Here in Madison we are suffering (cough, cough) from an unbelievably mild fall.

Autumn in Madison is normally filled with sweatshirts and snow pants.

Just the other day we were wearing t-shirts without a jacket.

I don’t mean to complain or anything, but y’all, I have some super cute fall clothes that I haven’t really been able to enjoy yet.

Today, I walked into Target today and what did I see?

Yep, you guessed it.

Christmas trees and a huge banner wishing me a Merry Christmas. For the love! I can’t even think about Christmas. Not with this weather. Which reminds me– there was one Christmas that we were living in Nairobi, Kenya– and it was SO WARM. I couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit. Yes, yes, it shouldn’t matter how cold or hot it is while celebrating our sweet Jesus’ birth, but I can’t sing Christmas carols while sweating.  Christmas is not really Christmas without feeling like your phalanges are going to freeze off as you carry sleepy kids out to the car covered with freshly-scraped, but yet still slightly frosted windows and the heater on full blast.

All that being said. I am starting to prepare for Advent, which is not. too. far. away. We like to do something as a family, and I’m always looking for creative ways to observe Advent.

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Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be reviewing some new (or new to me) books. They are, in no particular order:

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1. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Countdown to Christmas by Ace Collins

For the month of December, Collins provides a daily Scripture or inspirational reading, paired with the story of a famous Christmas song or movie, and a DIY gift idea or holiday recipe.

What I like: I’m not much of a historian, so I felt like I learned a lot regarding the history of various Christmas movies and songs after reading this book.

It was also fun that he included some DIY gift ideas. I love the idea of doing a makers Christmas, and some of his ideas sounded uncomplicated to make, and also useful. Beeswax candles. Recipe books. Photo coasters. Super fun.

What I didn’t like: In the same vein, because I’m not a historian, I tend to crave Advent book books or other resources that lean more theologically heavy. This book did include Scripture and some inspirational writing, but generally, this book is going to be great for those who are interested in looking to the past to provide meaning for the here and now.

BUT, I know some of you might really enjoy this book. If you love history and Christmas, enter to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway. One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.

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**I received The Most Wonderful Time of the Year from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
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2. All Is Bright: A Devotional Journey to Color Your Way to Christmas

It’s no secret that I’ve been swept up into the adult coloring book phenomena. I’m loving pairing devotional with coloring– it connects my brain to my heart and just helps me to slow down and reflect instead of sprinting off to the next thing.
And this one is no different.
All is Bright is not only a coloring book, but an Advent coloring book and devotional. In addition to the devotionals and coloring pages for grown-ups, it also includes family devotionals and coloring pages for kids. Each family devotional includes a piece of Scripture, a couple discussion questions, and a down-to-earth prayer. Topics include generosity, making space for Jesus, love, and worship. And while the adult section has a devotion for each day in December, the family portion includes only 12 days.
And to be honest, this latter part is what really attracted me to this book. Here’s what the author says about her hopes for this space:
My hope is that as you spend some time with the children in your world coloring and talking, you’ll be able to help them escape our culture’s consumer approach to Christmas and instead spark a sense of gratitude for Christ’s first coming and anticipation for when he comes again.

I share this same hope, and have found that it’s through a constant re-orienting that we can focus on Jesus in the midst of consumer crazy. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy. It’s very much NOT. But resources like this are a good tool in helping us on this journey.

**I received All is Bright from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.”

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