Weekly Thoughts and Tips

December 2013


ABC Christmas Gratitude

By Jessica Larsen
December 27, 2013

Christmas is a wonderful time to count our blessings, but sometimes we get stuck in a rut and name off the same few blessings over and over. Encourage creativity (and gratitude!) by playing gratitude alphabet games. Take turns and each say something you’re grateful for that begins with A, and then do the same for the other letters. For more of a challenge, avoid repeats. 
You can also play memorization games. The first person says, “I’m grateful for airplanes” (or anything that begins with A). The next person says, “I’m grateful for airplanes and books.” The third person says, “I’m grateful for airplanes, books, and Christmas trees.” Go through the entire alphabet and keep adding things to the grateful list. My family often travels for the holidays, so we play this game in the car to make the trip go by faster and to remind ourselves of our blessings at this time of year.

A Loving List

By Jocelyn Christensen
December 20, 2013

During the 2013 Christmas Devotional, Elder Ronald A. Rasband challenged us to celebrate the Savior with something more than just shopping and decorating our homes. He asked us to instead worship the Savior by serving and bringing peace into the lives of others.

In a busy holiday season, it can be hard to fit service into our regular schedule. With some planning, though, it is possible. We had a surprise day off of school the day after the devotional broadcast because of excessive snow. With a free, unscheduled day, we decided to take Elder Rasband's advice to heart.

We started by making a list of little ways that we can bring peace and happiness to others—things we could even do from our snowed-in home.

Here are some things that we came up with:

  • Write thank-you notes to family and friends.
  • Shovel our neighbor's driveway.
  • Make a Christmas paper chain for the missionaries in our area.
  • Draw a picture for a friend.
  • Call Grandma.
  • Take cookies to an elderly neighbor.
  • Go Christmas caroling.
  • Be kind to our siblings.
  • Smile and say hello to people.
  • Sincerely compliment others.
  • Bear testimony of Jesus.

With our list of ways we will celebrate the Savior, we can honor Him during the Christmas season and continue to honor Him by serving and loving others every day of the year.

Teaching with Love

By Jan Taylor, Primary general board
December 13, 2013

Our four-year-old son’s Primary teacher discovered in class that our son didn’t want to be baptized. In her caring way, she talked to him and found out that he was afraid of the water. After sharing her discovery with us, we were able to help him overcome his fear. This Primary teacher loved all the children in her class, and they loved her.

In Lesson 1 of Teaching, No Greater Call, we learn that love prompts us to teach differently. “When we love those we teach, we pray for each of them. We do all we can to know their interests, achievements, needs, and concerns... We tailor our teaching to meet their needs, even if this takes more time and effort. We notice when they are absent and recognize them when they are present. We offer help when it is needed. We are devoted to their eternal welfare, doing all we can to promote it and doing nothing to harm it.”

What can you do to increase your love for each of those you teach?

Remembering Christ with the Christmas Devotional

By Jessica Larsen
December 6, 2013

Many families search for ways to make the holiday season more about Christ. One of the best (and easiest!) ways to refocus our hearts on the Savior is to watch the annual Christmas Devotional. This program always features music from the Tabernacle Choir, beautiful decorations in the Conference Center, and uplifting messages from the First Presidency.

I love watching the Christmas Devotional with my family because the members of the First Presidency often share tender personal stories, many of them from childhood memories. We watch the devotional online—usually while eating a plate of Christmas cookies—and then spend our next family home evening talking about how we can incorporate what we learned into our Christmas season.

Editor's note: The 2013 Christmas Devotional will be held Sunday, December 8, at 6 p.m. mountain standard time. Click here for more information.