Give your Christmas a makeover with this practical approach to help your family learn what it means to truly celebrate their Savior. Learn more in my review of Total Christmas Makeover.

Book Review: Total Christmas Makeover

Give your Christmas a makeover with this practical approach to help your family learn what it means to truly celebrate their Savior. Learn more in my review of Total Christmas Makeover.
Give your Christmas a makeover with this practical approach to help your family learn what it means to truly celebrate their Savior. Learn more in my review of Total Christmas Makeover.
description of the book from the publisher:
In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it’s important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ’s birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.
Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.
In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God’s grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season.
As usual, my five point review:
  • Devotionals can be really hit or miss–they can be too serious, too fluffy, too focused on a particular audience, or so many other “toos.” There are several times of the year where devotionals can be really helpful, in my opinion. Without going into too much detail about the church calendar, I believe that God has given us times of the year to refocus on Him. Christmas is one of those times! Melissa Spoelstra’s devotional is a great way to not just get “into the holiday spirit” but also keep Christ part of your celebration.
  • The book is divided into three sections: rituals, relationship, and rest, with ten days of devotionals that relate to each theme. These themes are extracted from the author’s study of Biblical celebrations (Passover, festivals, Day of Atonement, etc.). She explains, “these were times of remembrance to help focus on God’s character and historical moments of His faithfulness” (p. 2). That’s not how we celebrate holidays, is it? But that’s how we should… how I would like to.
  • Each devotion begins with scripture, printed right in the book to make it easy to read. The devotion itself is about two pages long and has a short prayer. The next two pages include reflection questions and practical application points. Though much of the “devotion” portion itself is directed towards women, the scripture, reflection questions, and application points could definitely be used in a family setting to encourage your family to seek after Christ during the Christmas season.
  • As with all devotionals or “Christian” books, good ones make you think. While I haven’t read every devotion yet (I wanted to save some for December!!), the ones I did read have caused me to consider what our family’s holiday celebration will look like as our son grows up. Of course we still want to be part of our family of origins’ celebrations but we also want to make our own rituals in Nashville… with our church, our neighbors, our friends, and as our own family. Balancing that is hard, and I don’t have any answers except to say that things will come naturally in time. I hope. 🙂
  • All in all, Total Christmas Makeover is a great devotional for the upcoming holiday season. It is short and sweet, but thoughtful and practical. Best of all, it is Christ-centered. I hope you will find a copy to read with me this Christmas season!
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About the author:
Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God’s Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of the “First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree,” “Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness,” and “Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible” studies and “Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home” book. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse. However, I was not required to write a positive review and received no compensation. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks for the chance to read this great book!

50 Christmas Cookie Plate Ideas: Cookies, Candy, and More!

I love making plates of cookies to give out to friends and family, neighbors and coworkers, and all the other people in my life at Christmastime! It’s so fun baking up a storm and being able to give a bunch of treats away. Some people have the one bread, coffee cake, candy, or cookie that they are known for, but I like variety. Hope this list of 50 cookies, bar cookies, candy, muffins, and other treats helps you decide what to make this holiday season! Some of the recipes are my personal tried and true favorites, while others are on my to-bake list this season. I wish I could taste them all!

50 Christmas Cookie Plate Ideas | thepajamachef.comCookies

Bar Cookies


Muffins and Other Sweet Breads

Other Treats



This year, we decided to be a bit radical with our Christmas decorations. We didn’t get a tree.  I know. So sad. See, my lil sister is getting married three days after Christmas. That, combined with all the work with my thesis, led to it just not making sense to get a tree, decorate it, and then have to take it down without enjoying it to the fullest. Oh, and our cats can be sort of naughty with the tree too, so there’s that. I like real trees and didn’t want to settle on even a smaller fake one.

So I decided to use the money + time we would have spent on a tree to make some decorations that would last for the future!

Christmastime | The Pajama Chef

Of course, I used Pinterest for inspiration. I wasn’t organized enough–and this is not a craft blog–so I don’t have any tutorials. But I will link up my inspiration!

Christmastime | The Pajama Chef

I made the wreath in the top left corner pretty much on my own. If you check out my wreath Pinterest board, you can probably see where I got my ideas from. I used the tutorials at Cut to Pieces to make the felt flowers. Let me say–they are so easy and fun to make! I am addicted! 🙂 What am I not addicted to? Wrapping yarn around a wreath base. Can we say… stressful? I adore the finished wreath though!

The Christmas tree in the middle left was made using this tutorial at Better Remade. I am so happy how it turned out! At first I was bummed because I couldn’t find a light green felt like the original, or a big box of pearl white straight pins, but I love my final product. You can’t really tell in the photo, but the white felt circles have glitter in them, and look so sparkly when they catch the light!

In the bottom left corner is my latest thrown together craft: a paper scrapbook Christmas tree. Usually in that stand I have a mosaic I made during my camp counselor years but decided I needed something more Christmasy. I got my idea from A Little Tipsy, but didn’t follow the tutorial exactly. I use scrapbook paper and leftover felt rolled up and hot glued to some foam board which was wrapped in ribbon to hide my uneven cheap x-acto knife cutting.

Last but not least, the yarn wrapped Christmas trees on the right [gray and sparkly white] were inspired by all the DIY Christmas trees I pinned on my Christmas board. And the yarn wrapped wreaths too. I made the garlands out of yarn and beads and think they make them a little more festive and retro, maybe. The tiniest candy cane tree is just ribbon.

Christmastime | The Pajama Chef

Here are a few of our other Christmas decoartions: the mouse in the chimney circa 1970, my metal reindeer + star candle holder + Christmas tree plate, my second grade nativity set + pinecone angel, and a vase filled with some of our favorite ornaments. I couldn’t resist! Oh, and our stuffed friends, Elfkin and Ginger. They live on our couch during December.

So there you have it, Christmastime in our house this year. Would you believe that I’ve barely made any Christmas cookies or treats this year? That has got to change. I did share my Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce over on Thriving Home if you’d like to go check it out! I have some plans for cookies soon, so maybe there will be a post or two about that next week. Has anyone made anything awesome this year that you can recommend? Have a great weekend!

shared at it’s just Laine