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Bloggernacle Back Bench: Christmas blogs and gift ideas

So begins my month of Christmas-themed columns. My first installment looks at some gift ideas, courtesy of some wonderful sites and creative bloggers.

And I just must start with the new gift from the First Presidency, announced during the annual Christmas Devotional: the beautiful, new “Bible Videos” website that gifts us all with some marvelous new videos (six so far!) depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. And the gift will just keep giving since, as Larry Richman of LDS Media Talk explains, “During the coming months, more videos will be added to this inspiring collection, which will eventually include over 100 videos depicting scenes from Christ’s life, ranging from the angel foretelling Christ’s birth to the Savior's Resurrection.” What a perfect present to share with those who love this Christmas season. Please watch and please pass on.

Now here is a sweet “Christmas Subway Art Printable” that you can download, print, frame and gift. It’s full of beautiful Christmas sayings that should bring joy to anyone who sees it. And as a bonus, here are some more printables — wrappers, labels, gift tags and banners — that coordinates with the subway art. So cute!

Does your family “pixie” (secretly give cards and gifts) anyone for the 12 Days of Christmas? This idea from Prepared Not Scared of giving “12 Days of Food Storage” is brilliant. It not only provides yummy and nutritious gifts, but bulks up their food storage. I love it! Click in for the printables that go along with each of the food storage-themed ideas.

This blogger wonders what we can do in “Curing Christmas Craziness” and commenters chime in about gift-giving tactics and ideas for making Christmas more calm and Christ-centered. I love this idea: “Instead of each of our children buying for their siblings and parents this year, we drew names to be a 'Secret Pal' to someone in our family. All month long we look out for that person, try to make them happy, and then make them a gift to put under the tree on Christmas Eve.” So thoughtful!

Finally, what better gift to give then the gospel? The Awesome Ward Missionaries are using the “Joy to the World” pass-along cards as “Christmas Cards.” They outline how they are promoting this in their ward: “Including a 'pass-along' card in with a Christmas card is a simple, easy way to offer a church-related gift and a non-aggressive opportunity for them to learn about our beliefs if they wish. You never know — there may be people on your Christmas card list who may jump at the chance for a free DVD and may be very interested in learning more about our beliefs!” What a cool idea! Click in to learn more about how they are implementing this plan.

Now let me give you a few other recommendations from Bloggernacle:

Power pick: I don't know if I'd want the emergency to go with this, but I've always wanted to be in a Sunday meeting where the leader stood and said "We are going to now adjorn to go do service in the community." This is exactly what happened in various Davis County wards on Sunday following that major windstorm and the Mormon Soprano chronicles this "Sabbath of Service in Bountiful" complete with some incredible photos. She writes "I’ve simply never seen anything quite like it here, and certainly never taking place on a Sunday! But, the event became a sacred one. There was so much joy and laughter as we were raking up branches and hauling broken pieces of fencing side-by-side with fellow friends, neighbors and complete strangers. I cannot imagine we would have felt God’s spirit any stronger sitting in our church meetings today. In fact, it was almost like our entire neighborhood had been transformed into a giant out-door chapel of sorts." Click in to see!

Techie tip: As my final gift to you, I present Larry Richman’s post that outlines how you can now conveniently “Manage your Magazines Online.” It’s as easy as clicking into the, logging in with your LDS Account and renewing or subscribing. Plus, consider gifting the church magazines to someone you love as a delightful Christmas surprise!

Emily Warburton Jensen loves searching through the LDS blog world for developments and testimonies that best capture the ever-evolving LDS online experience.