the power of Jesus’ name through it all. 

God is good all the time!

Find more encouragement for your Christian life:

When your faith is shaken

Bible verses for when you feel like giving up

Finding hope in the waiting

God’s promises for hard times

You are not forgotten

Finding the strength to get through hard times

Don’t miss these Scripture cards of encouraging Bible verses to uplift you:

Encouraging Bible verses for when you feel like you're failing God

Check it out on YouTube:

How to be a more organized mom with free printables

16 Practical tips plus free organized mom printables

Through my years as a mama, I’ve learned a few things about how to be an organized mom. I thought I was good at being organized before I had babies. But after my first child was born in 2009, I learned how real mom brain is. Keeping track of what needs to be done and deadlines when you’re constantly interrupted and sleep deprived is difficult!

I’m less sleep deprived nowadays; however, I still need strategies to keep organized and on top of everything in our lives. From work to chores to school assignments to daily tasks and beyond, being an organized mom helps me not drop the ball too often. It still happens sometimes (I’m far from perfect!), but these easy tips help keep me sane and organized. 

We all have good intentions and plans to be a more organized mom, but it’s easy to get distracted. Using some organized mom printables like the ones you’ll find here, will help you stay on track and have more family time whether you’re a working mom outside or inside of the home! 

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

1. Set and label alarms on your phone.

I have joked with my family that I live my life by alarms. It’s 100% the truth! Alarms are part of my daily routine.

Right now, for example, I’m working on this post until my next alarm goes off and I stop to pick up my kids from school. Earlier today, I kept myself on track with doing loads of laundry by setting timers for switching from the washer to the dryer.

I use alarms liberally. (Interestingly enough, I don’t use my phone alarm for waking up in the morning. I prefer an alarm clock for that!) If we have somewhere to be, I have an alarm set for it. I set the alarm for five minutes before I need to leave if I’m just getting myself ready and out the door. If I’m getting everyone out the door, I usually go for about 10 minutes before we need to leave.

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Labeling alarms is a life saver as well. I have labeled them as things like “Leave for the doctor,” “School pick up,” “L. appointment” and so on. Nothing fancy, but there’s no doubt in my mind what the alarm is for. They keep me organized and from scrambling around, missing things or being late. 

Another bonus is setting alarms lets me relax and not stress about checking the time. I don’t need to worry that I’ll miss doing things at specific times, because I have alarms for that!

2. Use your phone’s calendar for reminders and to-do items.

Since I pretty much always have my phone with or near me, I utilize it to my advantage. You can totally get apps for to-do lists, but I use my calendar. Everything is in one place. I have some things recurring. Like every Thursday morning at 7 a.m., I have an “event” pop up to remind me that we need to take out the trash. Daily at 7 p.m., I have an event reminder set to take my medicine.

While I use my digital calendar (which is synced with my email account) for actual appointments, I also use it for a variety of reminders. It makes me a more organized mom. 

For example, if I’m getting ready for bed and remember I need to email my son’s teacher the next day about bringing in cupcakes for his upcoming birthday, I set a reminder on my phone’s calendar for the next morning at 9 a.m. when I know I’ll be sitting at my desk. And I’m able to not keep worrying about it in fear of forgetting.

I even use calendar items to remind me of more personal things as a busy mom. In the last few months, I have set appointments on my calendar to remind me to pray for a church member in a ministry meeting, reach out to a friend to check in and send a thank you card for a gift.

I also create calendar events to follow up with people for work and personal reasons. Often when I contact people for work, I don’t hear from them and need to follow up. I set calendar events to remind me to do so. Other times I may need to follow up with someone at my children’s school about something they need. 

3. Don’t dismiss old school tools.

I love my notebook and planner. A lot of what I put in my phone’s calendar goes into my paper planner as well. Having the visual list of things to do helps me stay on task. I am a fan of lists and use them all the time. All. The. Time. Because I can beat myself up for things being left undone on my daily list, I try to plan by the week and break it down from there.

I’ve found that having a to-do list for the week to prioritize all the big tasks what I must do and what I need to do helps. Then I have a daily to-do list with all the minute tasks I need to do.

Like most moms, I wear a variety of hats. Having my own business and working for multiple clients and publications means I can often have a lot to juggle. My lists keep me sane.

One of my favorite organized moms printables is The Christian Woman Life Planner. I put it together with a variety of options to help you and me both stay organized! Each page has a Bible verse to encourage and uplift you as you go. Use the PDF files digitally or in hard copy.

Honestly, this mini-planner has helped me stay organized and focused on my tasks for each day. I can sometimes get distracted when I think of another task that needs to be done while I’m in the middle of a first task.

Now I have everything prioritized for the day at a glance and just write down the other task to be done while finishing what needs to be done! With a daily planner, weekly schedule, monthly calendar, yearly planner and more, it helps moms of busy families stay organized!

Check out The Christian Woman's Life Planner on Etsy

4. Post a family calendar.

I keep a calendar on the side of our fridge that lists main activities for our family. It’s an easy way for any of us to get an overview of what’s going on. If my kids have activities, doctor’s appointments or meetings, I write them on the fridge calendar. Days out of school are also marked. Each morning as I mark an “X” on the day before, I can easily see what the day has in store.

Hands-down, my all-time favorite family calendar is a weekly calendar that is an editable PDF. It incorporates a weekly meal planner along with family schedules and notes. I use this every single week!

Using calendar printables works best for my family in planning weekly meals and schedules. I’ve seen the Pinterest images of giant white boards that are color-coded. Honestly, I find that overwhelming. (If you don’t, go for it!) 

Download a free weekly planner

5. Don’t put off tasks that don’t take long to do.

One of my best cleaning tips comes in handy in areas of my life beyond household chores. My philosophy is that if a task takes less than two minutes to do it, then I complete it right away rather than let it stew. If I need to make a phone call to schedule a teeth cleaning for my kids, I do it instead of adding it to my to-do list. When my kids get home from school, we immediately take care of their lunchboxes and containers. 

Being an organized mom is being on top of things. Doing little things in the moment can save so much time and stress in the long run. Sometimes I ask myself if future me would thank me for the choice I made. Along with how long a task takes, it’s a great way to assess whether I need to get to work on chaotic days and calm days alike!

