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

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. 

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.

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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

Makeup


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.

Lighting

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!

Shoes

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

Accessories

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

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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!

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.

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.”

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

White elephant gift ideas that are good, clean fun!

30+ White elephant gift ideas under $20 Pinterest image

While figuring out gifts in general can be a challenge, one of the categories I struggle with the most is white elephant gifts.

It’s hard to find a great white elephant gift that is out-of-the-ordinary and maybe funny but also not too much money.

And also appropriate. Searches for funny white elephant gift ideas often bring up results that are PG-13 or R-rated.

So I did some searching and put together a list of the best white elephant gifts for $20 or less that are fun and will be a hit at any gift exchange!

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.

Office fun

How fun is this desktop wacky waving inflatable guy?

Christian white elephant gift ideas: Wacky Waving Inflatable Guy

If you’re stuck at the office, you might as well have some fun on your break or if you’re on a long call. Enter desktop mini games like this desktop tetherball or desktop basketball game.

Clean white elephant gift ideas: Desktop tetherball
Christian white elephant gift ideas: Desktop basketball

It’s a little gross, but this nose pencil sharpener works, could come in handy and is sure to make everyone at the gift exchange giggle. This pencil sharpener is one of the best gag gifts you’ll find!

Clean white elephant gift ideas: Nose pencil sharpener

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I don’t feel like you can ever really have enough notepads. I love the fun of this adulting notepad that also allows you to mark off important adult things you’ve done for the day like taking a vitamin or wearing pants.

Christian white elephant gift ideas: Adulting notepad

And sometimes you just need a sticker for doing serious adult living. This is one of the best gifts that everyone will appreciate!

Clean white elephant gift ideas: "I Adulted" Stickers for Grown-Ups

If you’re going to have to cut things, you might as well do so with toucan scissors! This also works well for a secret Santa gift.

Christian white elephant gift ideas: Toucan scissors

This adorable little Groot flower pot works for a plant, as a pencil holder or whatever else. It’s so stinking cute that it would be in demand at your next white elephant exchange!

Funny books

I am a sucker for a good punny joke, which means this book of dad jokes would be something I’d legitimately find amusing — and I’m guessing I’m not alone. It’d be a perfect white elephant gift!

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Book of Dad Jokes

This book of useless information is one of those funny gifts that would be interesting plus be sure to spark some conversation!

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: "The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information"

Having a worst case scenario handbook sounds like a joke, but it could actually be a practical gift. You never know!

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook"

Sometimes you just have to have a good insult in Shakespearean style and this book provides a great way to do so!

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Shakespeare Insult Generator

Fun socks

Novelty socks are always good for some laughs to any white elephant party.

I’ve seen socks that say “If you can read this, bring me…” But, I’ve not seen a pair that ended with “tacos” until now! There are other options, too, like coffee ($5.99), doughnuts (7.99) and bacon ($7.99).

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: "If you can read this, bring me tacos" socks

You can’t beat these socks that look like you’re wearing sandals with socks! We all know someone for whom this would be the perfect gift.

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Socks that look like white socks with brown sandals

Golden Girls socks?! I’m not sure these are white elephant because they are just pretty stinking awesome! Beyond being a good white elephant gift, these socks may just be the perfect present for someone on your shopping list!

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Golden Girls socks

A tad bit pricier at $19.99, these set of sushi socks are the perfect quirky gift.

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Sushi socks

Fun home products

This bed-shaped sponge holder makes me grin every time I see it. It’s a silly, fun and useful gift!

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Bed-shaped sponge holder

For a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, consider this cereal killer spoon. It’s a fun way to add some humor to your mornings.

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Cereal Killer Spoon

Fun ice cube trays can also be some of the best white elephant gift ideas. These two options were my favorites: dogs and the United States.

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Dog ice cube tray
Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: United States shaped ice cube tray

Dishwasher magnets that tell you whether your dishes are clean or dirty can be a great gift like this one featuring Star Wars.

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Star Wars Dishwasher Sign

Or check out this cute open and closed dishwasher sign magnet as a great addition for your party.

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Open and Closed Dishwasher Sign

I like tabletop vacuum. We have a plain one that we use all the time. But this cow tabletop vacuum cracks me up and this definitely falls into the fun white elephant gifts category.

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Cow tabletop vacuum

Cactus-shaped tea light candles are pretty interesting and come in different styles to pick from. It’s an adorable gift set!

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Cactus-shaped tea light candles

Staying with the cactus theme, check out these fun cactus shaped dryer balls. The best part is this is something anyone can use, because we all do laundry!

