We want to take the time to wish you a very Merry Christmas! This year, the staff was eager to share with you our Christmas favorites and traditions. Enjoy!
Diane Paddison; Founder
Favorite Christmas Song: Silent Night
Favorite Christmas Movie: Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
Best gift ever given: Memories. Each year I give my kids an alone trip with me. We have done this since the kids were 5 years old.
Best gift ever received: Mine is two part – My daughter, Annie, when she was deathly sick last year, made a beautiful entry way plaque for our new home. The fact that she focused on giving when she was in a lot of pain means so much to me. Most importantly, God also blessed us with her gastro paresis going away in Dec 2012. She is still rebuilding back to health, but it is a miracle to see where she is today versus a year ago.
Favorite Christmas tradition: Each year we make a birthday cake for Jesus. It is our way of remembering in a real way that God came to earth as a man just like you and me.
It is all about family and celebrating the birth of our Lord. With our kids all being in college or older, we really look forward to having everyone in one place for at least 4 or 5 days. We haven’t all been together since August. I can’t wait.
Sandra Crawford Williamson; COO
Favorite Christmas Song: Angels We Have Heard on High because Jenna, my 8 year old, regularly sings it as a solo in Christmas programs
Favorite Christmas Movie: The children (Jenna 8, Jonah 4, and James 2) and I love roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and watching the movie version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas together
Favorite Christmas Treat: my sister’s homemade peanut butter balls
Best Gift Ever Given: My current “go to” gift that I have ordered again and again this year for LOTS of different people (from 10 to 70 years old) is the Snugg iPad Cover and Flip Stand cases in every color (even hot pink)….if my hubby AND I love the same product, you know it rocks.
Best Gift Ever Received: My husband takes each of our children individually to Mardel (fab Christian book/gift store) and they shop together for Mommy. Jenna (8) is the type that spends over an hour looking at each and every option. Jonah (4) is so sweet but doesn’t have as much patience. And this year, James (2) gets his first turn. So, whether it was the wind chime, Christmas ornament, snow globe, bracelet, or new Bible, I would have to say my favorites are the ones the children choose themselves on their Daddy Shopping Trip.
Christmas Tradition: Well, now that we have these 3 wonderful children, we do all of the fun kid stuff. We have a Little People nativity set that the children love setting up over and over again and telling each other the story of our savior’s birth. We have a few different Advent Calendars that we enjoy, an Elf on the Shelf named Belle, we leave cookies and Capri Sun out for Santa (Jenna says the milk will get warm), and we make reindeer food out of oatmeal and glitter and scatter all over our yard. We also read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible on Christmas Eve night in our matching pajamas.
Christmas Wish: Well, you see I did not get married until I was 36 because I was having a monogamous relationship with my career. So, I never thought I would have children and then BLAM, the Lord is amazing. He gave me a fantastic husband and three beautiful children. Now there was an amazing journey to get there, but every step of the way, God was there and reminded me that I am His. After a 20+ year career of working crazy hours, and being there for everyone else, God has now led me down a new path…..the path less chosen. This year, I walked away from corporate America and the perks that go along with it and have joined 4word as the COO. I have never been more fulfilled, at peace, and excited. So this year, I am especially thankful to each of you, professional, Christian women that are trying to balance your three-legged stool of family, faith, and career because with you is the only place where I feel I belong. Merry Christmas!!!
Katie Reiff; Director of Local Groups
Favorite Christmas Song: O Holy Night
Favorite Christmas Movie: White Christmas
Favorite Christmas Treat: This year, my grandma’s Scottish Shortbread
Best gift ever given: A professional photo shoot of our family tradition of Christmas Tea for Mom
Best gift ever received: American Girl doll, Samantha, at age 6
Christmas tradition or Christmas wish: Little Christmas Eve, Dec 23, when we make & eat Aebleskivers (small round pancakes). We are Danish!
This year, I am trying to make a better effort (don’t read perfect) at observing Advent and using Ann Voskamp’s book “The Greatest Gift” to daily remember the meaning in each day- and be thankful for God’s life changing, life saving gift to us in Jesus.
Trina Lee; Mentor Program Manager
Favorite Christmas Song: Go Tell it on the Mountain
Favorite Christmas Treat: Terry’s Chocolate Orange
Best Gift Ever Given: Inspired by a blog post from Becky Higgins, for a few years I gave my married family members/friends and their families a “love notes” box, which included my favorite pen, Post-it notes, and York Peppermint Patties, along with a note encouraging them to love one another through the gift of words. I’ll occasionally hear from recipients who are still using the gift, after refilling their Post-it stash.