For this reason, organized mom printables like this cleaning checklist can help you stay on top of things at home.

Check out the Editable Cleaning Checklist on Etsy

6. Find a meal planning solution that works for you.

You can find lots of meal planning solutions. Figure out what works best for you and your family and go with it. Whether you’re planning a meal for every single day, a theme for certain nights of the week, a list of foods on-hand or a delivered weekly meal kit, use it! 

I’ve tried a variety of meal planners and styles. What has worked best for our family for the past year is sitting down on the weekend and making a weekly meal plan and grocery list for the next week. Then I order groceries for the week from my shopping list and pick them up. I post the meal plan on the weekly calendar on the fridge so any family member can easily check what’s planned for dinner along with what activities are going on.

Another way to meal plan is through using meal kit delivery services. Whenever we do them, I get two or three meals from per week, but that helps me figure out the plan more easily for the rest of the week.

We are actually eating at home even more as a result. Win-win and a way to more easily justify any extra cost of the meal kit delivery service.

Don’t miss one of the fabulous organized moms printables to help you with meal planning for free!

Free weekly meal planner

7. Prepare ahead of time.

I’m not a natural-born procrastinator. I think it’s my anxiety talking, but I don’t generally like to put off tasks until the last minute. Preparing for even regular things ahead of time can help you be more organized and take less time. 

For example, I pack lunches for my kids the night before. (And, yes, they often help!) I usually plan one hot lunch day per week and heat up the hot food in the morning, but I pack sides the night before. It keeps me sane and makes for easier mornings. It also reduces my risk to forget something — like sending an applesauce cup without a spoon. 

Before my kids could pick out their own clothes, I laid out their clothes each evening so they were ready to go in the morning. When I’m planning a birthday party for my kids, I figure out what we’ll need a few weeks ahead of time and start purchasing things. It gives me time to find the items I want, but also I don’t have to worry if something keeps me busy just before the party.  

8. Have designated spots for daily use to-go items — and use them!

Losing track of things adds stress and chaos — the opposite of organization! Having designated spots for daily-use items is a must. 

I’m all about simple. We don’t have a complex system in place for things. I love the photos of organized mudrooms with lockers or cubbies for each child to hang backpacks and coats. But that’s not practical for us. (If it is for you, go for it!)

Instead, we have a bench with a coat rack attached and a shoe holder underneath. The kids know that’s where their coats and shoes go at the end of the day. Their backpacks go on a door hanger next to it. We also have cords set up on the countertop just beside this area where they charge their school iPads. So when morning comes and we’re rushing out the door, everything everyone needs is in one spot. 

It makes all of our lives easier! We’ve also found the perfect time for the kids to do homework is usually right after they have a snack when they get home from school. And when homework is finished, I require the kiddos to put it back in their backpack immediately so it doesn’t get forgotten.

We also have designated spots for car keys, my purse, hats, sunglasses and even chewing gum! But, we are still human. Sometimes things end up in the wrong areas or forgotten. At least 97% of the time, though, things are where they belong and we are more organized as a result.

9. Ask for help without feeling guilty.

A couple of months ago, my oldest daughter put in a load of clothes to wash for her and her brother. She saw they were piled up. I meant to do laundry for them the day before and got busy. I felt a nudge of guilt that my daughter was doing laundry and I was slacking. 

Then I squashed that guilt right down. First, my 14-year-old is capable of doing laundry. She saw it needed done and did it. I should be celebrating that! Second, she’s learning responsibility. Third, I truly can’t do everything all the time.

Being an organized mom doesn’t mean that we do it all ourselves all the time. It’s OK to let go and ask for help. You can be organized and delegate. 

In fact, I’d daresay delegating allows you to be even more organized because multiple people accomplish more tasks quicker. So, ask for help. Kids can help with so many chores from packing part or all of their lunches, folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, helping a younger sibling with homework, putting away laundry and so much more. Use their help to teach them responsibility, finish quicker and enjoy more fun time together!

And don’t forget your spouse. I’ve learned in 24 years of marriage, that my husband doesn’t always know what needs to be done. Instead of getting irritated with him, I tell him what I need him to do. Ask for help and ditch the guilt! 

10. Get yourself ready first or last, whichever works best for your family.

I don’t like being late or doing things in a rush. It stresses me out! Getting our family ready and out the door smoothly requires some planning and organizing. 

Start with figuring out whether you do better getting ready first or last. If we are all going somewhere at the same time, I often do best to get ready first. Then I can easier help with whatever tasks come up. Invariably someone will need help or have questions while getting ready. When my children were younger and needed more (or complete) help with getting ready, having myself ready first just made life easier.

When we don’t have to be somewhere all at the same time, I usually get ready last. For instance, on school mornings, my husband drives the kids to school. I get up and do all the organizing tasks like make sure everyone has breakfast, stays on track getting ready, finalize lunchboxes, fill backpacks and whatever else needs done. Then after the kids leave, I eat breakfast and get myself ready. I could get up earlier and get ready first (and I’ve done so), but this way works best right now.

If you feel like you are always rushing to get yourself put together to get out the door, try getting ready first. Or if you are able to get everyone organized and on their way before you have to get ready, do that. Figure out what works best for you and your family and go with it. It may even change based on the day, and that’s OK!

11. Stick to daily routines and schedules.

One of my favorite ways to be an organized mom is by using routines and schedules to my advantage. We have some tasks so much part of our routine that we just do them without thinking any more and it really does make life easier. Like keeping backpacks by our shoes or doing homework right after school. On and on the list goes. Our routines and schedules keep us on top of things and ends up with less nagging and chaos in the end.

I don’t find myself scrambling around to make sure everyone has their homework in their backpacks if I know they put it in there the evening before. Being an organized mom definitely leads to less chaos. Routines and schedules help with that so much.

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12. Sort school papers and mail immediately to save or toss.

I’ve totally lost track of paperwork that got lost in the shuffle. With schoolwork coming home plus mail and random other things, it’s easy for paperwork to pile up. I have learned the best way to avoid that is to immediately deal with said paperwork as soon as my hand touches it. Dealing with a little bit at a time is much easier than dealing with a heaping stack!

