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Loving My Actual Christmas, The Group Leaders’ Guide


The calendar has changed. And well it means it’s all downhill from here and soon we will be coasting right past Thanksgiving and heading into Christmas. If you’re like me, you’d like to be a planner, but usually you just wish you’d started a little earlier. This post isn’t for us procrastinators. It’s for the planners. The ones in charge of book clubs and MOPS groups and women’s ministries at their churches. The ones thinking about their group of women and Christmas right now in the sweaty months of August. God bless you. Thank you. Because of you we have Christmas teas with beautiful centerpieces because you bought everything on clearance LAST year and stored it in a random closet in your home all these months and will remember where those things are when December rolls around.

Anyway, you know who you are.

And I know who you are because you’ve been asking all of the group planny questions. So here’s what you need to know:

First, the book! Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season will release September 5! This is my attempt to help women love the holiday THIS year regardless of their circumstances. To step away from the Pinterest expectations and remember the story that we celebrate. There is a reason we mark this event every year, because our hearts need the reminder. And there’s no better way to remember than together. This book can be your guide remembering together.

For All Leaders:

You can pre-order the book now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And you can make bulk orders at Direct2Church.com (discounts starting with as few as ten copies in a single order.)

In the book you’ll find an experiment that resembles that found in Loving My Actual Life. It travels through Advent centering on the themes of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace, and then carries through the 12 days of Christmas. Each week there is suggested Scripture reading, discussion questions and practical applications. There is also a topic-based section at the end of the book for the woman who just wants help keeping the schedule sane or the budget under control. The topics in the back range from party planning basics to teaching kids the Christmas story.

Based on your requests there will be a few supplements available here at my website to accompany the book. These will all be available for download in the Fall.

  • A Bible Study! This will be a low-homework, I need some more Scripture, but can’t dedicate too much time (because hello! it’s Christmas!) kind of study. It will follow the suggested Scripture reading in the book.
  • Planning sheets. You know cute ones. To help you with your budget, schedule, menus. A way to put some of the practical tips in the book into place in your actual life! There won’t be any rocket science involved, just a little Christmas magic.
  • Notecards! Are you ready for this?! Notecards you can download with a design that compliments the book. If you are a buying a copy for every lady in your small group, you can write her a special message on a matchy card. Because we like that kind of stuff around here.

For MOPS Leaders:

Okay not trying to be exclusive here, but you know me and MOPS go way back. And guess what I’m on this year’s video curriculum talking about this very topic of loving my actual Christmas. So here are some things for the MOPS leader to know.

  • Curriculum segment. I’m right there on the DVD. Let me be your Christmas speaker (or pre-Christmas, like November so women can make a Christmas game plan before the crazy hits). MOPS has given you meeting ideas and discussion questions to go along with the teaching, so use them!
  • MOPS discount. Yes lovely ladies you get your very own 50% off discount at Direct2Church.com. Use the promo-code MOPS17 and you can get the book for $5 a copy! This is for any quantity of books! You can pass this code on to your moms at this rate. I get so excited about this because you really can buy a book for every woman in your group! Make it her Christmas gift, build the additional $5 into your fall dues, it won’t be hard to find a way. (Don’t forget MOPS Kids teachers. They want to love their actual Christmas too. Great gifts for them and the church secretary who makes copies for you all year.) This promo-code is live now and good through the end of 2017.
  • Planning download. I’ll have a special worksheet available through MOPS International around selecting traditions. This is something you can use during your meeting with moms. When your kids are little you can make some intentional choices about the kinds of traditions you want to begin. And you can give your future self a gift by not starting 471 traditions that must be completed in a three-week time-frame.
  • MOPS notecards. Again, perfect for that leader that is giving every woman at her table a copy of the book. There will be a few designs specifically co-branded with MOPS available for download through MOPS International. The MOPS logo and matchy-match design with the cover?! I can’t even.
  • Oh, and I’ll be at MOMcon, signing books on Friday during lunch at the Baker/Revell booth in the Resource Fair. So please say hi and let me sign books for your group!

Okay planners, I know I’ve missed something! Ask questions in the comments below. Thank you for doing the work of getting stuff done so the rest of us can have a moment of refreshment during the Christmas crazy. Your planning today is already a gift to the women you serve. Let’s together point people to the hope, love, joy and peace Emmanuel, God with us, has to offer.


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