A season of gratitude and giving

A season of gratitude and giving | World Vision Blog

The Macomber family meets with an HIV support group in Kenya and gives Knit for Kids sweaters to distribute within the community. (Photo: 2014 Lindsey Minerva/World Vision)

A holiday message from author Debbie Macomber: see the top five Macomber family traditions that help make sure that Christ is the focal point of their Christmas!

What are your Christmas family traditions?


Is that the sound of Christmas music I’m hearing? ‘Tis the season for sure with Thanksgiving right around the corner—a season of gratitude. As G. K. Chesterton reminds us, “Gratitude is the mother of all virtues.”

Right on the heels of Thanksgiving comes Christmas, which just happens to be my most favorite time of the year. Our family has a number of holiday traditions. One of the highlights of the season for me is baking cookies with the grandkids and making those once-a-year candies. What’s Christmas without fudge and divinity?

But more importantly, what’s Christmas without Jesus?

It’s empty.



That’s one reason why I am determined as a woman of faith to make sure that Christ is the focal point of our family Christmas. I do this in a number of ways.

A season of gratitude and giving | World Vision Blog
Debbie’s Yarn room tree with a Nativity around its base. (Photo: Debbie Macomber)

1. Nativity scenes. I speculate that there are fifty or more set up all around the house. My husband jokes that you can’t visit the guest bathroom without the baby Jesus watching every move you make. I’ve collected nativity sets for years, and family and friends know how dear they are to my heart and make a point of collecting them for me.

2. Christmas letter. For as long as Wayne and I have been married, I’ve written a Christmas letter and do a brief synopsis of the year. At the end of the letter, I share a Bible verse, one that I have prayerfully considered to share with family and friends. It’s a subtle way of sharing my faith with those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

3. Christmas cards. When purchasing our family Christmas cards, I opt for the ones with a scene that reflects my faith. Forget Santa or Frosty the Snowman. Give me Mary and Joseph or the Wise Men or Shepherds and Angels. And the stamp, again, is one that reflects my faith and the Reason for the Season.

4. Remembering those less fortunate. One of the fun things I do with the grandkids is take them shopping … for others. We collect the names off of a Giving Tree. Then I give the grandkids cash and set them loose in a local store to let them shop for that child. I am humbled by their thoughtfulness and the way they search out the best buys, stretching those dollars as far as they can. Then if required, we take their purchases home and wrap them and return the gifts to the tree. It’s important that children learn the joy of giving, and this is one small way that I’ve helped instill that in them.

A season of gratitude and giving | World Vision Blog
The Macomber grandchildren. (Photo: Debbie Macomber)


5. Gifts. As a country, we are blessed beyond measure. If I had ever questioned that, it was made clear on our trip to Kenya with World Vision. We arrived in a town of 50,000 where there were few (very few!) paved roads and just a scattering of traffic lights. Material wealth, however, doesn’t bring joy. Yes, there are plenty of packages under the tree, but there is something else, too. Each one of the grandchildren receives something from my husband and me that comes from the World Vision Gift Catalog. For years, it was their birthday gift. We let them choose a gift for another child in another country. This last year, I switched it up a bit and sponsored a child through World Vision that was born on the same day as they were. (Not the year, just the date.) A child who was born into poverty and in need of an education, medical care, and a spiritual foundation.

A season of gratitude and giving | World Vision Blog
Debbie gives 8-year-old Josiah a new sweater in Kenya. (Photo: 2014 Lindsey Minerva/World Visoin)


World Vision is a big help to me in keeping Christ in Christmas.

Yes, that’s Christmas music I’m hearing. It’s Joy to the World, the Savior is born!

This Christmas, express the joy of the season and share in the big dreams of children and families around the world! Give a gift through our Gift Catalog today.


    Debbie, What a great legacy you are passing on to your family and friends. Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas!

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