When It’s Time to Break Tradition- Why the Christmas Wish List Needs to Go Away


My middle son had saved his birthday gift cards and finally redeemed them for a new DS game, which arrived in the mail on a Monday. We have a no electronics rule during the week, so he knew he would look at that game until Friday rolled around. But he also is quite crafty with words. “Hey, Mom, you know it’s a tradition that when I buy a new game, I play it the same day I get it.”  He stopped talking then raised his eyes to meet mine.

“Impressive, my boy!”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how I feel about traditions. Nice choice of words to try to persuade my heart over my head. Well played. But no.”

Traditions are a critical part of family life. Sometimes we need to break tradition, though. Sometimes, a tradition needs to be replaced.

Before our family became intentional with keeping Christ at the center of Christmas, we would encourage our boys to make a Christmas wish list of everything they wanted. Want to create a monster? This is a good way to do it! They begin to obsess about what they want. One of my boys would become greatly stressed about having to come up with material things he wanted because his nature is not to focus on these things. It was very uncomfortable for him. Expectations became too high to meet.

Just because something is a tradition doesn’t mean we are bound to it. Sometimes a tradition needs to change shape.

So we got rid of the Christmas wish lists. We don’t ask for them. We don’t even discuss them anymore. We did replace them with another kind of list. A treasure hunting list we are keeping for the true gifts of Christmas.

Sometimes the gifts don’t appear in plain sight. Sometimes the gifts aren’t wrapped in Pinterest posed packages. Sometimes the gifts aren’t extravagant. Sometimes the gifts are quiet, subtle, unnoticeable…..unless you are hunting for them.

The Christmas season is here. In America it can’t be missed. On one hand this leaves me grateful. On the other hand, I am saddened when I see what aspects of Christmas receive the most attention, the most hype. Typically those same things are what silently robs us of joy and leaves us panting for rest, finishing the season with a big, “Whew, we survived.”

Oh, friends, my heart is filled with this passion for honoring Christ as Christmas. He didn’t come to burden us with to-do’s. He came to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

He came to do. He doesn’t need our to-do’s.  

Instead of filling our to-do’s with finding the perfect gifts for our kids, planning magical surprises to delight, scouring social media for the latest, newest, creative expression of Christmas magic, turn it over to him. Let go of the pressure to create magic. The magic is here. Waiting to be found. Hunt for it rather than burden yourself with creating it.

The flurry of Christmas buries the gifts of Christmas. The true gifts. The gifts of hope, love, peace, and joy. So we must hunt them out.

Though we do the elf hiding, the present buying, and the party hopping, I don’t want my boys to think that is Christmas. I don’t want them to think the excitement is in the temporary. The true magic of Christmas is less obvious. It’s hidden in the humble. It’s hidden in the simple. It’s hidden in the sacrifice.

We are hunting this Christmas season. Treasure hunting for the true gifts of Christmas. Hope, love, peace, and joy. Each day we are choosing one and hunting all day long. Today is love in our home. We are looking for all the ways we received love today. We are looking for all the opportunities we have to share love today.

We are making a list, checking it more than twice.

It’s a new kind of Christmas wish list. Forget the list of what they want. Make a list of what their souls need.

I don’t want my boys spending weeks pining away over endless wants for things. Things that days after Christmas will break, be shoved under a bed, be placed in a donation box. I want them to learn to seek the gifts that matter. I want them to learn what it means to give over receiving. But I want them to experience the satisfaction of receiving the gifts that matter so they are encouraged to give that to someone else.  All in the name of Christ.

We are seeking Christmas. Truly seeking Christmas by seeking the gifts of Christmas.

Would you join us in a new, simple, tradition? A treasure hunt of daily looking for the gifts He brings and the gifts He gives us to give back out. Treasure hunting takes practice and discipline.

Find the true gifts of Christmas this season. Hope, love, peace, and joy. This trumps any Christmas magic we try to create on our own. Because it’s real, it’s lasting. It’s eternal.

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Room in the inn of our heart


The innkeeper hears the knock at the door.  The long awaited guest has arrived.  He comes every year.  Quietly he knocks and waits to be invited in.