When we bring in the mail, I look at it right away and toss any junk mail. I put things I need to deal with on my desk to file or deal with accordingly from there. 

When my kids bring home papers and/or art projects from school, I immediately look through them. I sign forms and put them back in backpacks right away. I look over assignments, ask any questions I have and then toss or keep them. 

For school assignments or projects I want to keep, I use an easy filing system to organize them per school year. I have a file folder for each child for each school year to keep things. 

13. Prioritize.

I mentioned in part one of how to be an organized mom that I love lists. I highly recommend lists. One way I use lists is to prioritize what I need to do. 

While my daily planner and calendar are great for writing down items, I found that using a list with daily top priorities and weekly must-do tasks helps most.  

(Check out The Christian Woman Life Planner to download and print your own lists that will help you prioritize your daily, weekly and monthly tasks!)

As someone who works from home, I’ve found that organizing my daily plan for work and home into one page works best for me. That might be different for you.

All of that said, don’t forget what your overall priorities in life are. While I have lists of tasks to be done, my faith and family are my biggest priorities. If I need to leave tasks undone in order to be there for a loved one, then so be it. Never have I heard of anyone regretting on their death bed that they didn’t complete all their to-do lists each day.

14. Make a daily to-do list.

More about lists! They really do help me be an organized mom. A daily to-do list is a must, I think, when it comes to organization. One of the new resources I’ve been using is an overall project list for both home and work, a weekly overview with time blocks and then a daily schedule with goals and a space for home tasks as well as work one. 

I organize what I’m working on in time blocks for each day. From there, I plan my whole day in increments to stay focused on what needs to be completed. It makes such a difference!

Seeing your to-do items in writing helps you focus. Whether you write them down on paper or make the list digitally, give a daily to-do list a try. It keeps you from forgetting what you need to do.

These two different options of organized mom printables will make your life easier. Grab one for free or head to Etsy to get the full set!

A free simple daily planner
A simple weekly planner set on Etsy

15. Pick a time to organize yourself for the week.

At the beginning of each week, I look over the upcoming schedule and note what needs done. For me, Sunday evenings or Monday mornings work best. 

Find the time that works best for you to take a few minutes and prepare yourself mentally for the week. Look at appointments coming up. Figure out any logistics you need to deal with. Add items to your daily and/or weekly to-do lists. Even just five minutes of thinking and planning ahead can make a big difference to your organization.

I mix both work and personal tasks in this weekly prep time, but you might need separate times for each. Figure out what works best for you and go with it. Set reminders if certain laundry needs done before your kids’ next game. Or put a big meeting at work on your calendar with prep time scheduled beforehand. Organize yourself, including some downtime. We all need it!

16. Give yourself some grace.

Be kind to yourself. Not every day is going to be great. You’re not a perfect mom or a perfectly organized mom. Do your best, but don’t beat yourself up when you fall short. Just learn from it and move on. 

I’ll never forget the time in PreK when I missed my son’s show-and-tell day. We were scheduled to bring in the snack, and he could bring in something to show off. I totally forgot it because of some other things going on. I felt awful.

However, he doesn’t even remember that happening. So many things I beat myself up for at the time are not that big of a deal in the long run. At the end of the day, what matters most is doing my best and making good memories with my family. If I can accomplish both of those things, I call that success! 

Fun kid-friendly New Year’s Eve activities for families

The best NYE activities for families to ring in the new year

Growing up, my family would always watch the ball drop together. That was back in the days of Dick Clark. We often got together with extended family and had our our New Year’s Eve celebration.

Through the years our New Year’s Eve celebration evolved as we kids grew up. Now I have children of my own and have come up with some New Year’s Eve traditions that work for us.

Whether you have older children or younger children, I’ve got some NYE activities for families you’re going to love!

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

NYE Activities for families with younger kids

Before we talk about this idea, start with giving yourself grace for whatever stage of parenting you’re in right now. When my children were babies and toddlers, we didn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve in much of any way. In fact, I was lucky to even be awake at midnight!

Don’t put pressure on yourself to have a memorable New Year’s Eve party when you’ve got littles. Know that you will have plenty of family time to come with the kids are older and you’ll be able to enjoy it much more.

Noon Year’s Eve

Once your children are past the toddler stage, but still not in the stay-up-late stage, Noon Year’s Eve can be a great way to ring in the next year without messing up everyone’s schedule.

NYE Activities for Families Pinterest image 6

You can quite literally do a pseudo New Year’s Eve celebration at noon or pick another time and work with it. When my children were little, a few friends and I got our families together. We did some simple online research and discovered England would be ringing in the new year at the perfect time for our families to celebrate.

We found some creative ways to celebrate in British style from a different perspective. My artist friend made a large paper picture of Big Ben for the wall. We brought in snacks. Our entire family had a great time together. We played games, ate food and donned festive party hats for a New Year’s Eve countdown to midnight in London.

It worked so well, and our kids were all tucked into bed around their usual time that evening. Noon Year’s Eve is a great NYE activity for families with younger kids!

Focus on New Year’s Day

Another fun way to celebrate an upcoming year is by celebrating New Year’s Day. This is another one of those great ideas I pulled from my own family. Our whole family would also gather for dinner on New Year’s Day each year. In fact, it was such a tradition, I was quite a bit older before I realized not every family does this!

Before we had children, I continued this tradition and hosted New Year’s Day dinner at our house. Once we had children, I carried on this tradition for a few years. What better way is there to look forward to a new year than with those you love?

I took it a step further and added in an option for each of my family members to write down a prayer request for the year. I’d put them in an envelope that I sealed without looking at anyone’s request. Then I’d pray over the requests all year long. 

It was a whole family affair of focusing on God together. And it was an added bonus the next year for everyone to see their requests and reflect back over the past year as well.

NYE Activities for families with older kids

One of the fun things about kids getting older is their schedules are more flexible, and they can do more things. With kids who are 10 and 14, we’ve had a chance to figure out fun New Year’s Eve activities that work best for our whole family. 

Take some of these New Year’s Eve ideas and make them your own this year!