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Cactus shaped dryer balls

Funny mugs

Yep. A coffee mug is technically a home product. But with so many different funny ones they needed their own category! Here are all of my favorites:

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Donut shaped coffee mug
Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: "Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice" Mug
Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Bob Ross color changing coffee mug
Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Toilet bowl shaped coffee mug

Misc. fun stuff

And then there were a few other finds that I had to include for white elephant gift ideas like this bacon flavored lip balm. I’m quite intrigued!

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Bacon flavored lip balm

My son would totally love if I came home from a white elephant gift exchange with this Ninjabread cookie mix.

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Ninjabread Gingerbread cookie kit

This basket head game could be the next family game or opened and played at your white elephant gift exchange party.

Christian White Elephant Gift Ideas: Basket head game

Even non-artistic folks (like me!) can handle paint by numbers, right? This adorable Bob Ross paint by number kit comes with everything needed to make tiny masterpieces.

Clean White Elephant Gift Ideas: Bob Ross Paint by number kit

Looking for more Christmas ideas? Check out these posts!

25 gag gifts that are clean

Free Printable Elf on the Shelf Letters with Elf Ideas

14 Ways to use Elf on the Shelf in a fun, positive way

My husband and I were originally resistant to Elf on the Shelf. When our oldest child was in preschool, she loved sharing the antics the school elf got into. She loved seeing what the elf was up to each day and wanted one for home.

The next Christmas season, we had a Kindness Elf show up who was plush. I loved the idea of a Kindness Elf that comes and gives the kids ideas of nice things to do throughout the holiday season. Our Kindness Elf was also OK to touch since he was a bit different. (And our youngest was a toddler!)

However, by the next Christmas season, our daughter was so looking forward to a naughty elf that she decided to write Santa a letter about how she appreciated the Kindness Elf but hoped he could go to someone else so she could have a fun elf.

That Christmas, our Elf on the Shelf showed up. But, my husband and I had a few plans for how we wanted to make our Elf on the Shelf fun but a bit different. We started with our Elf on the Shelf introduction letter.

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.

How we made our elf positive

A big premise of the elf is that he monitors bad behavior and reports back to Santa Claus. We didn’t want our Elf on the Shelf tradition to focus on misbehaving or be the reason why our children were on their best behavior. 

We want our children to behave well because they know that’s what is right and not for motivation to get a gift or reward. However, we also understand that our kids aren’t perfect and sometimes need grace. Having a family tradition that would stress them out when they make mistakes wasn’t a great way to celebrate Christmas time and the birth of Jesus.

So, we’ve found a few ways to keep our Elf positive while still having so much fun with our scout elf. We went with a boy elf, though we have both a son and daughter. But use these strategies with any family elf!

Ditch the book

When the Elf on the Shelf showed up, he came with a book explaining all about how he works. The book tells how the elf will monitor the kids’ behavior and report back to Santa each night. It emphasized how touching the elf will make him lose his magic.

We decided our elf’s arrival would include an arrival letter instead explaining how he would work. That way we could personalize the arrival letter for our family and how we wanted the elf to work. The first time our elf arrived, he had a personalized Elf on the Shelf introduction letter in tow instead of the book.

These two versions of an Elf on the Shelf arrival letter are free printables you can use for  your own elf this year! There is one elf arrival letter for the first visit from a new elf and another for your elf’s return if it isn’t your first year.

(You can also find a more personalized letter option with Elf on the Shelf letter template options that are available in the Families with Grace Etsy store. You’ll find some cute letters and other Elf on the Shelf printables to use this season!)

No behavior monitoring

We kept the arrival letter simple and explained the magic of the elf meant no touching ON PURPOSE and that the kids needed to come up with the elf’s name.

But our elf also explained that he’d be hanging out to help our family get in the Christmas spirit throughout the season and sometimes leave notes with ideas of nice things to do. Instead of reporting their bad behavior back to Santa, the elf would report their good behavior and good deeds.

We liked this idea better, because we wanted our kiddos to behave well since they are supposed to and not because they were afraid of not getting presents or having Santa be angry with them. 

Decide when the Elf on the Shelf arrives and leaves

Some elves arrive the weekend after Thanksgiving. Most go back to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve. Our elf arrives on December 1st. He does go back to Santa on Christmas Eve.

However, our first year with an elf our kids were sad he wouldn’t be around to see them open gifts, so he was able to convince Santa he could stay that year for Christmas Day and then fly back to the North Pole on his own.

