Book It! Celebrate Simply (and a Giveaway!)


Last year was a pretty tight year financially for us. As I mentioned before, we realized some new ways of thinking about money which have really benefited our family. We learned to cut back and get by with less. And life has proven to be just as rich and full as it was before.

But, since I love Christmas and all the accessories, it was a little tough come holiday time. We did without things that I had previously thought were “necessities.” No Christmas cards??! No trips to the movie theater?? No gifts for everyone we ever met and his brother, too?

Yet life went on.

And we enjoyed the season.

We had less stuff, but I had more joy about it. Hmmm….perhaps there’s a connection here?

One thing that helped was doing a little advance reading to prepare my mindset. A Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas as well Unplug the Christmas Machine were both really helpful in thinking about ways to simplify and enjoy the season more.

There really is a war out there. A war for your money. A war for your loyalty. A war for your peace of mind. Ok, maybe the marketers aren’t purposefully after your peace of mind. But, they do spend 364 days of the year developing ways to convince you that you need to have a Wii or a Tickle-Me-Elmo or whatever the newest fad is this year waiting under the Christmas tree.

Your peace of mind is one of the costs to getting sucked into the commercialism of the Christmas holiday. And you have be prepared to fight this war. Otherwise, you’ll stress yourself silly in December and still be paying for all those Christmas “have-to-haves” come this time next summer.

You must be prepared for the onslaught of commercialism!

In that vein, I am excited to share a great resource that I just came across, the book, Celebrate Simply: Your Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions by Nancy Twigg.

In a down-to-earth writing style, Nancy presents practical and inspiring suggestions to simplifying all your celebrations. This book provides clever ways to

  • Give meaningful gifts that are within your means
  • Add spiritual significance to your celebrations
  • Undo a history of holiday and special occasion overspending
  • Extend hospitality without the stress of trying to impress guests
  • Give one of the most precious gifts everβ€”the gift of your time

As my good buddy Dave says about the book, “Not only will Celebrate Simply teach you how to save money, it will also show you how to enrich and add meaning to your celebrations as well.”

It’s important to do some serious thinking and planning about how to make this Christmas thing more joyful. And I think this book will help you do it.

Nancy has very generously provided an autographed copy of the book to one LifeasMOM reader! Yeah! In order to keep this first giveaway simple, just leave a comment on this post. Contest closes Tuesday night at 6 pm CST. The winner will be chosen at random.


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  1. I found your blog this last week and have loved what I have read! I am a new wife here in Kansas City and we are trying to begin our new life simply and being very good with our finances. I too love Christmas and would love a copy of this book! Combining simplicity with Christmas — how amazing!

    — Vanessa

  2. My husband and I are Dave Ramsey fans and currently in the Debt Snowball process. We will be doing Christmas very simply this year! Sounds like a neat book πŸ™‚ Thanks for the encouraging words on your blog.

  3. This book could not be any more timely! My husband and I were just discussing holidays and the point of dissention that they have become because of the expectations surrounding gifts. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

  4. sockiepuppetsmom says:

    I found your blog a couple of weeks ago, can’t remember how, but I am so glad I did. TTFS! I just started my Christmas list today:)

  5. mommagurl32 says:

    I want one! I am already feeling a little apprehension about Christmas since we have all the boys to buy for and then both sets of parents and then my grandparents and then we also draw names on my side of the family and then teachers at their school (and their aides) oh and Kyle sister and her husband and daughter. Am I forgetting someone…? Anywho, you get my point!

  6. hipmama says:

    I found your blog through MSM and have really enjoyed it over the past few weeks. I love the idea of starting to think about Christmas now and look forward to this week’s posts.

  7. Shannon says:

    I attended a workshop last November based on “Unplug the Christmas Machine”. It was so interesting. I’d love to be the lucky winner of this giveaway!

  8. I love simple! I also like to plan Christmas early so I can enjoy the season…so I would love to win a copy of this book. I love your blog, too.

