Fun and Meaningful Christmas Traditions with Jennifer Deese

Can you believe it’s December already? 2020 has been one for the books and I’m ready to put this all behind us and jump into the festivities of the season. So today I’m excited to introduce you to my newest friend, Jennifer Deese. Because Jennifer loves Christmas and all of the holiday traditions that go with it, I invited her to share some of her favorite traditions that we hope you’ll want to add to your own this year. Let me be clear, this is not a podcast designed to load on more mama guilt during an already crazy, busy time of year. Instead, we share some ideas you may want to add to your own celebration along with a few practical tips. I know I’m always looking for fresh ways to make this season more special. Although Jennifer doesn’t have unlimited time or money (she has four children and a full-time job!) and she hasn’t lived a charmed life she’s still managed to find fun and creative ways to celebrate the season, even when she was a single mom. She’s been through some tough times in her life, which is why these long-standing traditions are even more dear to her and her family. They provided stability for her kids during those difficult years. I know you’ll be blessed by our conversation.

Highlights from this episode:

“I wasn’t really sure what healthy relationships looked like in a family, but I knew what it shouldn’t look like and that was where I started.” – Jennifer

“Holiday and family traditions are the thread that weaves through all the changes [we go through] and tie us back together. They help us to love each other deeply no matter how hectic or chaotic life gets.” – Jennifer

Jennifer shares how her estranged Grandmother brought light to a dark childhood.

Resources and links from this episode plus a few bonus links:

Read the New York Times article that discusses the importance of family traditions based on scientific research The Family Stories That Bind Us.

Check out for routes to see Christmas lights all over our area.

Read Redeeming the Season by Kim Wier and Pam McCune for more great ideas and tips for making Christmas even more special. It’s filled with great suggestions that make the season more meaningful for everyone.

Check out The Giving Manger Jennifer’s family has started using that helps keep the family focused on others throughout the season.

Read my blog post, Need Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas? Take Some Hints from the Wise Men, to find out how I incorporate gold, frankincense and myrrh into our family’s Christmas traditions

Listen to The Next Right Thing Podcast with Emily P. Freeman. Episode 153: Keep Advent Simple (with Tsh Oxenreider) and check out Tsh’s new book Shadow and Light.

Building Strong Homes One Story at a Time with Jennifer Deese

6 thoughts on “Fun and Meaningful Christmas Traditions with Jennifer Deese”

  1. I’ve only listened to half of your premier podcast so far Carol. Y’all made me cry four times and I too have similar traditions like Jennifer. As the youngest of 11 children in a blended family we didn’t have much but I knew Christmas morning I’d get fruit, a toy and new PJ’s.

    Christmas Eve our little Episcopal church had a midnight service. We were always there because we lived beside the church and were members. I enjoyed singing Christmas Carols and coming home where we’d try to fall asleep in anticipation of Christmas morning.

    You both made me feel like I was sitting beside you. Congratulations!

    • I’m so glad you are enjoying it Daphne! I know with 11 kids there must have been lots of chaos and fun on Christmas morning! Sounds like y’all created some wonderful and special memories of your own. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  2. I listened to every word of the podcast–and I LOVED it. Partly because both of you are dear friends. But, even if I didn’t know either of you, I would have enjoyed it. Jennifer’s story is so powerful and moving; I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing it. The ideas for celebrating holidays that both of you shared–and, more importantly, the reasons FOR the traditions–are fabulous. Also, the podcast is incredibly professional. Congratulations on the launch of Building Strong Homes, Carol! Your hard work has resulted in a product that’s truly excellent.

    • Thank you so much, Beth, for your sweet comments! Your confidence has helped me get this podcast up and going. Thank you for introducing me to Jennifer. You were right, she was a perfect fit!!

  3. I really enjoyed the Christmas tradition podcast. It was a good reminder and encouragement that all the work we put into Christmas to make it special for our family will last a lifetime for our kids. Thank you!

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