Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Party Games

Every year my family and my sister's family comes together to decorate my mom's Christmas tree.  This has been a tradition of ours since the first year I moved away from home.  When our kids were little they loved it, but as they have gotten older their enthusiasm in it is not as great as it once was.  Last year we started a new tradition and turned the whole "Christmas Tree Trimming" night into a fun Christmas party and everyone loves it!!! We still have our usual party foods and decorate mam maw's tree, but now we have added fun Christmas games and end the night with Dirty Santa.  If you are not familiar with what Dirty Santa is, don't worry, it is nothing dirty.  Just a fun way to exchange Christmas gifts.  This does not take the place of the regular gifts we give to each other for Christmas, it's just an early fun gift giving game! 

Here are the games (and their descriptions) we played this year.


I love this game!  If you have ever played Cranium you know how much fun and laughter this game can bring.  A person hums and everyone else has to guess the song.  Of course for a Christmas party you need Christmas songs.  Here are the one's we used.  You can use your favorite holiday songs and make your own list!

Angels We Have Heard on High
Frosty the Snowman
Joy to the World
Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer
Baby It's Cold Outside
Deck the Halls
Go Tell It on the Mountain
I'll be Home for Christmas
Silent Night
Carol of the Bells
Jingle Bell Rock
Winter Wonderland
The First Noel
O Come all ye Faithful
We Wish you a Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Hark the Harold Angels Sing
Away in the Manger
The 12 Days of Christmas
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Here Comes Santa Claus
Mary Did You Know
Do You Hear What I Hear


If you are familiar with Heads Up, the super fun tablet app, then you will know how to play this game.  A person has a phrase and has to try to get the players to guess the phrase by either acting it out or giving clues.  For example, if your phrase is Three Wise Men your clue could be:  "more than two really smart dudes".  Here is the list of phrases that we used.

Three Wise Men
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
The Grinch
Wrapping Presents
Snow Angels
Mary and Joseph
Christmas Lights
Jingle Bells
Christmas Shopping
Little Drummer Boy
It's a Wonderful Life
Christmas with the Kranks
Frosty the Snowman
Partridge in a Pear Tree
Silver Bells
White Christmas
Gold, Myrrh and Frankincense
String Popcorn


See who is the most artistic in your family by giving them this fun drawing challenge.  I gave each person a sturdy piece of cardboard and a pen.  Each person then put the cardboard on top of their head and followed my directions.  

1.   Draw a line for the floor
2.  Draw a Christmas tree
3.  Add decorations
4.  Draw a star on top of the tree
5.  Draw a fireplace with a mantel next to the tree
6.  Draw a stocking hanging from the mantel
7.  Draw a present below the tree

Then we graded them

2 points if tree touches the floor
2 points if stocking is touching the mantel
1 point if star touches the tree
1 point if the star is above the tree
1 point for every ornament on the tree
1 point if your fireplace does not touch the tree because that would be a fire hazard. ;)
2 points if present is under the tree

There are several variations of this game as well and last year we played it a little differently.  We closed our eyes and did not do it on top of our head and we drew snowmen instead.  Just use your imagination!


We got a lot of laughs out of this game.  We split up into two groups and each group was given a roll of green crepe paper, a package of red garland, candy canes, various colors of constructions paper, scissors and tape.  Each team had to choose one team member to be "the tree" and the other team members trimmed the tree!  Check out the pictures below to see how this turned out!


All you need for this one is a stocking and stocking stuffers.  After I put the objects in the stocking I pinned it closed and each person had to feel and try to guess what was in the stocking.  Here are the items I used, but you can use anything you have around the house.

candy cane
jingle bell
pencil sharpener
spool of thread
Christmas bow
snowman figurine
bag of marbles


There are several variations of this game, but for our family we set a $5.00 price limit.  We all purchase and wrap our gift, but we do not include a name tag.  Then we put the gifts in the middle of the room and each person draws a number.  The first person picks a gift from the pile, the person with the second number can either pick a gift from the pile or take person #1's gift, and that goes on until every number has gone and we keep stealing until the last gift is finally chosen.   After that we go back to the person with number 1 and they open their gift and the person who purchased it lets them know it is from forth and so on.  The only rules we have is that you cannot choose your own gift and you cannot have a tug of war with a gift. example - same two people taking back and forth from each other, you can however get the same gift back, but you can't take it back immediately.   I know some people choose to open the gifts and then steal them, but for our family we decided to wait until the end to open.  I have played it both ways and it is equally as fun!  

Here are a few pictures from our night of Christmas fun!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall - A Book Review

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky takes place in London, England in the early 1900's and is about Missionary Julia Foster.  Julia has worked along side her parents as a missionary in India for years, but when her father gets sick they are forced to return to England.  Julia gets a job as a governess at Highland Hall to help her family financially.  Julia has been hurt deeply in the past by a former fiance and has no intention of falling for someone again.

William is the Baronet of Highland Hall and is a widow left with two young children.  His wife, though now has passed on, was not faithful to him and he is very leery of women.  He is now consumed with saving his deceased cousin's home (Highland Hall) and raising his own children and the two ill-behaved teenage girls of his deceased cousin's.

Even though both of them are guarding their hearts they both are determined to help their families and join forces and become fast friends and confidants.  William is very strict on following the rules of society and will not allow anyone in his home to court below their station, so what will he do when he has to make a choice between Julia and Highland Hall.