Christmas tradition: I love our family’s Christmas Eve tradition. After going to Christmas Eve service, we have pizza and egg nogg for dinner–simple and easy. Personally, I also start listening the Christmas music in October and have the tradition of buy one new Christmas CD a year.
Jordan Johnstone; Marketing Copywriter
Favorite Christmas Song: Stille Nacht by Mannheim Steamroller
Favorite Christmas Movie: A Christmas Story
Favorite Christmas Treat: Gingerbread Men (and Women!)
Best gift ever given: A professional picture of me and my siblings that we surprised my parents with
Best gift ever received: The Kitchen Aid mixer my husband gave me our first married Christmas together
Favorite Christmas tradition: Stringing popcorn and cranberries to put on the tree
Betsy Grey; Graphic Designer
Favorite Christmas Song: Ave Maria
Favorite Christmas Movie: While You Were Sleeping
Favorite Christmas Treat: Meringue Chocolate Chip Cookies
Best gift ever given: Pulling off a big surprise anniversary party for my parents’ 25th in New York in spite of snowy travel weather, along with my 5 siblings and family friends from all over the country.
Best gift ever received: A set of Neiman Marcus candles nested in gorgeous red boxes and trimmed with a little picture frame from a guy I’d only been out with a few times … a luxurious surprise early in a new relationship. (He was a keeper). After the date, I stayed up all night baking treats so I would have a gift for him by morning, when he drove me to the airport for my Christmas flight home.
Favorite Christmas Tradition: A Christmas memory … My parents always set out a nativity set with Mary and Joseph and an empty crib. On Christmas morning, the baby Jesus would turn up in that crib and we thought that was just magical.
Amy Wilson; Social Media Consultant
Favorite Christmas Song: Music is so important to me that I can’t pick just one. My favorite Christmas song changes from year to year. This year, I am loving “All Is Well” by Michael W Smith. I just rediscovered his Christmas collection.
Favorite Christmas Movie: It’s a tie between Love Actually and A Muppet Christmas Carol.
Favorite Christmas Treat: Homemade chocolate peppermint bark
Favorite Christmas Tradition: Cooking our Christmas dinner with my sisters, mom, grandma, aunt, whoever is over to the house that year. I grew up cooking with my mom and sisters. Now that I’ve moved away, having everyone together again is fun.
Cindi Pritchett; Writer and Editor
Favorite Christmas Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Favorite Christmas Treat: Pumpkin Roll and Gingerbread Lattes
Best gift ever given: At 17, I made a king-sized quilt for my mom.
Best gift ever received: My husband and I live far away from both families. Our first Christmas together, we were blessed to spend a day with his family, and then vacation with my family in New Orleans! It was a fun year that focused more on time with family than on presents.
Favorite Christmas tradition: Growing up, my neighbors coordinated a Christmas party for our street every year. We would meet at a home on the end of the street, then walk to all of our neighbors and Christmas carol on their door steps! It brought our neighbors such joy. After caroling, we would enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and other goodies at my neighbor’s house. It was a great way to bring the neighborhood together at Christmas.
Ashley Diaz; Digital Team Social Media Strategist
Favorite Christmas Movie: My favorite Christmas movie is ELF and my favorite song is also in the movie ELF, “Baby it’s cold outside.” It doesn’t seem to matter the artist, version or arrangement- I love that song any way possible!
Favorite Christmas Treat: Growing up with a baker for a mom, I have lots of favorite Christmas treats. But my all time favorite has to be these Spanish cookies called Polvorones. They are basically mini sugar cookies with sprinkles baked into them. We used to make them as a family growing up and it was always on my list of favorite things to do at Christmastime.
Best gift ever given: I love to give gifts! Usually I will do small handmade gifts that come from the heart. As a kid I can remember staying up late to make friendship bracelets for every kid in my class. One year when my husband and I were just dating I spent a few weeks coming up with a list of 100 reasons why I loved him. He still keeps the letter in his memory box.
Best gift ever received: As a little girl, I think the best gift I ever received was my awesome Easy Bake Oven. I am not sure how many awful treats I stuffed down my brothers throats, but they were always so kind to eat them without complaint. My favorite gift recently was my KindleFire as I am a avid and unashamed book junkie!
Christmas tradition: Growing up my parents would let us open one present at midnight! It was always so much fun trying to stay awake to open presents with my brothers. It is a tradition that I would love to continue with my children one day.