Merry Christmas from Us!



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This Christmas Eve, we wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and share with you some of our team’s favorite Christmas memories. We’d love to hear your favorite memories, too! Leave them as a comment at the end of the post. Enjoy your time with family and friends, and thank you for being a part of our lives in 2014. We’re so excited to begin the new year and see what lies ahead for 4word!


What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?



Diane Paddison, founder of 4word

As a kid, I grew up super excited when my grandma and grandpa put an orange and $25 in a real sock for Christmas, so that will give you some context. I have two brothers and one sister. Mom and Dad rarely had wrapped presents under the tree. On Christmas Eve, my older brother Greig, my younger sister Becky, and I would drink a lot of water, so we would have to come downstairs and go to the bathroom during the night. (We had 1 and ½ bathrooms for 6 of us.) We would sneak down the stairs and see the amazing gifts that Santa Claus had left us, then goIMG_2484 back upstairs and go to sleep. Sometimes my parents caught us, but we made it without a squeak or a snicker other years, and our parents thought we slept through the night until early the next morning.

After having my children Christian and Annie, we also enjoyed putting out milk and cookies for Santa before we went to bed, then loved hearing their screams when they came downstairs and saw that Santa had arrived.

Another tradition that we still do every year is make a birthday cake for Jesus. This helps us all focus on “the reason for the season.”

Sandra Crawford Williamson, 4word COO

2013-12-25 08.49.35One of my favorite Christmas memories as a child was waking up Christmas morning with my sister in our matching jammies and rushing out to see what Santa had left for us. We have continued that tradition with our children, with a little Jesus twist. On Christmas Eve, we make Jesus a birthday cake. Of course, They still all wake each other up and come downstairs together in their matching jammies. AND they still rush to the fireplace to see what Santa left in their stocking. The slight change is that Santa leaves them each three gifts, just like the Wise Men left for baby Jesus. And then we read Luke 2:1-21 and Matthew 2:9-12 together, marvel at the miracle birth…..AND at just how many cookies Santa ate.

Katie Reiff, 4word: Local Groups director

IMG_0306My favorite Christmas memory was a couple years ago when my family was sitting around our tree opening gifts Christmas morning and it started to snow! In Portland, we rarely have a white Christmas and are always secretly praying! We put on our new Christmas sweaters and colorful scarves and all ran outside to see the snow and take photos. And then, we came back inside to hot cocoa and watched it fall out the windows with the Christmas tree all lit up inside. I was pretty sure Christmas couldn’t get better than that- a lovely cozy setting, family, and a little crazy dancing in the snow!

Jordan Johnstone, Writer/Editor for 4word 

163294_10150119163240935_2677965_nWhen you have 7 children, Christmas can be a little overwhelming, especially for your wallet. To combat this, my parents decided to give each of us envelopes for each sibling with $15 in it. We then went shopping as a group and bought Christmas presents to give each other with “our own” money. Looking back, it was a pretty brilliant move on my parent’s part: knock out the majority of your Christmas shopping AND only spend $15 at a time.

This tradition helped me and my siblings appreciate the art of giving, not getting, at Christmas and it is something that I would love to carry on with my children someday.

Avery Dale, Editor & Project Coordinator for 4word

120 (2)My favorite part of Christmas, growing up and now, is seeing all of my extended family. My cousins and I are very close, and although we don’t wear matching Christmas outfits courtesy of Lands’ End catalogs anymore, we love spending every hour together during the holidays. A few years ago, Gramma made us all personalized miniature Christmas trees. She chose ornaments and decorations that reflected our unique personalities and interests. I love the bright colored tinsel and airplane, travel, and Auburn ornaments on my tree! I look forward to setting it up every year and seeing the love and care that Gramma put into it!

Ashley Diaz, Social Media

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One of my favorite Christmas memories as a child was being able to open up a special gift on Christmas eve night. There was always so much excitement in opening up a gift early, we thought we were the luckiest kids in the world! As I grew older, my parents would allow us to open our presents at midnight, so it was fun trying to stay awake to open them. That did not always work in our favor, but I think my parents loved watching us struggle to stay up! I don’t have children yet, but I plan to keep this fun tradition around in my family.


We also love Paul Harvey’s story “The Man and The Birds!” Such a beautiful analogy of how God used Jesus, the real reason for Christmas, to be among His children.