Eat good food

What’s a party without good food? Try some new delicious recipes! Snacky food tends to be the biggest hit for New Year’s Eve at my house. 

You can serve an assortment of appetizers, charcuterie with kid-friendly fare or even just sandwiches and chips. Another great option is to let your children help you decide what to have. Mine have surprised me by asking for food I never would have thought of.

One of the biggest hits we had one year included apples with caramel dip I bought at the store. Super easy, yummy and not too bad health-wise! Definitely plan for some evening snacking, too.

Play games

Games are a great way to have quality time as a family no matter what time of year. But, they work especially well on New Year’s Eve because you have a long time together for family connection.

We love everything from board games to role playing games to video games. We are a gaming family, in fact! Games are always part of our NYE celebrations.

Some fun games my entire family enjoys include the following:

And then a surprisingly great game my entire family has enjoyed for years is Toilet Trouble. This one works for toddlers to grandparents! It is simple but brings lots of laugh. Just keep a hand towel nearby!

Watch movies

Watching movies together as a family can be a special time to snuggle and relax. Finding something you all agree on might be challenging, so I suggest talking about it ahead of time. Or at least have a list of movies in mind that your family can pick from. 

Some of our recent family favorite movies that would work well as NYE activities for families include the following:

Watch the ball drop

Nothing is more quintessentially American New Year’s Eve than watching the ball drop in Times Square. One of my family’s fun ideas is to do this encamped in our bedroom. 

The first year, we did an extra fun option of making a fort out of blankets and putting glow sticks in balloons of different colors. Now, we inflate the air mattress for the kids in our room, and my husband and I get into bed.

We watch the ball drop and spend the last night of the year cozy together. At the stroke of midnight we wish each other happy new year; my husband and I exchange a kiss. Our kids then have the option to sleep in our room or retire to their own rooms. 

Usually our son stays in our room and our daughter heads to her own, but being all together in our room is one of the best places to be as we welcome a new year.

Pray your way into the new year

NYE Activities for Families Pinterest image 4

One tradition my husband grew up with was going to church on New Year’s Eve to ring in the year. Most churches (at least around us) no longer have Watchnight Services, but you can still spend time in prayer whether at midnight, before or after.

Pray together as a family. Ask for God’s blessings, guidance and protection for whatever the new year brings. 

Talk about New Year’s resolutions

My daughter and I are both planners. We actually do enjoy talking about New Year’s resolutions as a family and our goals for the coming year. For the most part, we try to avoid the word “resolutions” and replace it more with “goals.”

Thinking ahead for the new year always feels productive. The possibilities somehow seem much more endless heading into a new year!

Enjoy whatever NYE activities for families you pick

No matter what fun activities you pick for New Year’s Eve this year, enjoy the time together. It’s not going to be perfect. There will be squabbles or spills or people dozing off before midnight. 

However, this is your family right now. The end of the year and beginning of a new one marks how quickly time is passing. Our kids won’t always want to be with us for a New Year’s celebration. Embrace the messiness, craziness and everything this New Year’s Eve brings! 

The best Christmas gift ideas for 14-year-old girls 2023

Christmas ideas for 14-year-old girls Pinterest image 9

The ultimate list of gifts teenage girls will love!

Just a few years back, I was buying baby dolls and accessories for my daughter. But now, she’s a young teen and coming up with Christmas idea for a 14-year-old girl can be challenging!

So I’ve put together a list of the best gift ideas for your favorite teen girl. Whether you’re buying her a Christmas gift, a birthday gift or any any time gift, these great gift ideas will make your life easier.

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Portable speakers

If the teen girl you’re buying is a music lover, portable speakers are a great pick. She can easily listen to her music anywhere. As a mom, I also love this idea for letting my 14-year-old enjoy music without her headphones in order to better protect her ears.

This Anker Soundcore Bluetooth speaker is a great option for a basic portable speaker.

Christmas gift ideas for 14 year old girls: Anker portable speaker

For an even cooler portable speaker, check out this LFS Bluetooth speaker that changes through different colors with five different color-changing themes.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Light up portable speaker

Another fun gift she can rock out to her favorite artists with is this Retro Bluetooth speaker that comes in five different color options.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: retro Bluetooth speaker

One of the more unique presents for the music loving teen is this vinyl record player turntable with a built-in Bluetooth receiver. She can listen on vinyl and digitally depending on her mood!

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: record player

Water bottles

I mean, honestly, this probably includes everyone in their teen years, but finding creative gifts that will also be practical can really help your 14-year-old girl life her best life.

First up is staying hydrated. In order to do that, she needs a good, sturdy water bottle. My daughter takes hers everywhere. And I do mean everywhere! Water bottles are one of the best Christmas gifts that you can pretty much guarantee will get used!

This stainless steel vacuum insulated Zenbo 40-ounce tumbler has a handle and comes in a variety of colors. Plus it’s dishwasher safe, comes with its own straw and is leakproof!

Plain tumbler with a handle

Right now Stanley tumblers are one of the latest trends for teen girls. They are a bit more costly than other tumblers, but getting her one in white just might make her Christmas even merrier. (And I am adding this completely at the suggestion of my 14-year-old daughter, so you know it will be a hit!)

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Stanley tumbler in white

Anything that’s personalized is always a cool gift. This gorgeous water bottle with a screw-on lid lets you select the letter you want for your teen’s name.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: personalized water bottle

A great idea to help your teen stay motivated to stay hydrated is a water bottle like this 32-ounce one from Meitagie that encourages her to sip throughout the day and meet her intake goals.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: water bottle with motivational lines

A great addition to any water bottle gift is a set of stickers to help her personalize her water bottle in a fun way. Even better, they are a price point that works well for most budgets. Check out this set of 300 water bottle stickers for teen girls:

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: 300 water bottle stickers

Beauty products

Whether she likes to go with an all-natural look or is into adding some color, teen girls are going to be pretty pleased with beauty products. From skin care to makeup and beyond, these are some of the best gifts for 14-year-old girls.

(And, as a mom of a 14-year-old girl myself, I did pay attention for age appropriateness with these selections!)