Avoid naughty pranks

Part of the draw for the kiddos with Elf on the Shelf is his antics. And I agree. That little guy can get up to all sorts of things! But one thing our elf hasn’t ever done is something naughty. He may do silly things and pull pranks like wrapping the table in wrapping paper, but he’s in no way destructive.

We’ve come up with one fun way after another for the elf to get into some silly — and sweet — shenanigans!

Have Elf on the Shelf focus on Jesus

Another component of our elf is that he focuses on Jesus and His birth. He doesn’t mention it every day, but at least once during the season he shows up in the manger scene. And he mentions in his arrival letters how much he’s looking forward to spending another season celebrating the birth of Jesus with our family. (You’ll find this mention in both of the free printable letters you can download above!)

We want our children to enjoy all of the fun of Christmas with gifts, decorations, Santa and elves. But more than anything we want them to remember we are celebrating Christmas for God’s gift of Jesus. 

Our family also reads through the Christmas story one verse a night through December and this year is pairing it with a devotion book, “A Family Christmas: 25 Days of 5-Minutes Christmas Devotions.” As our children have gotten older, we’ve evolved into the second version of “A Family Christmas: 25 Days of 5-Minute Christmas Devotions for Older Children.” Either way, Our elf always comments in his good-bye letter about how much he enjoys hearing our family go through the Christmas story each evening.

Use the elf for kindness

While our elf gets up to some silly antics, he does also suggest nice things for the kids to do. For example, last year he organized the shoes in our mudroom then suggested the kids do a chore for someone else that day. 

You can find some easy elf ideas for kindness with prefilled notes of kindness activities that include references to Jesus as well.

Let the elf bring treats

Our elf also likes to brings treats throughout the holiday season. It can be anything from Santa hats to Christmas crafts to candy coal. Our Elf on the Shelf comes with some treats throughout the season and gives the kids ideas to do with them or shares them just for fun as well. 

I know our fun little elf has found some great small gift options as the Dollar Tree and Five Below.

Make the elf posable

Elf on the Shelf has lots of accessories available to purchase. Our family has only gotten one accessory for our elf that I highly recommend: Elf Flex. It’s basically bendable wire that you help put into your Elf on the Shelf so that he or she can more easily stay in position.

Have a plan for touches

Invariably the elf is going to get touched. It was stressful to our kids, especially when they were younger. During the time we had a preschooler and toddler, our elf was OK to be touched. Once he wasn’t, we did our best to have him where he wouldn’t be easy to touch.

But, we also developed a system to counteract accidental touches or help him move if he falls. For accidental touches, we sprinkle a few grains of sugar on him and blow him a kiss. To help him reposition safely, we use gloves. The contact with human skin is often what can take away the magic from an Elf on the Shelf, after all!

Having a list of Elf Rules is the perfect way to let your kids know what to do in case of an accidental touching. The Rules can include other components of the fun tradition such as how the elf can deliver letters to Santa and how he or she is a good listener.

Plan ahead

Sometimes helping the elf decide what to do each evening can be a chore. For some of us who do our best thinking earlier in the day, it can be particularly challenging to come up with creative ideas in the evening.

Going through posts like this one and others is helpful. Doing so before the elf even arrives is better. I make a list each November of Elf on the Shelf ideas to make deciding what to do each evening easier. I include any treats he’ll be bringing as ideas so I don’t forget them. 

Set a reminder or alarm

By the end of the day, my brain tends to be shutting down. I have a reminder set for each evening to pop up and remind me to help our Elf on the Shelf with his plans.

Come up with a code name

Because adults sometimes need to talk about things related to the Elf on the Shelf, having a codename for him or her is a good idea. I use our elf’s code name on my reminder, on my list and when talking about him with my husband once the kids are in bed. 

(Fellow geeks might appreciate the code name is Legolas.)

Keep the elf out of the way

One of the issues I struggled with before our Elf on the Shelf arrived was all the elaborate set-ups I saw online. I didn’t understand how the elf wouldn’t get in the way. I still don’t understand some of them. But I do help our elf come up with ideas that will keep him out of the way. 

He doesn’t, for example, fill our bathroom sink up with marshmallows or sit on top of the gallon of milk I know we will need throughout the day. Even when he had some fun in our washing machine last December, he was smart enough to do it when laundry wasn’t going to be happening.

Elf on the Shelf introduction letter Pinterest image 9

Have some fun!

I’ve heard many different adjectives from other parents from creepy to annoying. I get it. But once you’ve decided to welcome an Elf on the Shelf into your home for the season, have fun with the process. It really can become a fun Christmas tradition for the entire family.