I love Julia's character and as her strong faith and gentle spirit begins to rub off on those around her was an encouragement to me as a reader.  I did have a little bit of a hard time getting into the book at the beginning, but after I the first couple chapters I could hardly put it down.   If you love Regency type stories then you will be sure to love this book.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.


Plain Peace - A Book Review

Plain Peace by Beth Wiseman is the sixth book in The Daughters of the Promise Series.  I did not realize it was a series when I got the book and you certainly don't need to read the whole series to enjoy this book, however I do think it would make it more interesting.  There were several times that I was a little lost with the characters and wished I had a little more background.  About half way through the book I realized that I had read one other book in this series and I started refreshing my memory and now I would really like to read the whole series from start to finish.  Sometimes I do feel that Beth Wiseman's portrayal of the Amish is a little far fetched and unbelievable, but overall her books are enjoyable.

More about the book:

Anna has been raised by her grandparents.  Her grandfather is the Bishop and is very strict.  Due to his rules and sternness all the available suitors are afraid to court Anna.  Then Jacob Hostetler moves to town and decides that Anna is worth the challenge.  His family has suffered a great loss and are all still morning the loss of Jacob's sister.

When Anna's grandfather finds out that Jacob and Anna did not go to a singing as they said they would, he forbids them to see each other and refuses to hear the reason behind the change of plans.  Anna chooses deception and continues to see Jacob.  Will she continue to lie so she can have her dream of a family or will she realize that honesty is always best and that her faith is most important.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Jesus Story - A Book Review

The story of Jesus Christ is the most remarkable story ever told.  Whether you are a new Christian or a seasoned Christian, reading the 4 gospels in the New Testament is something that never grows old.  There is so much to glean from God's Word.

In The Jesus Story - Everything that Happens in the New Testament in Plain English, Dr. William H. Marty tells the story of Jesus in an easy to read chronological account.  It is very easy to understand and would be great for someone who is just learning about the Lord.  However, I do feel that for older Christians it may not capture their attention as well.  I found it a little "hum-drum" at times and I would much rather read the accounts straight from the Bible.  I do think that new Christians and those who are not familiar with The Word of God might benefit from this book, but I would still encourage those same people to pick up The Bible and read the stories straight from the source.

I did like how the stories are biblically accurate and did not sway from the truth.  The author truly has just taken the accounts, put them in order and wrote it in plain English.  I think it would be a great gift idea along with a Bible for a new Christian or for someone that you are trying to win to Christ.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Seeking Christmas - A Book Review

As the holiday season is fast approaching I find my self once again looking for a good devotional book that will help our family focus on the True Meaning of Christmas.

Seeking Christmas - Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions by Renee Robinson is a great book that will fulfill this purpose for me.  I was given the chance to review it through the Book Crash blog review program and I am so pleased with what I found within the pages.

The book is arranged to be used over a 7 day period.  You can arrange this to fit your schedule.  Whether that be every day the week before Christmas, maybe even 2 weeks before Christmas or maybe you would prefer to spread the 7 sections out through the weeks leading up to Christmas.  The great thing about it is that you can adjust it to what works best for you.

Each day is separated into sections.  The first sections is REMEMBER.  This is for adults, I found this section to a great way to "set the mood" and to help the parent get their juices flowing and ready to share and make new "things to remember" as a family.

The second section is READ.  Each day includes a Bible scripture to be read as a family.  If you have older children there are extra scriptures for further study.

The third section is REFLECT.   This is a time to talk about the scriptures you just read.  There are also questions divided up by age group.  That is another great thing about this book!  It is great for kids of all ages!

The fourth section is RESEARCH.  In this section you learn some neat historical facts about Christmas.  For instance, you can read about the history of holly, the poinsettia and the candy cane to name a few.  I really loved this section and thought it added a little spice to the book.

The last section is REJOICE.  Here the evenings activity is summarized.  The author recommend keeping a Christmas Journal and during the section of REJOICE there are journal prompts as to what to write in the journal.  I love to keep a journal and a Christmas journal incorporated into the family devotion is a great idea.  I can't wait to get our started this year and how great it will be to look back each year and see what God has and is doing in our lives!

One more great thing about this book is that when you purchase this book you are helping orphans.   The author donates 10% to organizations that reach out to change an orphan's life.

For more information on this book and the author you can visit

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Dawn of Christmas - A Book Review

Cindy Woodsmall is one of my most favorite Amish author's and I always love her short Christmas novellas.  Once again she has won me over with The Dawn of Christmas.  If you have read  any of her previous Christmas stories you are sure to recognize a few of the characters in this book as well since all the Christmas stories take place in Apple Ridge.

The story begins the day before Sadie is to be married and she finds her soon-to-be husband in the barn with her cousin Aquilla.  Sadie is devastated and to make matters worse no one seems to believe what she saw and Daniel and Aquilla are denying everything.  Sadie knows that she cannot marry a man that she can never trust and her father is the only one who stands by her side in her decision.

Levi lives with his brother Andy and is helping him raise his son.  Andy's wife ran out on him and it seems that Levi was left with a poor impression of woman.  He has no intention of ever marrying and is content with his life of training horses.  If only his family would stop pestering him to find a wife.

Levi gets thrown from his horse and Sadie finds him and stays with him until help arrives.  A friendship blossoms and soon they decide to "pretend" to court so their families will stop pressuring them.  Soon their feelings grow deeper even though they both are fighting it, but then everything comes crashing down and it seems that both of them feel that their feelings about the opposite gender were correct all along.

This is a great story for a cold day.  Grab a cup of tea or coffee, a warm cozy blanket and curl up and read!

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.