The innkeeper rushes to the door, opening wide while the wind rushes in.  He hugs the guest, takes his coat and welcomes him inside.

“Please make yourself at home.  We are busy preparing for you.  And we are so excited you have come.”

The guest takes in the sights and sounds.  Enticing scents invite him in further.  He listens to the excited chatter of the guests around him.  Guests here to honor him.  They are all busy hustling about.  Decorations are underway, preparations are being made.

The air is festive and bright.  Joy abounds around him.

The guests know he is there.  This is all for him.  And he waits.  They move all around him, but few stop to chat.  The celebrations swirl around him, for him.  A few pass by with sweet words tossed here and there.  “So glad you are here.  What a joyous occasion.  We will be with you soon.  There is still a bit to do before we can celebrate with you.”

He sits by the fire in the parlor. He waits for the guests to join him.  His eyes are transfixed on the dancing flames while the background noise rises and falls.

He would love to sit and chat for hours with these guests.  He has come for them.  They will come, he tells himself.  He realizes they are excited and caught up in their own excitement over him- they have busied themselves.

He wonders if they will be too tired to visit with him after all their setting up is complete.  He hopes not.  And he waits.  He has so much he wishes to share.  He hopes they will have time with him.  He continues watching the fire.

He watches the clock above the dancing flames.  The hands move slowly as he watches each second tick by.  The clock tells a time that signals the night has come to an end.  He moves away from the warmth of the fire where he sat all evening hoping to share stories with the guests and engage in their excitement.  It’s ok, he tells himself.  This is all because they love me and are excited to celebrate my arrival with me tomorrow.  Off to bed he goes.

The other guests and the innkeeper retire to their rooms exhausted.  Tomorrow we will celebrate they all say.

A new day dawns.  The guest rises eager to spend time with the other guests he’s come to see.  Preparations should be complete, now they will be ready to celebrate.

The fire in the parlor is growing in intensity.  He takes residence in the same spot he secured the night before, watching the flames- waiting.

The guests begin to file down the stairs.  The chatter begins again.  The festivities are underway.  He overhears their conversations.  They are speaking of him.  Yet few stop to speak to Him.  They talk of him and around him- and he waits.

His heart feels heavy as he longs for these people.  To share in their stories, to share in their festivities and laughter.

The evening draws to a close and the guest makes his way upstairs.  There was room for him at the inn that night but no space in their hearts to sit with him.

As he lay in bed reflecting he knew they loved him and had come for him.  He only wished they realized he didn’t need all the effort that went into the celebration.  He only wanted them.

He understands.  He’s patient and humble.

He waits.  Because He loves them.

Seeking Christmas is a guide for families to the One who came for each of us.  It’s a simple devotion, filled with simple activities and traditions that celebrates a simple, yet profound message.  It offers your family a unique Christmas experience centered around what truly matters in life and in this season.  If you have purchased a copy, thank you.  I’ve been praying for years for you and would love to hear from you after your family seeks Christmas together this year.  Merry Christmas!


Thankful for Music – And a Giveaway

“I remember that my dad couldn’t park the car fast enough when we were arriving at my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve. Before ever opening the front door, I knew what sights and sounds would greet me. Elvis would be singing Christmas songs in the background. Kids would laugh and chase each other around the house. Adults would be sharing stories with one another.


As the excitement waned and the evening began to draw to an end, “Silent Night” would begin to play softly. Turning to look at my aunt, I already knew what I would see. Tears would stream down her face as she quietly reflected on the lyrics of this beautiful song….”

Seeking Christmas, Renee Robinson


CD cover Christmas by Michael O’Brien

Music evokes emotion.  Music sets the mood.  Music intertwines the moments and takes them deeper.  Music tells a story.  Music creates a story.  Music celebrates.  Music mourns.  Music creates the backdrop to the story of our lives.  And music is a trigger that brings the stories back to life.

Michael O’Brien has a Christmas cd out that will add another layer of beauty to your holiday season this year.  If there is one cd you add to your Christmas collection, this is the one.  This week I’m giving away a free AUTOGRAPHED cd that Michael has graciously provided.