When we were staying with my parents over Christmas while our house was being built a few years ago, all four of us adults enjoyed the elf’s antics nearly as much as the kiddos!

The fun of an elf for Christian families​

If you are going to embrace the Elf on the Shelf for whatever reason as a Christian family, have fun with it. Look for free a printable arrival letter, like these, that include the true meaning of Christmas. 

Use these strategies to have fun with your elf. As I watch my children grow faster and faster each year, I treasure these years of having them at home and enjoying Christmas magic all the more. Make some fun memories this Christmas! 

In the end, there’s no better feeling than seeing your kids get excited to see what the elf has been up to and speculate about what he might do next.

Ideas for your Elf on the Shelf

I’m neither a crafty nor an overly creative mom. Below are a few simple ideas our elf has done over the past few years if your elf is in need of inspiration.

A Christian object lesson about obedience for kids

A positive parenting, Biblical approach to teaching about obeying

Obedience is hard to learn. It goes against human nature. We want to do what we want when we want.

It’s evident in the youngest toddlers who want their way. And it’s partly why our kids learn to say “no” quickly. They hear “no” often from us, and like to repeat it back because they want their own way.

But, obedience is important for our kiddos’ safety (like those times we say “stop!” so they don’t get hurt). Obedience remains important as they grow and go to school.

Most importantly, learning obedience to their earthly parents and trusted authority figures helps kids learn how to be obedient to God.

A simple object lesson about obedience can help your children learn to do the right thing. This easy object lesson can be used with your own family at home or as a full Sunday School lesson.

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.

The importance of obedience

​To begin with, we don’t want to confuse the word “obedience” with the word “control.” They are two different things.

When someone is obedient, he is making the right choice based on respect and trust. Being controlled, on the other hand, is taking away the ability for another person to make a choice. 

Sometimes, I admit, I’d like to be able to control my children so they always do things the best way and make the best choices. However, I also know that I’m not perfect myself. I rely on Jesus Christ, God’s commands and the Word of God to help keep me in line with making good choices and doing things God’s way.

Obedience works much better. It allows our children to choose the right way for themselves. They learn to honor and respect those in charge — both us and God.

The best results come when obedience is more of a character trait than an action. I want to teach my children based on the principle of Godly obedience. We certainly don’t want our children to obey the wrong people who will lead them into making bad choices. 

Object lessons about obedience can help our children learn the importance of following God through a Bible lesson and some fun activities as well.

Learning about obedience through the Word

Scripture basis

Joshua 6

Memory verse

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” — Colossians 3:20 (NIV)

Memory verse activity

Between teaching kiddos at church and having my own children, I have learned that sometimes kids are able to listen better if their hands have something to do. My good friend and artist, Carol Daugherty, drew this awesome coloring sheet you can download for free and print by clicking the image below.

It shows both the story and the memory verse in one. This coloring page is great for kiddos and adults!

Read out loud

The Israelites, God’s people, had been wandering in the hot desert for 40 long years. They first followed a leader named Moses to the desert to escape being slaves to a wicked king. God promised Moses that He would lead the people to a Promised Land — a new land to call home that would be better than they had imagined.

However, before Moses was able to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, he died and left Joshua in charge. Just like Moses, Joshua led the people through the desert until they came to the land God had promised them. 

Unfortunately, one thing stood between the Israelites and the Promised Land: Jericho. Jericho was a big city surrounded by a huge, thick, tall wall. The tired and weary Israelites felt discouraged. 

But then, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joshua and told him not to worry. God was with the Israelites. All Joshua needed to do was have the people march around the city for a week, and then the city would be destroyed so the Israelites could go through.

Joshua was probably a bit unsure about how this plan would work, but he trusted and obeyed God. He told the people God’s plan. For six days they marched once around Jericho. On the seventh day, they walked around the city seven times. Then Joshua told them to make as much noise as they could.

Just as God promised, the walls began to crack. The walls crumbled and soon Jericho no longer stood between God’s people and the Promised Land.

They were able to get to where God had promised to lead them because they obeyed their heavenly Father and followed His directions — even when those directions seemed strange. 

Talking about obedience

Being obedient can be difficult sometimes. Talk with your children about how hard it can be to follow directions. Share a time when you either obeyed or disobeyed God’s leading and the consequences as a result.

Next, talk with your kiddos about some situations they might face. How difficult or easy would obedience to God’s will be if you had to… (Feel free to add scenarios specific to your family and children.)