  9. Jim & Maria Hart, Realtors says:

    This is such a timely giveaway! My husband and I search the sales all throughout the year to prepare for Christmas, but it seems that there is always someone new to buy for with every new year. I would LOVE to simplify the season, and I think this would be a great starting point! Thanks!

  10. I am enjoying your blog!

  11. I’ve been lurking and reading for quite a while. I love your blog!

    I’m always looking for ways to cut back and still keep the meaning and “quality” of an event. Christmas is always a hard time of year for me to cut back. I would love a copy of this book!

    Thanks so much for all you do!

  12. jenniferbennett says:

    I would love to read this book! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for blogging…Yours is one of my favorites!!!

  13. i love your blog. i’m really trying to live more simply. thanks for all your tips and advice. -hayley

  14. sux0rz1 says:

    I love Christmas! This last Christmas was tough; both my mom and my father-in-law were in the hospital with critical conditions. Talk about a perspective change! We were just so grateful to have our parents and didn’t bother much with the hussle and bussle of the season. I would love this book!

  15. Melissa P. says:

    that sounds like a great book! i would love to win it! looking forward to all the christmas celebrations!

  16. I found you through Biblical Womanhood a few weeks ago…and I love your blog. Ah Christmas, I am forever trying to simplify Christmas and concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas – I can always use more ideas – the book looks great.

  17. Heather says:

    Oh this sounds like a wonderful resource — I am crossing my fingers that I win! It is so easy to get carried away during the holiday season — I would love to find ways to celebrate in a meaningful way and not feel guilty about what I am not doing! Thanks for the opportunity!

  18. BusyMom says:

    I really enjoy your blog. I think this book sounds like a great read and would love the opportunity to win it.


  19. Christina says:

    I just recently stumbled upon your blog and have thoroughly enjoyed it! Can’t wait for the Christmas ideas!

  20. I ALWAYS get caught up in some “have-to”s that I regret financially. Ugh! Sounds like the perfect book for this Christmas season!

  21. With 10 children, ages 20 down to 19 mos., I am always trying to simplfy more and more.
    We work really hard to focus on the birth of Christ during the Advent season.
    I’d love the opportunity to read this book.

  22. What a great giveaway, and it would really come in handy. This year we have decided to cut back, to remember the true meaning of Christmas not the all the gifts and then the headache of the bills that come to follow.

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks so much.

  23. This is great! I always get stessed out trying to figure out how to give gifts to our extended family members when the extended family keeps getting bigger and bigger. I want to be generous, but it’s hard to do so within our income. Thanks for the encouragement – you’ve got me thinking about next year already.

  24. michellenotdawn says:

    Oh, wow, what a timely giveaway. This would be a huge blessing, and really help me explain to my (wealthier) family why we’re doing what we’re doing.

  25. mrherman22 says:

    those sound like good books.

  26. HeatherC says:

    Just found you a few weeks ago and as a fellow ex- santa barbaran I really connect with your writing! I would appreciate the chance to read this book and share it with our family. We are the poster kids for holiday overspending πŸ™‚

  27. stampinstars says:

    Thanks Fish Mama for your down to earth & funny posts about life, family, saving money, and all that other good stuff! On the off chance that I don't win the book, I am definitely going to be purchasing it!

    Thanks again…Erin

  28. Simple would be nice! The book sounds great. How nice to have an autographed copy for a giveaway! Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. It’s seems like the holiday comes and goes with so much energy being exhausted. You blink and it’s over. Thanks for the fun Christmas in July posts!

  29. Please enter me in your contest, FishMamma! I am enjoying your Christmas in July posts.

    Have a blessed day! Tami

  30. Briana Almengor says:

    You’re really gathering a following, girl! πŸ™‚
    If I don’t win the book, I’ll be looking this one up at our library. LA and I are hoping to begin applying more diligently the “TMM” principles come this September, so Christmas will be included in on that. I’ll need inspiration and ideas for how to do Christmas more simply (and cost efficiently). πŸ™‚

  31. I would love one. I am always trying to simplify the holidays!


  32. kdawnchristian says:

    I am so glad I found your blog. I love reading your stories. Thanks for the chance to win this book. I have my fingers crossed!!