Face masks

Face masks are a great way for teenagers to take care of their skin and relax at the same time. They are one of my daughter’s favorite things for taking care of herself and improve her mental health. Face masks are so relaxing and rejuvenating!

The Yes To Tomatoes detoxifying mud mask has been a favorite for my teen. It both takes care of her skin, including treating for acne, and relaxes her.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Detoxifying mud mask

This Bioré instant warming clay mask includes four single-use packets to help your teen girl cleanse and soothe her skin.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: warming clay mask

Paper face masks also make it onto the wish list of most teen girls. What’s nice about paper masks is they aren’t as messy! This Yes To Cotton Comforting paper mask is designed for ultra-sensitive and allergy-prone skin, so it will be gentle.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: paper face mask

This SpaLife Snow Buddies facial sheet mask 10-pack is a festive gift idea for your fave teen!

Body skin care

​While face masks are great for facial skin, body skin care is just as important. And teen girls are usually all about what smells good. The teenage years are definitely the time when many girls start experimenting with different beauty products. And that makes beauty products one of the top gifts for teen girls!

Let’s start with body scrub. If you live in colder weather areas, especially, this is an excellent gift choice. Tree Hut shea sugar scrub is one of my 14-year-old’s top picks!

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Tree Hut sugar scrub

This Dove body scrub that is brown sugar and coconut also would work well.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Dove body scrub brown sugar and coconut butter

Shower jelly is also a neat body skin care option, and this set of three Bella & Bear Tutti Frutti Shower jellies is pretty cool.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: shower jellies

Bath bombs help moisturize skin in a relaxing way. The only thing better than relaxing in the tub with a bath bomb is doing so with a cute bath bomb like in this set of 6 bath bombs that look like sweet treats.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: bath bombs

If baths aren’t her thing, then this set of 8 shower steamers aromatherapy from POPCHOSE is a good alternative.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: shower steamers

Lip care

Another one of the best Christmas gifts for 14-year-old girls is definitely lip care. Not only is lip care something she’ll enjoy, but it’s also small enough to be a great stocking stuffer.

If you want to get lip balm that works well to soothe and moisturize her lips without adding color, this 4-pack of Burt’s Bee Lip Balm works well.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Burt's Bees 4-pack of lip balm

With a bit of flavor to them, this eos lip balm variety 4-pack comes in seven varieties of flavors including Sweet Treats, Chill Vibes, Minty Cool and Super Fruit.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: eos variety pack lip balm

My teen girl is especially into lip oil right now. This NYX lip oil is vegan, shiny and tinted. It’s available in clear and in colors. My daughter is a fan of sheer pink.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: NYX Lip oil

Rounding out lip care is an option that has bit of color to it. This set of five NK hydrating lip gels come in various flavors and colors. None of the colors are dark and add just a hint of color. Plus they are priced super well!

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: nk lip gel


While makeup might be a hot topic for young teen girls, I’m including it on the list. For my 14-year-old girl, a bit of makeup is allowed on regular school days. Having additional makeup to play around with on the weekends, for special occasions or when her friends are over is a fun option.

Makeup kits can be a great way to let your teen practice and experiment with makeup. If she’s at all interested in makeup, any one of these makeup kits would be ideal!

First up is this simple all-in-one makeup kit with six color varieties and options. This is a terrific kit for a teen just trying out makeup. It’s priced low, includes application tools and offers neutral colors.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: all-in-one makeup kit

For the teen girl itching to experiment with more makeup colors, this Hot Sugar makeup kit is a starter cosmetic set that comes in its own travel case. The case comes in four different colors.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Hot Sugar makeup kit

A fun and colorful option is this set of 88 eyeshadow colors. It comes in a leather case with a mirror. 

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: 88 eye shadow colors with case

While a vanity mirror isn’t makeup, it certainly goes right along with makeup and a great Christmas gift for a 14-year-old girl. This lighted, portable vanity mirror has two, three and 10 times magnification.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: vanity mirror

Hair care

Another perfect gift for 14 year olds is hair care items. While she may be past the day of big hairbows, she’s certainly going to enjoy these sort of hair care items to pamper herself.

First up is claw clips. This set of 8 is a great choice for all hair types. With 14 different color sets and styles to pick from, you’re sure to find something she’ll like. My 14-year-old daughter picked these shades:

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: claw clips

Teen girls with long hair will appreciate and use this 3-pack of microfiber hair towel turbans. Of course a regular towel works, but these hair ones are even easier to use which is a good reason to grab a set. There are nine different color combinations available.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: hair towels

For girls with wavy or curly hair, consider a hair straightener. This Remington Shine Therapy flat iron is argan oil and keratin infused to be easiest on her hair. It comes in both a 1- and 2-inch option. 

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: hair straightener

Room decor

Teen girls get into making their personal space their own, so room decor can be great Christmas ideas for 14 year old girls. A few accents can make her room feel more special and personalized.


You don’t have to replace the lighting fixture in her bedroom to embrace some different lighting. From twinkle to neon to strobe lights, light up her Christmas with one of these great gift ideas.

Kick twinkle lights up a notch with this 17-foot string of LED twinkle lights with 50 photo clips. The lights have eight modes and a remote control.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: twinkle lights with photo clips

​These light-up letters would be a great accent in a teen girl bedroom. Priced at less than $10, they’re a great gift idea that fits into any budget.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Light up letters

If a boho aesthetic is what your teen girl loves, this light-up hanging photo display comes in nine color options and would be great in her room. It includes 30 wood clips for her to personalize it with her own photos.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Photo light display

The neon heart light is super fun and comes in four different colors.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: neon heart light

Strip lights are ideal for stringing along the ceiling and in corners. This 100-foot strand of strip lights syncs with music, has a remote and 28 modes. It’s available in other lengths as well.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: strip lights

For an option to light up the room without hanging anything, this sound activated disco ball strobe light fits the bill. It has seven modes and a remote control.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: disco ball strobe light

Cozy space

Anything that makes her space more cozy is a great Christmas gift idea for a 14-year-old girl. Give her somewhere she can snuggle up with a good book or gab session with her friends, and she’ll be happy.

(If you’re looking for a good book option to include with any of these gifts, my teen girl recommends “The Complete Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy Boxed Set.”)

