Friday, December 19, 2014

Why We Don't Have an Elf on The Shelf



I may rain on your parade. You may not agree with me. This isn't about right or wrong but about what we chose to do as a family and why. You may even stop following me after this post but this is somethings that's been on my mind for a while. It has been bothering and eating me up and because I'm very opinionated and vocal about what I think.

I do not like the Elf on The Shelf idea and we don't have one in our house,

At first when I saw the idea take the Facebook posts by storm I though it would be fun to do when Jonathan gets a little bigger. But I could not justify buying the thing, making sure to move it from place to place every day,  make up the whole thing which is surrounded by a bigger lie - it's all about Santa, presents and being good or bad just to get stuff.

First it seems like a lot of work for a silly and almost cruel character who messes up a lot of things (which we parents have to clean up), doesn't obey rules (but expects children to follow), spies on the children (horrible telltale) and wants you to work for your gifts (you have to be good enough to receive presents).

The message of Christmas is that Jesus came to this earth and gave us the biggest gift of all. We don't have to work for the gift, be good or follow any rules. All we have to do is accept Him.

The elf idea promotes the persona of santa and makes children believe that he will end up knowing everything they do. While including santa into holiday celebration is not horrible, it takes away from the character of God who actually knows everything and see everything. But you don't have to be afraid of Him because He will not take the gifts away just because you misbehave.

It also justifies mischief while promoting fear. Maybe it doesn't seem very obvious but the elf is constantly looking over you, checking on your every deed to make sure you are 'good enough'. God doesn't ask us to be good He longs for us to come to Him as we are. Some kids don't care but some  may develop unsettling sense of self worth and that they could never measure up to the standard for good boys and girls. That's completely opposite of what Jesus teaches us.

Last children have so much trust for the adults in their lives so when we make up lies and fake characters, they believe it as truth (up to the age of 10). When we include santa, elf and other cartoon-like characters and make them real, we blur the lines between fantasy and reality. So after we tell them how the elf works they believe that it's true. Then we go on and teach them Christmas story in the Sunday school, they sing Christmas carols believing that it's true also. When the time comes to tell them that santa, rudolf and elf are not real they are confused and disoriented. Maybe that Jesus character is not real either?

Christmas is about Jesus not about any other name.

We treat the character of santa, elf and others as any character from cartoon. Yes it's there. Yes some people make it a part of their celebrating. There are songs about them but the holiday is not about them.

Santa doesn't brig presents. Parents love their children and give them the gifts, doesn't matter how bad or good behaved they are. We love them unconditionally.

Elf on the Shelf is not going to spy on you or tell on you. He isn't much more than any other cartoon character (if they happen to see it at someone's house). They don't have to be afraid of anything or ever be good enough to receive things. God loves them unconditionally.

That's the message of Christmas and that's what I want my children to remember. The love, the joy and merry spirit of the season without any ill-behaved, mass-produced, popular character which no one will even remember in a few years when they will come with something new to sell.

They won't miss out on Christmas tradition because we will make our own, doing kind things for our neighbors and loving each other. They won't be spoiled with presents for being good or robbed of them for misbehaving because we love them no matter what. They will play and get mischievous without being afraid of being told on.

And they will have a great Christmas.
Hope you will too!













Winter Sparkle





blouse: LOFT (similar)
sweatshirt: LOFT
jeans: J.Crew
boots: Lord & Taylor (similar)
bag: LAUREN Ralph Lauren
It's almost Christmas! I can't believe it but we are there. You can still score some deals online and receive things before Christmas from LOFT, J.Crew, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Banana Republic and Macy's with free shipping. I love doing things for my family this Christmas and I hope you are enjoying a stress(less) holiday with lots of fun and laughter. 
Thank you for stopping by! 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

7 Thoughtful Things to Do This Christmas Season

source

I love to receive gifts. I love to give gifts. But more than anything I like thoughtful gifts that speak volumes without saying a word. Those are the gifts I tend to remember and cherish for a long time, while I will probably forget where that wallet came from. 
The consumer driver industry tells me to make more gift guides and include everyone including your pet. But I want to share with you  ways to give this Christmas season that will cost you close to nothing, except your time.

1. Bake Cookies. You can gather family together for this occasion and enjoy the whole process together. Who wouldn't like to enjoy a warm chocolate chip cookie in a lovely company? Or you can bake different types of cookies and give them as gifts in pretty tins or bags. You can also throw a cookie-exchange party and enjoy everyone's creations, while you only have to bake one. 

2. Volunteer. There are plenty of places where they can use your help during holiday season. For example in our town it may be pregnancy center, hope house or soup kitchen. Donating your time is the most valuable resource because a lot of people get busy this time of year and those in need get overlooked the most. 

3. Babysit. During this time of year, mothers are especially busy, preparing food, buying gifts and receiving out of town guests. A mother may be overwhelmed and stressed out trying to make a perfect Christmas for her family. Don't forget to take some time and volunteer your services even for a few hours. She will appreciate it very much.

4. Visit a Nursing Home. Go to your local nursing home and visit with folks, listen to their stories and sing Christmas carols. They will be glad to see you and it will break  their monotonous routine. Just don't forget to bring cookies - older folks don't care about calories so pile them on. 

5. Give Blood. Donating blood is one of the single most selfless things you can do for others this holiday season (and the rest of the year). Just one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Not everyone is eligible to give blood, so check with your local blood center to see if you can give this generous gift.

6. Pay It Forward. Make some one's day by paying for their coffee at drive-thru or order at restaurant. They may never get a chance to thank you but will be elated at the thought of such kindness. You can even include a note that the waiter can bring to them with Merry Christmas wishes. 

7. Write a Letter. People all over the world are separated from their family during this holiday season. It can get lonely and depressing especially for troops and volunteers overseas. Write them a letter of appreciation and send a box of cookies. It may get there late but nevertheless it will make them feel closer to home. 









Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Girly





midi skirt: H&M (similar)
top: Old Navy (similar)
blouse: Ralph Lauren
clutch: Target
heels: Payless (similar)
watch: Fossil
There is nothing I love more than a pretty skirt that makes me feel girly. I love the style and easy with which this skirt moves. It's so classy and pretty and goes with pretty much everything in my closet. Yay for a great buy. Do you ladies like full midi skirt? Or do you prefer pencil skirts? Or maybe skirts are not your thing at all? Do share! I would love to hear from you
xo, Anna

Monday, December 15, 2014

Street Style





coat: J.Crew
hat: Target 
jeans: J.Crew
bag: TJMaxx (similarsimilar)
boots: imported (similar)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you noticed that the background to my photos was a little different. I was in NYC and attended the  Joe Fresh Winter Magic event at 5th Ave flagship store. It was so much fun. Plus I met some cool bloggers, chatted with Blair of Alantic-Pacific and Julia of Gal Meets Glam. More pictures to come soon!
My sister and I had a whole day together, exploring the city, getting lost and eating out. Then next day we explored the MAT and did some window shopping at Bloomingdale's. The trip was absolutely awesome and made this holiday season that much more memorable! NYC is so cool to visit (not live in. too hectic.) but winter weather is brutal so we had to bundle up. Today I'm sharing with you the NYC street style, hop you like it.
Hope you had a great weekend! 
 Thank you for stopping by!