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. Decorations are in tubs/totes and labeled with masking tape. This year, I’m putting up minimal and let single son take some decor for his apartment.

  2. This is my husband and I’s first Christmas in our house so we get the pleasure of buying all new things. So i think we are going to start with lights.

  3. A mason jar (or any clear jar we all have, even a spaghetti jar) dump some epsom salts in the jar to look like fake snow (1.50 for a boat load of it at Walgreens) and lay a votive candle in it (we all have votives) Simple, elegant and inexpensive!! I have them clustered on my dining table, small and large jars, it’s very Pottery Barn on a dime! :0)

  4. A mason jar (or any clear jar we all have, even a spaghetti jar) dump some epsom salts in the jar to look like fake snow (1.50 for a boat load of it at Walgreens) and lay a votive candle in it (we all have votives) Simple, elegant and inexpensive!! I have them clustered on my dining table, small and large jars, it very Pottery Barn on a dime! :0)

  5. This year, feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated, I reached for my Nativity set Box first.. After gingerly and slowly setting it up, I put two candles next to it.. and prayed for forgiveness for my grumpiness.. and His presence gave me the “hug” I was looking for. I want to simplify.. and remember why I am celebrating..

  6. Each year, I add one (or two) special item to my collection of Christmas decorations. That way, I don’t have to feel like I’ve got to get everything at once.

  7. I decided to get rid of the Christmas decorations that I don’t love so I don’t have as much to put up this year. Simplifying is a great idea! We put too much stress on ourselves sometimes this time of year. Thanks for the great advice!

  8. I love the idea of simplifying it all. We used to go all out, inside and outside. This year my husband and I agreed that less is better. So I’ll be boxing up stuff and giving it away too.

  9. My daughters love Christmas and decorating… so I take out all of the wonderful decorations I’ve gotten (some older than my girls) and I let them put them where they see fit… It used to frustrate me that they weren’t where I always put them but I learned that my favorite part is the smile of pride on their faces when they’re done… THAT is the best Christmas decoration in my house :)

  10. For me, an easy tip is being okay with not going all out with decorating! :) We put most of our focus on the family room, with the tree and the nativity scene on the fireplace mantel.

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