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: The Complete Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy

This set of six throw pillows comes in a pink and green option to bring color and coziness to her bedroom.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: set of 6 throw pillows

Another throw pillow option is this flower pillow. It comes in six different color options to match the color of her room.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: shaped flower pillow

A cozy, fluffy rug works well for most teen girl rooms, whether the room is carpeted or not. This round fluffy rug has rubber backing, comes in three sizes and 15 color choices for less than $30.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: round rug

Nothing says cozy more than a soft, fleece blanket. Available in 15 colors and designs, this 50 x 60-inch throw for less than $20 is an excellent option.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: throw blanket

Toys aren’t going to show up on a wish list for a 14-year-old girl, but Squishmallows have their own special cool factor. They are great for snuggling up with. My teen daughter has a few that she keeps on her bed and often moves around the house with her.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Squishmallows

Wall art

Changing out the wall art in a room can give the space a whole new look without taking lots of money or time. Wall art is a great gift idea for teen girls. Find something she likes and go for it.

Get inspirational with this set of three wall art panels that say, “You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough.” That’s a message teen girls need daily! It’s available in three sizes and three color options.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Positive quote wall art

Though they don’t come framed, this set of 6 sage green art prints would look great in any girl’s room.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: sage green wall art

Another set of unframed prints is this set of nine retro prints that are 8 x 10 inches. They are so cute!

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: 9 groovy art prints

This three-panel set of light pink artwork is incredibly feminine and works for 14-year-olds girls. The images are 12 x 16 inches that are wrapped on canvas and ready to hang.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: ballerina wall art panels

A current trend is making collages of artwork. This set of 50 4×6 images is available in 10 different color palettes to match any room decor.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: photo collage

And I can’t make a list of Christmas gift ideas for 14-year-old girls and not include Taylor Swift. This set of six album cover posters that have Taylor’s signature on them would make any Swiftie happy. And at under $20, they’ll make your wallet happy as well!

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Taylor Swift album prints

Shoes and accessories

Rounding out our list of Christmas ideas for 14-year-old girls has to be shoes and accessories. Clothes shopping is tricky for multiple reasons from sizes to styles. But, there are a few basic shoe choices most teen girls would love. And accessories are always a great Christmas or birthday gift. Many of them also work well for stocking stuffers since they are small!


First up is classic white platform Crocs. Go for the lined choice to get her through colder weather months. While they come in other colors, white is certainly the latest fad for teen girls.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: white Crocs

A great add-on for the Crocs is a set of shoe decoration charms. This set of 50 has all sorts of options she can use to make her shoes her own. There is a second set of 50 and a cheaper set of 30 shoe charms available as well.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: shoe charms

Keep her tootsies warm with these fuzzy slippers. They are indoor-outdoor shoes available in six color options. My daughter picked tan as a favorite for teen girls, but you know your teen best!

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: fuzzy slippers


Bracelets are a great accessory for teen girls. For the Taylor Swift fans, this 12-piece set of album-inspired friendship bracelets would be a fabulous Christmas gift.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Taylor Swift friendship bracelets

With a variety of different color options, these sets of 12 stackable bracelets with five different color options are also a fun choice for teen girls.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Beaded bracelets

Necklaces are also a great gift for teen girls. These 12-piece necklace sets are available with four different options and will give her something to wear every day.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: 12-piece set of necklaces

Both my 14-year-old daughter and my 16-year-old niece are big fans of Kendra Scott necklaces. My daughter got the one below for her birthday in October and is in love with it. The necklace is 14k gold plated and available in 87 color options!

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Kendra Scott necklace

Finally, she’s got to have something to carry all her things in and mini backpacks are not only trendy but a great option.

My daughter has one she carries and loves. The one we got for her is no longer available, but it’s a lot like the Hayner mini backpack set below. This option is nice because it includes the mini backpack, shoulder bag and wallet. It’s available in 10 different colors.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: mini backpack set

Mini backpacks can also be a great way to showcase her fandoms. The Harry Potter mini backpack is pretty cool. And I personally have — and love, love, love! — the Disney Loungefly Beauty and the Beast mini backpack.

The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Harry Potter mini backpack
The best Christmas gift ideas for teen girls: Disney Loungefly Beauty and the Beast mini backpack

Don’t miss these other helpful Christmas gift lists:

The best Christmas gift ideas for mom friends

Funny gift ideas for co-workers: 25 clean gag gifts

Christmas gift ideas for people who are hard to shop for

15 Christmas gifts under $25 for almost everyone on your list

30+ of the best white elephant Christmas gift ideas under $20

The best 5-minute Advent devotionals for families

25 Days of family Christmas devotionals to help your family remember the reason for the season

While the Christmas season is all about celebrating God’s gift to us through His Son, Jesus, it is also a hectic time for most families — mine included! As we work to keep up with everything on our to-do lists, we can miss out on connecting with our families. That’s why an Advent devotional for families is a great way to help your family connect and remember the reason for the season. And having devotionals that only take about five minutes is even better!

Christmas time is busy. Having a Christmas devotional for your family is the perfect way to work in purposeful family time that focuses on the greatest gift of all: Jesus! Starting at the beginning of December and going through Christmas Day, these devotionals are a great addition to your family’s routine this year.

Best Advent devotionals for families Pinterest image 5

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Advent devotionals for families that make a difference

When my children were young, we tried a few different Advent devotionals for families and found them lacking. We wanted to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, but the content often was too advanced for my toddler and preschooler. Using a Christmas devotional for kids didn’t work well. Even I struggled to pay attention to the daily readings! They were just too long.

Since we struggled to find devotional books that worked for our family, we got creative in going through the story of Christmas with our children. We started with reading a Bible verse a day to go through the Christ’s birth. As my children got a bit older into early elementary for my oldest, we started talking about the verses. I knew we needed more.

And that’s why I put together the original “A Family Christmas” devotion book. It’s filled with 5-minute devotions for Dec. 1 through 25. The first volume was written simply for younger children to really understand. 

As my children got older, they were ready to go deeper into the story of Jesus and His birth and apply it to their own lives. So, I put together “A Family Christmas, Volume 2” written with more in-depth discussion questions for older children. 

