Christmas Fun!

I love Christmas for several reasons. 

First, its a celebration of my Savior's birth! Without Jesus becoming a human, and then giving His life for mine, there would be no reason to celebrate. I should celebrate what He's done for me all throughout the year, but its always fun to have this special time of year! 

Another reason I love this time of year is because of family, friends + traditions.

It seems silly, but I love Christmas Adam {its the day before Christmas Eve}! I really start to feel the Christmas spirit take over + just gets me all giddy! 

We have a decades long tradition of going to Cracker Barrel on Christmas Eve with some family friends. Here's the group of us this year! Look at all the babies! And there's two more on the way for next year! 

We haven't had a full family photo in a while, and I just love this one! 

So my aunt has this extenda-fork that she brings out around the holidays. I love it + think its just the most fun thing ever. This year, she sent this to me for this breakfast. Trust me, it comes in handy! 

I love Sarah + the heart she has for ministry. We were celebrating being the only two 'non-mommies' at breakfast + her first married Christmas!! 

Ahh, I just love these three. 

He's getting a little too active to want to take cute pictures with his aunt, but I still make him. 

I also love this pup so much. His name is Herschel {Walker}, because you know, Go Dawgs!! 

I love coffee + was so excited to use my new 'hello, sunshine' mug with my aunt's new espresso machine! 

Its Stiles family tradition to go bowling whenever we can. This year I was just a few pins away from beating my daddy for this first time ever. It was almost a big moment for us, but he's still got the skills. 

The lunch crew. 

And my parents bought this bear rug. So, Merry Christmas! 

So quick story. My mom loves Christmas the most. She decorates like crazy. There was a store in town going out of business + they had a sleigh outside for sale. Mom wanted it + Dad got his bear, so Mom got her sleigh. And then she made us take family photos. 

Ways to Give Back This Season

Last week I wrote about  being Thankful while our world is going through so much. Today I'm sharing a few different organizations that you can donate to and can give you some ideas for other types of ways to get involved.

1. Operation Christmas Child 
This is a pretty traditional Christmas opportunity, but it is so much fun to do! I love imagining the faces of the little kids when they get all the boxes. How fun would it be to actually go and deliver them?! Maybe that should be a 2016 Goal? You can also volunteer at one of the centers to make sure all the boxes are packed properly. Check out their whole website for videos and stories.

2. Sole Hope
I hear about this one through a podcast recently (although I think it was recorded earlier this year).  This is a company (and family) based in Uganda that helps put shoes on the feet of the community. They also help rid the people of these little annoying bugs called jiggers. The community didn't realize how easy it was to rid their feet of these bugs, but now they do! Here's how you can get involved - have a shoe cutting party! They will send you patterns, and you and your family or group of girlfriends can help cut fabric for the shoes these people will wear. You can even do it while watching your favorite TV shows, or Hallmark Christmas movie marathons :-)

3. City of Refuge (Atlanta)
This is a really cool place in Atlanta that offers so many different services to those in need. Click here to see all the programs they offer at their facilities. I've volunteered with them before and they can always use the help, so if you can't donate money, donate your time. If you're not in Atlanta, look for places similar in your area where you can donate your time.

4. The A21 Campaign
This one is a bit more on the somber side. The A21 Campaign is led by Christine Caine and their purpose is to rescue women from sex trafficking. They are also currently on the front lines of the Refugee Crisis and are offering hope to those who are forced to flee their homeland. There are several ways you can get involved with this organization. I might even start one of their fundraiser campaigns for SGG readers. Would you want to be a part of it? (email > alliedanae@southerngritsandgraces.com)

Here are some other simple things you can do to bring cheer this Christmas.
1. Get a group together and go Christmas Caroling around your city, or to a children's or nursing home.
2. Buy Starbucks (or any drive-through) for the people behind you.
3. Pass out candy-canes to the people in the drive through or those working the registers at your favorite grocery/department stores (My mom does this and they love it!) Customers can get a bit rude this time of year, so its fun to make them smile.
4. Babysit for couples you know to give them time to Christmas shop without the kids.

I hope you'll consider one of these organizations this Christmas, or some that are closer to your heart and home.