1st Day Of Christmas Giveaway with Renee Swope

Yippeee!!! It’s here!!

The Third Annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!!!!

And, God blew a kiss from heaven early this morning with our first snowfall of the season outside my window! Girls, I’m more excited than the cartoon Karen was when Frosty came alive!!!! (I always loved that her name was Karen!)

Each day, December 1-12th, I will feature a fellow Proverbs 31 sister and an aspect of Christmas. You’ll get to know her and she, in turn, will offer a fabulous giveaway! Simply leave a comment on her post to be entered in the drawing.

And, one soon-to-be-very-giddy gal who comments on all 12 posts will win the GRAND PRIZE! You may comment on all posts until Monday, December 13th when the winners will be announced.

So first, here is the grand prize. Then we’ll meet our P31 gal of the day!

The Grand Prize Package :-)

The grand prize, given by me, (and my ever generous hubby) includes the following:

~ A set of 3 Christmas kitchen towels

~ A whimsical snowman doorknob hanger

~ A Christmas tree notepad for those last-minute Christmas purchases or baking items

~ A gingerbread cupcake kit with red rubber scraper

~ A pair of lounge socks for keeping your toes warm

~ A Christmas treats scented votive candle and gold crackle votive cup

~ A package of gingerbread coffee–great on a chilly morning!

~ A package of six reindeer chocolate-marshmallow treats (for the kiddos)

~ A large Ghirardelli peppermint-dark chocolate bar—for YOU!!!

~ A $15.00 Target gift card to buy yourself something– a new festive scarf, some perfume, a pair of gloves, a book, a wanted kitchen gadget (if that is a treat for you). YOU MUST PROMISE TO SPEND IT ON YOURSELF!!!

Now, let’s meet our first P31 gal….Renee Swope!!!

About Renee’s Ministry:

Renee is a national speaker, author and co-host of Proverbs 31 Ministries’ international radio program. Her passion is to help women fall in love with God’s word and apply His Truth in their everyday lives; exchange insecurity and self-doubt with God-fidence and trust; and help them see beyond who they are to who they can become in Christ.

Renee serves as Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Executive Director of Radio and Devotions. She is a featured writer for Encouragement for Today devotions and a contributing author to God’s Purpose for Every Woman. Her highly anticipated book “A Confident Heart” will be released Summer 2011!

From Renee’s Heart

The Swope Family

I love to laugh. I love being with my family. And I really enjoy having fun with my friends. My favorite pastime is watching a movie in bed with my favorite drink – a cinnamon dolce latte!

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and lived there until my mom re-married when I was in middle school.  We moved to Shelby, North Carolina when I was twelve.

As a transplanted city girl, I learned about country life on a farm riding horses and picking green beans.

I fell in love with Jesus when I was a senior in college. I love Him with all my heart and depend on Him daily as a woman, wife, mom, friend and leader in ministry.

I’m married to my very best friend. (Many people don’t know he’s a younger man.) J.J. and I met when he was in college, got married his Jr. year and had our first baby 3 days after he graduated.

We’ve been married 17 years and have two sons, Joshua (15) and Andrew (13). We also have a beautiful daughter, Aster, who is turning 2 today. We adopted Aster from Ethiopia a year ago and love our life as a family of 5 with a princess.

De-stressing Your Decorating
I used to dread decorating for Christmas. Not because I don’t love Christmas. Not because I don’t love decorations, and having our home filled with reminders of Christ’s birth.

I dreaded decorating because I didn’t like who I became in the process. I got irritated, tired, flustered and frustrated. I couldn’t remember where things went. I couldn’t remember what light strands worked. And I couldn’t figure out why my family wasn’t helping me figure it all out.

I’d sometimes put it off until my family was begging to put up our tree. Then it would take me days to get everything in place, and I’d be completely exhausted when I was done!

A few years ago, I came up with a plan that has helped de-stress my Christmas decorating. I actually look forward to it now, and already have my home decorated (except our tree) for 2010, and it’s only December 1st! My friends and family will be shocked but oh so proud of me!