An Advent devotional for younger children

This Advent devotional for families is a great devotional guide to take your whole family through the true story of Christmas. This four-week Advent family devotional starts Dec. 1 and ends Dec. 25. It’s simply dated so it can be reused from one Advent season to the next.

Each day has a focus Scripture that progresses through the birth of Jesus. To ensure God’s Word is accessible and understandable for young children, so all Bible verses come from the International Children’s Bible.

Along with a daily Scripture, there are also discussion questions and a prayer. While each family is different, I estimate each devotional time will take around 5 minutes.

The discussion question allows you flexibility as family members share from their own life and experiences. Spend as much or as little time as you want. Some days you may chat together for a few minutes while other days may go quicker.

If your children are able to read, you can take turns with the daily Scripture readings and questions. Or you can alternate with your spouse if you want.

Finally, the daily prayer can be read as written or you can pray your own prayer – however God is leading your heart. “A Family Christmas, Volume 1,” works well for a family Advent devotional to explore the Biblical truth of Christmas in an age-appropriate way for toddlers through early elementary children.

An Advent devotional for older children​

As my children got older, we needed to go deeper. “A Family Christmas, Volume 2,” offers terrific daily devotions throughout the weeks of Advent for families with upper elementary through teens. It also has a verse or two for each day to go through the story of Jesus’ birth. The Scripture is taken from the New International Version instead. 

Just like with Volume 1, each day also has discussion questions and suggested prayer. However, Volume 2 offers more text and really delves into applying the lessons of the Christmas story to our own lives.

For example, some days include questions about why God did things a certain way in the Christmas story. The questions let older kids get into discussions about the significance of certain elements of the Christmas story while also relating it to their own lives. 

Each day also has a new section called “Go Deeper” that includes more in-depth questions for your family to delve into. 

Either book can work for children of all ages with a bit of modification. The overall goal of the Advent devotional experience is to have family time centered around the focus of Christmas. 

Where to get “A Family Christmas” devotionals

Both volumes of “A Family Christmas” are available in various options. You can order hard copies on Amazon or purchase the devotionals for Kindle. 

And, here’s some good news. The Kindle versions are part of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service. If you aren’t familiar with Kindle Unlimited, for a monthly fee, you have access to more than a million books that you can read on your Kindle or through the Kindle app on your device. 

If you prefer a digital download, then the Families with Grace Etsy store has both versions available as a downloadable PDF. 

No matter where you find them, “A Family Christmas” devotional books will take your family through the month of December and keep you focused on that first Christmas and the true reason for the season.

A tradition about Jesus​

Along with doing our daily Christmas devotional, our family has other fun activities that are part of the holiday season. We usually purchase an Advent calendar with candy for each kiddo. 

Each family has its own Christmas traditions. For my family, those traditions have shifted and changed as my children grow older and change as well. We used to do a countdown to Christmas, but now both of my kids are old enough they don’t need that so much. 

We also try and do things to keep our focus from material gifts and on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. Spending just about five minutes each day of December going an Advent devotional for families draws us closer to each other and to God. And that’s one of the best Christmas gifts any mama can ask for!

Don’t miss these posts for more family Christmas ideas!

8 Simple Christmas traditions to bring your family closer (plus 2 FREE printables!)

Free Printable Elf on the Shelf Letters with Elf Ideas

How to Keep Christ in Christmas

The best Christmas gift ideas for mom friends

Mom gift ideas she’ll love

Christmas gift ideas for mom friends Pinterest image 2

Coming up with the best Christmas gift ideas for mom friends can be challenging. Finding the best gifts for even your own mom or mother-in-law is challenging! 

Honestly, sometimes I struggle to come up with the best gift ideas for myself. I mean, my actual Christmas list would include things like: naptime, no laundry for a month, chocolate that doesn’t have sugar or calories, lazy days and food I didn’t plan, shop and make! I find it difficult to come up with gift ideas for myself many times, so I understand why my family can struggle.

Here’s the thing about Christmas and moms, though. We work really hard to make sure the holiday is festive and happy for everyone around us. Having a thoughtful gift under the tree for us is much appreciated. And these gift ideas do just that.

Use these gift-giving ideas for mom friends, yourself, family members or anyone who is a mom!

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Mom apparel

Lots of mom apparel utilizes sarcastic humor. While that’s OK, I love more positive mom apparel. In fact, I created my own line of mom apparel on Zazzle filled with minimalist designs I love and a mix of sweet and humorous mom shirts.

I love giving unique gifts, and this shirt fits the bill. With its slogan: “I run on chocolate, grace and Jesus” it’s the perfect present for any mom friend!

Christmas gift ideas for mom: I run on chocolate, grace and Jesus shirt

This shirt is a terrific best mom friend gift. We all need the reminder that we are rocking our mom journey with grace.

Christmas gift ideas for mom: Mom with grace T-shirt

This perfect gift for moms came from the realization that I have nothing saying I’m the world’s best mom, but my husband has quite a few. This came up when my daughter decided to be a tired mom for Halloween. I’m guessing any mommy friend would appreciate this sentiment!

Christmas gift ideas for mom: World's Best Mom shirt

The ideal Christmas gift for moms is one that reminds her how blessed she is. Busy moms in the fray of daily life and the holiday season can sometimes overlook the little things (and big things) that are such a blessing.

Christmas gift ideas for mom: Blessed beyond measure shirt

This shirt might be good encouragement for new moms who are struggling with sleep exhaustion. But all moms would love this reminder of how terrific it is to be a mama!

Christmas gift ideas for mom: Mom life is the best life shirt

Beyond shirts, other mom apparel option is hats. Whether she’s having a bad hair day or just needs to block the sun, a cute mom hat can be a great option for any mom friend. . 

I love this hat that simply says “Mom.” The best part is that it comes in a variety of options for colors. 

Purple denim mom hat that comes in a variety of colors

This “Mama” hat is simple and would be a special gift for any mom.

And all of us moms have a mama bear hiding inside of us that comes out when she’s needed. That’s what makes this adorable mama bear hat such a good gift idea!

Denim mama bear hat

Don’t forget to keep her tootsies warm with these adorable mama bear slippers that come in various patterns and colors. They’re a great idea to use in gift baskets for moms as well!