  • Share your favorite toy with your best friend.
  • Say something nice to someone who has been mean to you.
  • Invite someone to your party who didn’t invite you to theirs.
  • Make a card for your sibling(s) saying what you like about them.
  • Share a piece of candy someone gave you with someone else.
  • Give a bigger piece of dessert to your sibling.

Faith object lesson about obedience

We tried this using cotton balls, because I didn’t have any cotton swabs at the time. The swabs would work better, but cotton balls work in a pinch!

What you’ll need:

  • dirty pennies
  • vinegar
  • salt
  • small bowls
  • cotton swabs

1. Give each of your kiddos a small bowl and a cotton swab. Pour about 1/4-cup of vinegar into their bowls. Ask your children to use the vinegar and cotton swab to clean the pennies.

2. Pretend to be disappointed that it didn’t work so well to clean the pennies. Tell the kiddos you realized you missed something in the directions. Point out that the vinegar needs salt added to it in order to work.

3. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt into the kids’ vinegar, let the salt dissolve and have them try again. This time, the pennies should come nice and clean.

4. Talk about how obeying can be hard, but just like the salt and vinegar helped clean the penny, so the Holy Spirit and God help us to be obedient. We want to be like Joshua and follow directions, even when they don’t always make sense to us.

Family activities about obedience

Activities are a great way to help children focus on obedience. Depending on your kids’ ages and time you have, pick a couple of activities (or all of them!) to do as a family.

“Joshua Says” Game

If you’re familiar with the beloved game “Simon Says,” then you know how to play this game. Instead of “Simon,” change it to “Joshua” to help kids remember the story. (You can also use “God Says,” if you prefer.) Be sure to give everyone a chance to be Joshua.

Follow the Leader

This is a classic game most of us are familiar with. Have one family member be the leader and the other family members follow them, doing what the leader does. You can kick it up a notch to emphasize obeying and have family members be “out” if they don’t do what the leader does. Give everyone a turn to be the leader.

I would encourage you a couple of times to have mom or dad (or both at different times) NOT do something the leader does and have “trouble” as a result. For example, if the leader steps around a chair, one of you could walk into the chair and then point out the trouble you had because you disobeyed.

Blind Obstacle Course

Set up an obstacle course around your living room, yard or elsewhere. You can make it as simple or complex as you’d like. (I’d recommend starting simple and then working up from there if you’d like.) Use whatever items you have on hand. You can use painters tape to map out spots to hop on one foot, chairs that have to be navigated around, boxes to step over, etc. You can divide your family into teams or just take turns.

One person puts on a blindfold and has to navigate the obstacle course based on the directions another family member gives them. The success of the person going through the obstacle course depends on how well they obey the instructions.

Cook Together

Another great way to help kids learn about obedience is in the kitchen. Try a recipe that doesn’t require using an oven or heat like this yummy and easy whipped pudding pie. Let an older child or parent read the recipe while the others obey their directions.

Read more about obedience

Our family adores “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Its version of Joshua and Jericho, called “The Warrior Leader,” is great.

Check out this video of me reading “The Warrior Leader” for a recent Story Time with Families with Grace:

The classic book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” is also a great book for encouraging obedience as poor Peter struggles to follow his mom’s directions and pays the price as a result.

If you’re looking for a longer book about obedience, consider “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. The beloved book (which was also made into a movie in 1971 and in 2005) offers great lessons on obedience and the consequences of being disobedient.

Watch more about obedience

One of my all-time favorite versions of Joshua and Jericho is the VeggieTales version of the story from the 1997. It’s the first VeggieTales I ever saw; even though I was college student without children, I loved it! “Josh and the Big Wall” is a great (and humorous) way to reinforce the story and lesson of obeying. (Also, who doesn’t love to see peas pouring slushies onto other veggie people?!)

Both the original “Mary Poppins” from 1964 and “Mary Poppins Returns” from 2018 are terrific family movies that include lessons about obedience. Mary Poppins swoops in with a spoonful of sugar to help the children learn how to obey and behave well.

The bottom line

Using a simple Bible object lesson can help our children learn more about the importance of obedience whether you’re working as a family or a small group at church. We can a Bible study for children to help them learn about obedience even back in the Old Testament. 

The coloring page, faith object lesson, books and movies help our children develop a good attitude and a heart for obeying our Heavenly Father. 

This post is part of a DIY Summer Camp designed for seven days starting on a Monday, but you can adjust the schedule according to what works best for your family. If doing one character trait each day doesn’t work for you then spread it out between two weeks. Get the full details and lesson ideas HERE!