Simplifying Christmas | Simple Family Memory Making

Cara christmas, giveaway, Simplify 51 Comments

Simplifying Christmas
Do you break out in hives just thinking about the craziness and chaos that comes with Christmas? It doesn’t have to be that way. Inspirational authors Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin, and Tricia Goyer share about Christmas’ past in their new novella collection Where Treetops Glisten. Their three stories “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” will take you back to war-time 1942, 1943, and 1944. The authors have also teamed up to give tips on simplifying Christmas this year! Join us  December 1-6 on Not Quite Amish Living for the Simplifying Christmas series.

Simple Family Memory Making

by Tricia Goyer

Christmas for the Goyers mean large family gatherings. My husband, John, came up with this simple and interactive idea.
Below is the Scripture passage of the birth of Jesus. Notice some of the words are bolded. Each of the bolded words have a “sound effect” that go with them.


Print out the story and the sound effects on slips of paper and have family members draw them from a jar. Then as the Bible story is read, everyone must pay attention and say their sound effect at the right time.

When a bolded word in the story is spoken, reader must pause to allow the participant assigned the word to call out their part. For instance, when the word Jesus is read, pause to allow the assigned participant to call out, “God Saves.”

This allows for reader and listeners to participate in the Christmas story. Feel free to change the call out phrase to fit the audience of participants.

It’s a fun way to share the Bible Story and get family members of all ages involved!



Gabriel = Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Joseph = a righteous man & daddy
Mary = blessed among women
Jesus = God saves
Birth = ouchie ouchie
Immanuel = God is with us
Baby = wwaahhh!
Census = More Taxes
Bethlehem = Town of David
David = Heart after God
Manger = Chomp Chomp Chomp
Shepherds = baaa baaa
Herod = I am evil (in an evil voice)
Wise men = hmmmm (stroking chin)


To read the rest of the tips and a free downloadable form, click here.

What would you add to these suggestions?

WTG apron bookMy publisher has created three wonderful gift baskets. Each basket contains

    • Copy of Where Treetops Glisten
    • Christmas DVD – Holiday Inn Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire
    • Christmas CD (includes all the book title songs) – “A Jolly Christmas” Frank Sinatra
    • Apron made from vintage pattern
    • Recipe cards from each character

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments 51

  1. What a truly lovely idea.
    My favorite cookie recipe is for gingerbread cookies. When baking these the house suddenly smells so delicious and the smell reminds me of childhood memories. My family prefers my cream cheese cookies

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  2. Every year (since my daughter was very young) we have made peppernuts for Christmas. After 20+ years, I’m tempted to not make them, but it is a tradition that is important to my daughter, so it’s also very important to me. I make the dough and refrigerate it the first day. We have a good time rolling it out into long “snakes” or “ropes” the second day. We sometimes recruit my son to help with this. They go into the freezer until we have time to bake, usually on another day. When we are ready to bake, we have to slice the ropes into tiny pieces. It’s quite a time-consuming process (so that’s why they are made only once a year) but we have fun. We have family members who look forward to them every year.

  3. My favorite cookie is the Cowboy cookie, it has everything in it, chips, nuts, m&m’s, coconut & anything else that sounds good. It makes a lot of cookies…

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  4. I tweeted a few days ago that this recipe was my son’s favorite Christmas cookie recipe.

    My personal favorite are Mexican Wedding Cakes. It’s the only time of year that I make them.

    Amy mentioned fudge and that brought back memories of my grandpa’s homemade peanut butter fudge. Ah.. I miss them both.

  5. My favorite christmas cookie is snickerdoodles. I found a recipe for a christmas snickerdoodle using red and green sugar, they are so easy to make and they are soft cookies.
    Thanks for your awesome giveaway. God bless you and Merry Christmas.

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  6. I found out this summer that I’m lactose intolerant, so I’m sort of dreading this season’s cookies/meals. However, I did just discover peanut brittle which is just delicious!

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  7. My favorite Christmas cookie is the peanut butter kiss cookies. I really can’t keep them in the house as I just eat them until gone! 😉
    Blessings and wishing you and yours a Beautiful Christmas season!

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  8. I have 2 favorites…both of them my mother made every year for Christmas. The first is an icebox oatmeal cookie, the 2nd is called Swedish Ginger Cookies.

  9. I love Peanut Blossoms! They’re simple, but they’re our favorite! Just peanut butter cookies with a hersheys’s kiss pressed into the top.

    I enjoyed Where Treetops Glisten so much!!

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  10. Sugar cookies with nutmeg ~ an old recipe from a small town along The Great River Road, following the Mississippi River through 33 river towns, where if you blink, you’ve missed it. A friend of our family passed it on and there are so many memories with these cookies through the years!
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    The secret ingredient that makes it a little different is the nutmeg.

  11. i love sugar cookies and shortbread cookies. there are just so many variations of recipes that i don’t really have a favorite. there is one shortbread one that adds nuts so it tastes a lot like Keeblers Pecan Sandies

  12. Hi Cara,

    As I was wrapping presents today, I ran back across the bookplates you sent me (for my books and the one I’m sending to a relative). Thank you again! They’re beautiful and look great in the front cover of the books.

    My favorite cookie recipe to use around Christmastime is for no-bake Cocoa Cookies. They’re always a favorite around here.

    Andrea’s Cocoa Cookies
    2 cups sugar
    1 stick butter
    2 1/2 cups oats
    1/2 cup milk
    4 tsp cocoa
    about 1 Tbsp peanut butter

    Combine sugar and cocoa together in saucepan. Stir in milk until mixed well. Add butter and cook on medium high heat until butter is melted, stirring often. Then, let boil for 1 1/2 minutes (watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over; adjust heat as necessary, making sure to keep the boil going). Remove from heat and add peanut butter and oats. Mix well.

    Spoon out onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Let them sit until firm. Enjoy!

    Note: If it’s cool/cold outside, no matter how high your heat is up indoors, these cookies tend to take a while (sometimes a day or two) to set. So make early and keep fresh in an airtight container.

    Have a great Christmas season, Cara. May your family make new memories together. 🙂


  13. I really don’t have a favorite Christmas Cookie. Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Raisin are year round favorites.

  14. My mother used to make a cookie called “Soft Cookie” We didn’t know it by any other name. She always made them for Christmas and we think it was a recipe of her making.

    I recently asked my sister for Mom’s old recipe book so I could copy the Soft Cookie recipe. I was shocked to find one important ingredient missing from the recipe AND no mixing instructions!

    Mom never included the amount of flour in the recipe. I remember these cookies not only took quite a bit of flour but you also needed flour for rolling them out.

    Recently my brother and his wife tried to make this recipe and according to my sister didn’t come close Mom’s cookies.

    It was a cookie we always looked forward to. I can still see her tossing a little flour over the dough as she rolled the it out for the cookie cutters. She always let us use the cookie cutters too.

    I think I might try my hand at the Soft Cookie recipe this year. Just to see how close I can get.

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      Oh no! That’s terrible that she didn’t include the flour. Good luck recreating it! It must be one of those where the amount of flour fluctuates based on the humidity or something.

  15. Every year I made my usual cookies and try a few new to me recipes. One year I made banana cookies, they were pretty good but too moist. They were the consistency of banana bread. Another year I made lemon cookies for Christmas wth lemon frosting, very good. My all time favorites are peanut butter blossoms.

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