Mom jewelry

I’ve loved jewelry since I was a toddler, so my mind also goes to jewelry as a great gift for mom friends. Every day I wear a ring that has my children’s names on it along with their birthstones. I also have a necklace of a mama bird with eggs that match my children’s birthstones that I got a few years ago for less than $20 and wear it a few times each week. 

It doesn’t have to be expensive jewelry to be meaningful and make a great gift. None of these options cost more than $35! Jewelry makes for amazing gifts that make your holiday shopping easier.

This necklace is a great way for moms to showcase their kiddos in beautiful jewelry. The stones come in different colors to reflect the birth months of your children. You can get this necklace with two to six children. 

Mother's heart necklace with simulated birthstones for 2 to 6 children

This simple mom bracelet comes in both gold and silver finishes. It’s easily adjustable and on the back side of the mom charm it says “Bonded by love, connected for life.” How sweet is that?!

Mom bracelet

These custom necklaces offer a more subtle way to showcase birthstones for moms. If your friend loves jewelry, she’s sure to love one of these necklaces that offers one to five jewels.

Mother and child birthstone necklace

If your mom friend has a daughter, then this sweet mother and daughter necklace is a heartfelt gift she’ll enjoy sharing with her daughter as well.

Mother and daughter necklace that also comes in a bracelet

​Available in gold, silver and rose gold, this mama bear necklace can hold up to five baby bears. This would be an ideal gift for a close friend that she’d love to wear!

Mama bear necklace that is customizable

For your mom friends with two children, this sterling silver infinity pendant necklace is the perfect present because it includes the whole family.

Books for moms

Books are also great Christmas gift ideas for mom. She’ll appreciate a good book that refreshes and uplifts her. 

Christian mom friends will enjoy this “Bible Promises for Moms” from Heidi St. John. It’s a pocket-sized book of Scriptures and short devotions to encourage and uplift moms. In just a few minutes a day, your mom friend can put this book to good use and grow in her faith.

"Bible promise for moms" by Heidi St. John

One gift all moms appreciate is quality time with their children. This two-person coloring book is a great way for a mom and child to bond while coloring side-by-side.

Color with mom: A 2-person coloring book

Another good idea for quality time is this mom and daughter shared journal. Moms and their daughters take turns writing in the journal with its prompts. It’s one of the best products to bring Christian moms and daughters together.

Connecting with grace is a faith-based mother and daughter shared journal.

Sarah Young’s entire “Jesus Calling” book series has been popular for years for a reason: it’s well written and powerful. “Jesus Calling for Moms” is an excellent gift for moms. It has 50 devotions written just for mamas’ hearts. 

"Jesus Calling for Moms" by Sarah Young

This year-long book of prayers offers prayers for moms to cover all circumstances of life.

"Midnight Mom Devotional" by Becky Thompson and Susan K. Pitts

I can’t compile a list of gift ideas for moms and not include “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal.” This prompted gratitude and prayer journal also includes 10 encouraging devotionals and makes a great gift. Pair it with a nice ink pen to turn it into a gift set any mama will enjoy!

Sentimental sign gifts for mom

We moms enjoy being appreciated and loved, so sometimes a sentimental sign gift can be perfect. Check out these ideas:

For the boy mom friend in your life, this framed wall art states: “A woman with all sons will be surrounded by handsome men the rest of her life.” So cute!

Sometimes a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor can be the perfect gift from one mom to another. Like this sign that declares: “Life doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a mother.”

What mom says goes, right? OK. We moms know that our rules should be the final word. This fun gift can be a great option for a mom friend!

We all need a reminder that we aren’t — and can’t! — be perfect. This box sign does just that!

This framed Mom wall art features Proverbs 31:25-30 in the background. It’s a great gift idea for Christian moms in your life. (And it also has an Aunt and Grandma option.)

Photo gifts for mom

This family tree picture frame stand holds six photos. It’s one of those Christmas gift ideas for mom friends that most moms would enjoy. After all, she gets to decorate this tree with faces of her favorite people!

If your mom friend has a green thumb, this plant and picture frame combo makes a nice gift. She can put in her own plant or flowers or use the vase to store other things like writing utensils or decorative rocks.

Having a combined two photo frames and felt letter board, this would be a great gift for moms. The character set for the letter board includes 160 letters, emojis and symbols so she can truly make it her own.

If you’re doing some Christmas shopping for a new mom or mom-to-be, this ultrasound picture frame that simply says “Love at first sight” would be a perfect present.

For a more last-minute gift, a gift card or subscription service for a photo printing company like Shutterfly, Vistaprint or Snapfish also are ideal for moms who also have photos to manage. She can print her own photos and photo products.

Cups and mugs for moms

Whether it’s a water bottle, tumbler or coffee mug, moms appreciate having something to keep them hydrated. And we’ve found some great gift ideas that fall into this category.

Let’s start with this super sweet option for moms (or anyone!). It says: “Sometimes you forget you’re awesome so this is your reminder.” You can get it as a mug or 20-ounce tumbler with a few different color options.

Or keep it simple with this retro vibe “Mama” stainless steel tumbler. It holds 20 ounces and comes with straws and a straw cleaner. It has a variety of options that include options like autism mom, dog mom, boy mom, grandma and best mom ever.

Remember the days of having clubs we made up during recess? Update that to adulthood to make this “Cool Moms Club” tumbler a best friend gift.

Sometimes having just a plain tumbler fits your friend the most. This stainless steel vacuum insulated 40-ounce tumbler has a handle and comes in a variety of colors. Plus it’s dishwasher safe, comes with its own straw and is leakproof!

If your mom friend enjoys coffee, tea, hot chocolate or mugs in general, then we’ve got some great options for those as well! Let’s start with a simple “Mom Life” mug that comes in two different color options.

And then we’ve got to move onto funny coffee mugs for moms. For the girl mom in your life, this might be a good option since it says: “May your coffee be stronger than your daughter’s attitude.”

We’ll round out this gift guide of Christmas gift ideas for mom friends with this 14-ounce coffee tumbler that gives an amusing and honest definition for “Mom.”