Tag Archives: featured

Nine Great Holiday Traditions

christmas tree

Everyone has a favorite holiday – mine just happens to be Christmas. The season is a great time for celebrating the birth of the Savior,  Christmas carols, and spending time with family.

Sometimes life changes — the children grow up and move away to start their own families. or maybe we find ourselves single after having been married for many years, or ??? Whatever your situation here are nine great holiday traditions!

Host a party

Hosting a party doesn’t require a tear down and reconstruction of the Hoover Dam. Parties can be as simple as a potluck dinner with a few friends and family. Themes can include a ‘Favorite Recipe‘ dinner or (one of my favorite) a ‘Decadent Desert‘ night where everyone pretends calories don’t exist and brings their favorite treat!

If you find you’re alone (maybe circumstances or the luck of the draw) — invite others from your church or community over especially those who may be single, elderly, or ?? Live in an apartment? Most apartments have community rooms available for rent for a small fee.

Carol Singing

carol singers

The Good Lord blessed me with many skills but singing isn’t one of them! But I still love to listen to Carol’ers and even have been talked into going with them.

Going Caroling seams to be fading away but still something that can be done as a family, with a small group, or with the youth of your church. Many senior citizen centers welcome the interaction with the young folk! (But do call ahead and set up an appropriate time)

Take a trip

Many families have developed a tradition of visiting Downtown Chicago, ski destinations, New York City, etc. Although this can be a tad pricy, it can be a lot of fun! …and do plan in advance — rooms fill up quickly in popular resorts. Also, the week before Christmas may have less bookings than the week after.

Christmas Brunch

Christmas morning

Invite the family over for a Christmas brunch or dinner. Make it easy and have everyone bring something as they can. Definitely top off the brunch with present openings 🙂

Baking Treats

Christmas Cookies

Most of us love treats …and Christmas is one of those special occasions where almost everyone has their favorite! I have fond memories of Mom teaching me to bake cakes and cookies from scratch (yes, it is possible) 🙂

Not too sharp on cooking skills — not to worry! Every grocery store has ample ready to bake pies, cookies, and many have baked treats.

Next step? Deliver them to neighbors (even those you may not have met), friends, family or someone who would appreciate it.Feel free to leave them on the door with a short Christmas message.

And most certainly save some for Christmas Day!

Christmas Music

The season is built around  carols and songs celebrating Christmas. A quick Google (or Bing) query will find many church, inter-denominational groups putting on performances.

Living in the Salt Lake area we are blessed with the Tabernacle Choir and many, many groups celebrating the Savior’s birth. The Assembly Hall located on Temple Square has numerous free performances during the holidays.

Decorate that tree!

Christmas car with tree
Christmas isn’t quite Christmas without decorating a tree. Although many use artificial trees they can still be decorated with home-made and purchased ornaments.

Two of my favorite ideas are to purchase (or make) a new ornament each year. Often we would buy each child an ornament to remember that year. A second idea is to make some popcorn, use a needle and thread, and create a popcorn string. Kids love it!

Holiday Lights, Nativity Scenes, and more

This one is easy – ‘google it‘ to find area nativity scenes and light shows – often sponsored by Church groups — then go out for a cheap night exploring the neighborhood.

In Salt Lake City Temple Square has a wonderful display. In Kansas City, try the Plaza!

Remember, Remember the Less Fortunate

Working at food kitchens, gathering up toys for others in your church, area can be very rewarding. Toys don’t have to be expensive and can involve the children in picking out items. Sometimes a day set aside for Christmas gift buying is a great idea.


Why nine and not ten …because too many posts use ten!

So What are your favorite Holiday Traditions?

Dr. Spruell is an author, educator, consultant, and featured/invited speaker. His speaking engagements have taken him across the globe from Kansas City to Melbourne.

His vast consulting experience provides unique insight into the real life problems faced by many. He is the author of the book, Creating an Extraordinary Life: Breaking Through the Abyss, When Shall the Butter Fly Rest and numerous proceedings and articles.

© 2018 by James Spruell, All rights reserved




Women of Great Faith | Mary the Mother of Jesus

Pic is from Pixabay.com

Few things give greater insight into the Savior, & who he was, than his relationship with others, especially women and children. With Christmas approaching,  we are focusing on Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary is unique among all women in her divine role in giving birth to the Messiah. Her story is fascinating, regardless of whether we are Catholic, Muslim, or Later Day Saints. And yet, for the countless pages that have been written about her, we still know so little about Mary, the person, & Mary, the Mother of God.

Here are 4 videos that provide some insight into this great woman and the birth of the Savior:

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Mary, the Mother of Christ VideoThe Video, produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, reflects the quiet devotion and strength of Mary. Worth viewing. 2:21


An Angel Foretells Christ’s Birth to Mary

Foretelling Christ's Birth VideoThe angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary to announce the coming of Jesus. See Luke 1:26-38
Another video well worth viewing. Video time: 4:08


Mary and Elisabeth Rejoice Together

Mary and Elisabeth Rejoice Together VideoMary visits her relative Elizabeth who both rejoice in the coming birth. See Luke 1:39-55

Video time: 5:07


Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem

Mary and Joseph Traveling to Bethlehem VideoMary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem where they cannot find a place to stay at an inn. Instead they find room only in a stable…. See Luke 2:4-7  Video time: 2:06


Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | The Life of Mary in Video

Additional clips from Mormon Messages 

© 2018 by James Spruell All rights reserved

Mexico Destinations

Cabo San Lucas


Known for its warm climate, beautiful coast, scuba diving, and marine life, Cabo San Lucas is one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations. The city is located along the southern most tip of the Baja peninsula…. read more

Things to do in Cancun


Cancun is a popular destination that features incredible water sports including snorkeling / scuba diving, jet skiing,
parasailing, and beautiful beaches. A short distance away are the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza. Several shopping districts and restaurants with great food are also located throughout the area… read more



Tulum is located along the Yucatan Peninsula coast just a few miles from Playa Carman. Although Mexico is quite famous for its Mayan ruins (including Chichen Itza), Tulum is the only major archeological site located on the Caribbean coast…. read more

Isla Mujeres – Travel Tips

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a popular destination for visitors to the Cancun area that features
incredible snorkeling / scuba diving, beautiful beaches, scenic cliffs, and great food. The island,  located about 8 miles off the coast, is a short ferry ride from Cancun for a quick day trip, or all week, depending upon your travel plans.

The island is a little over 4 miles long by less than 1/2 mile wide
read more

Isla Mujeres: Punta Sur

Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres

The Video clip is a short presentation of images from Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres. The island is a favorite scuba dive destination as well
as a scenic and fun spot! 0:49


© 2015 by James Spruell All rights reserved