  33. Mama Koala says:

    We are on baby step 2 of our TMMO, and this would help us stay focused around the holidays. Thanks for the chance to win!

  34. Luke and Stacie says:

    Love your blog Jessica! I am really excited to read this week’s posts about simplifying Christmas. Luke and I try to keep things as simple as possible, but I am always looking for more ways to make the holiday even more significant and less stressful. This book looks great–if I don’t win it I will be looking for it on Amazon!

  35. Zimms Zoo says:

    Oh I would love it. We are frugal when it comes to Christmas and have found that one big present for all of them seems to be just the ticket. One a year a trampoline. One year a fort. I do have to admit that this year it will probably be the Wii. But for 6kids all to share, we still come out ahead.

  36. AG'smoma says:

    I just recently found your blog and am really enjoying it. I can’t wait to follow this series on Christmas!

  37. Matt and Betty Morris says:

    I would LOVE to win this book. This is my husband’s and my first Christmas together (we live in different cities right now, due to school and jobs). We would love to start our family out right, saving money and not blowing it. Thanks!

  38. Thrifty and chic mom says:

    I am very excited to hear your thoughts on a simpler more focused Christmas. The season gets overwhelmed and the meaning is often lost in the shuffle. While I shop year round to cut costs, this year I am looking for more homemade pesonal ways to celebrate the season instead of store bought gifts.

  39. Courtney says:

    What a great giveaway! I love Christmas! I love books too!

  40. This looks like a great book! I would love to read it!

  41. I have been longing to make Christmas a simpler, more meaningful holiday. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s tips and suggestions. πŸ™‚ That book sounds like it is just what I need.

    Thanks for doing this give away!


  42. I am so looking forward to being organized for Christmas. It will be wonderful to focus on a spiritual holiday, and spend time enjoying God and our family.
    I love taking on projects like this! It’ll be fun and rewarding.
    Thanks for putting it together!

  43. I hope I’m not exempt from entering this contest. I don’t want anyone accusing you of nepotism again! πŸ™‚ Now is a great time for me to read and plan for Christmas since things are finally slowing down here. I’ll be checking out the blog — I missed it while I was on vacation.

  44. I’d love to win this book…thanks!

  45. Amanda T says:

    Thanks for entering me and thanks for getting me thinking about Christmas. I’m taking action now! (lol)

  46. ScrapCrazy says:

    I love Christmas! I have deffinately had a few tight ones. There are always special memories, no matter how little we spend.

  47. Rich, Stacey & Lillian says:

    OOh, OOh, pick me!

  48. Kristinia - Loving Heart Mommy says:

    I’ve always loved Christmas but now its more for the kids than myself or my hubby. I love being able to start traditions with the kids, teaching them the real reason for the season, attending church events, and spreading love and good cheer!

    phillipsonlygirl (at) gmail (dot) com

  49. Senn Family says:

    Thanks so much for your “real life” blog. I have been inspired and encouraged in my own “life as mom.” The Christmas book looks great. Please enter me in the drawing!

  50. Oh how I need to learn to simplify all year long!

  51. Sounds like a great book – thanks!

  52. Thanks for the great ideas on simplying Christmas and making it both more meaningful and joyful. I hope to put some of these ideas into practice this year!

  53. Ooh, enter me please!

  54. Jen Clemmer says:

    Sounds like a great book! Can’t wait to read it!

  55. phoward336 says:

    I would love to win this book – it's great to start thinking about Christmas now – last year we had everything "done" by Thanksgiving and it was so much less stressful!

  56. leah ramirez says:

    What a wonderful idea!! I am so excited to plan christmas early this year and take some of the last minute stress off of the holiday.

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