Here are my helpful hints:

* Purchase a storage tub for each room and labeled it accordingly (kitchen Christmas, Living Room Christmas, Dining Room Christmas, etc.)

* Decorate and un-decorate one room/area at a time. If I don’t get it all done in one day, it’s ok. I pace myself but enjoy the sense of completion when a whole room is completed. We have learned it’s too much to do it all in one day so we complete inside first, then we work together outside.

* Take photos of each area in each room. I cannot remember from one year to the next where I put things so I take photos, print them out and tape them and put them in a Ziploc bag with any notes that I need as reminders the next year.

* Simplify. I’ve accumulated more than I need over the years. This year I am reducing and simplifying. This year I asked my boys if they want Christmas decorations upstairs. They said it didn’t matter to them. So, I put all of my energy into decorating downstairs and I’m giving some of my older items that I really don’t need to someone else who can enjoy them.

Renee’s Christmas Give-away

This sweet P31 sister is giving away a package full of some of her favorites:

~ A scented candle – Bath & Body Works Mint Chocolate

~ A festive candle holder – by Bath & Body Works

~ Her favorite treat – Chocolate Covered Pretzels with Toffee crumbles….Yum!!!!!

And a few of her encouraging & life-changing messages:

~ Unwrapping His Presence Christmas Message on DVD

~ Rest Assured and Purpose Driven Mom messages on CD

~ Finally, The ADVENTure of Christmas book by Lisa Whelchel (that was featured and explained here on this blog recently!)

Be sure to visit Renee this week at www.ReneeSwope.com for more Christmas encouragement, ideas and a few photos of her stress-less Christmas decorations. Also, be sure to enter to win another Christmas gift pak she’s giving away!

Okay gals, leave a comment today on one easy Christmas decorating idea you have come across, or if time is tight, simply say “I’m in!” Don’t forget to come back tomorrow and every day until the 12th!

Oh, this is soooooooooo fun!!!



  1. I love to cut greenery from outdoors and bring it in to my home for Christmas. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Merry Christmas!

  2. I have a large built-in buffet that I used to clutter up with all sorts of Christmas decorations. A few years ago, my mom gave me a large nativity set that my Great-Grandma made years ago. It’s 19 pieces of painted pottery, and takes up quite a bit of room. Now that’s all I put on the buffet, so I had to pare down my other things, as I no longer had anywhere to put it all. I love how uncluttered my buffet looks now at Christmas time, and what a beautiful reminder of what the season is REALLY about!

  3. I must be honest. We do not do a lot of decorating for CHRISTmas. We put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I have a few small things we put up…a wreath and some homemade ornaments.


  4. Buying cute little trinkets at the dollar store. Then we give them away at the end of the season as gifts or use them as package adornments the next year.

  5. Love your ideas. I don’t always put things in the same place from year to year, so I have drawn pictures or put key words of items in each box and tape it to the top/side…try to store like things together (all the bows, garlands, candles, etc.).

  6. WOW Renee!!! What a give away!!! I want to win!!! :)

    I too took pictures of my decorating one year, and it does make it so much easier. Gracious I can’t remember one day to the next, so remembering where all the Christmas decorations went each year was a challenge. I think it’s age!

    I’ll share an easy Christmas decorating tip I just read yesterday. The book I was reading suggested you just pull out a pretty Christmas piece of stemwear…clear glass…and fill it with Christmas peppermints and have it on the table for guests who visit. It looks lovely and friends and family can enjoy the treats.

    (Renee…so excited about seeing you in January!!!! Can’t wait!!!! If I win, don’t worry about mailing my prize..hee hee..you can hand deliver it…with a hug!)
    Love ya,

  7. I would like to be more organized for Christmas and enjoy the process with my family even more. I want it to be more of a positive memory for my girls, not a chore, because ultimately I love the result.

    It’s a special time. Everyday is a special time. It just takes a lot of patience and stepping back from our own expectations to just let each day unfold as it will.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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