Giveaway Details:

I will draw a name at random on Friday, November 29th and announce the winner.  Entries must be placed by Friday, November 29th at 11:59 am.


How to enter:

  1. Like my page on Facebook
  2. Like this post on FB and share the link on FB
  3. Follow and retweet on Twitter
  4. Tweet your favorite Christmas song use #seekingchristmas
  5. Comment here on the blog your favorite holiday song and/or memory that involves music

How to Create Seeking Christmas Ornaments

My favorite element of Seeking Christmas is the ornament activity.  When you purchase Seeking Christmas, you will find instructions for using your ornaments each day as well as instructions for downloading here by signing up for email updates.

There are so many ways these ornaments can be created.  I can’t wait to see all the creations from this Christmas season.  Whether you are crafty or not, you will love creating these with your family.

When you sign up for email updates, you will receive your free download.  Ornaments can be created in sizes of 2 inch, 3 inch, or 3.5 inch.

In addition, check the Store page for all kinds of ornament info.

If you are not the crafting type, you may prefer to simply cut out the ornaments, glue the back and front sides together, tie a string and call it a day.  You can take it a step further by putting a slightly larger colored cardstock circle between the front and back pieces.  Or you can even laminate.  This is the simplest and fastest way to create these ornaments.

Some may choose to use photo insert ornaments to display the cutouts.  This involves almost no crafting.

But for the crafting lovers, we have lots of ways you can do this.  And since I’m not crafty, I am really excited for you to share with me your creations!  For now, I will share some of my materials and completed ornaments to spark some ideas for you.

Ornaments can be created with many types of materials.  Below you will see wooden circles, cork coasters, paper mache ornaments, and porcelain.  All of these items I purchased at Hobby Lobby.

For the wooden circles, just pick up a bag of eye screws (located right with the wooden circles at craft stores) and some ribbon or twine.












After selecting your ornament material, you will print your downloads.  I suggest uploading to a copy center such as Staples, Office Depot etc.  It’s 59 cents a copy.  To me it was easier.  I selected the paper weight (I suggest 110 weight white card stock), uploaded the file, and chose pickup location and time.  Print at home if that is easier for you!

Next, cut out your circles.  The super crafty people will have tools to cut perfect circles.  I used good old fashioned scissors and worked carefully.

Here are the cut outs





I then spray painted my ornaments.  So fast.  I like short cuts.  Another option is acrylic.  Both work just as well.





After paint dries completely, you will glue on the ornament cut-outs.  I use Mod Podge because I simply love it.  Just a good all in one glue and sealer.

Apply a coat of Mod Podge to each ornament and place the cut-out on the glue covered surface.







Then you seal with a coat of Mod Podge.  Simply paint it on, trying to stay in the same direction.  Let dry about 20 minutes before doing the other side.

Finished products






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Seeking Christmas Giveaways

It’s giveaway time and this week I’m giving away 1 book here.  Plus I’m giving away 3 copies through Goodreads.  So you have 2 different giveaways to enter.  Bought your copy already? Enter to give one as a gift!
To enter:

  1. Subscribe on the home page to receive Inspiration for your inbox (Bonus: you will receive a free download to create your Seeking Christmas ornaments and Seeking Christmas Journal).  This is necessary to qualify you for the giveaway here.
  2. Share on FB, Twitter or Pinterest and comment back with your links.  This gives you an additional entry
  3. Leave a comment:  Share a Christmas memory.  This gives you an additional entry.

Entries must be in by Thursday, September 5th at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be announced Friday morning.

In addition to the giveaway I’m hosting here this week, you can enter on Goodreads where I’m giving away 3 copies.  The contest is open until September 30th.  Check it out…

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seeking Christmas by Renee  Robinson

Seeking Christmas

by Renee Robinson

Giveaway ends September 30, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Barefoot Walks On The Move


It’s official.  The book has launched.  The new website is up and running.  Barefoot Walks is moving to.

Check out my new site at  Current subscribers to Barefoot Walks, please subscribe on my new website.  (You get some incredible, free stuff for use with Seeking Christmas!)