A Better December {Review & Giveaway}

A Better December: Proverbs to Brighten Christmas is a little book written by Steve Estes  to encourage people during the holiday season by using various Proverbs. Whether your struggles are with gifts, perfectionism, disappointment, or changes (or even a little bit of all of the above!), this book has a chapter for you.

I’ll admit, the first chapter was a little cheesy. It set the stage for the rest of the book, explaining why in the world someone would use the book of Proverbs to talk about Christmas. I started to feel a little nervous about continuing and was thankful that the book was very short. But then the second chapter talked about gift-giving and all of the stress, competition, worry, and futility of the entire Christmas gift process and I thought, ‘Hey! I can relate to this! Gift giving is stressful for me.’ And then he brought out Proverbs 30:7-9:

“Two things I ask of you,

O Lord…,

Give me neither poverty

Nor riches,

But give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much

And disown you….

Or I may become poor and steal.”

Okay, maybe this book isn’t so cheesy after all….

Then the second chapter talked about contentment and reminded “Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil,” Proverbs 15:16 and, suddenly, I’m really enjoying myself.

Steve Estes does a wonderful job of taking the little proverbs that we all know so well and relating them very practically into our lives during the Christmas season. He throws in a mixture of funny anecdotes that made me laugh out loud and stories that made tears well up in my eyes and goose bumps take over my arms. And then to top it all off, he wraps everything up at the end with the gospel.

My only disappointment is that while the gospel is presented, it is not done with as much clarity as I would’ve liked to see. So if this book was given to an unbelieving friend or family member, I would very strongly recommend a follow-up discussion where the gospel can be presented more clearly in light of what was already read. For believers reading, however, I think it is a beautiful reality check, perfectly timed to be available right before the holiday madness of 2013 commences.

{Giveaway is OVER!!!}

Our two winners are Nicole Henry & Sherri Stocker. (Random.org generated #1 & #12.) Congratulations. If you have not done so, please email me your address at StrengtheningWomen@gmail.com.

New Growth Press has given us two (2) copies of this book to giveaway to our readers for us participating in their blog tour.  If you want a chance to win this book, leave ONE comment on this post telling us your favorite Christmas tradition and you email address so we can reach you if you win.  For an additional entry, share this blog post on your Facebook, and leave another comment letting me know you did.  (To be eligible, you must live in the US or Canada.) Giveaway will be open until Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 11:59pm.


  1. Nicole Henry says:

    I don’t have any holiday traditions yet, but one that I want to implement is wrap 25 books for the month of December, and every night a child picks a book to be unwrapped and read to them at night time. I would also like to have a craft night when we put up the tree, maybe a gingerbread house of some sorts, Christmas decoration crafts, etc.

  2. Laena Mueller says:

    My favorite Christmas traditions, oh boy, how do I choose!!! I love listening to all the old Christmas albums while making our traditional cookies (cut-outs, Swedish jelly, peanut butter kisses, the list goes on). Christmas morning we always have the leftover cuderidi (Italian deep fried bread) with mimosas (or plan orange juice this year;) ). This year I can’t wait for the new advent studies I’m doing. I’m doing a personal one and I’m still in search of one for Quinn. Any suggestions are very welcome!!!

  3. Brittany Cady says:

    Christmas Opened Up from the goodbook website (I think) is something we used last year, it’s good for younger kids. We liked it too. Tim’s family always reads the nativity story and sets up the scene on Christmas morning before opening gifts. We’ve been doing that now too, and I like it. I also love stockings… maybe it’s the German in me.

  4. Jocelyn Flenders says:

    Our favorite traditions entail a Jesse Tree with our daughters, making our own Christmas presents to share with each other and family/friends, visiting family on Christmas Eve, and staying home on Christmas Day (reading, sharing, praying, reflecting). This all packaged together seems to help us in remembering Jesus.

  5. Gaila Roper says:

    My favorite Christmas tradition is to start listening to the entire Messiah beginning in mid October. Every day. I know it sounds monotonous, and redundant. I never tire of it. The progression of Messiah is the gospel of Jesus Christ from before the foundation of the world to the glory of His great & eternal Kingdom when we shall rule & reign with Him. It is really what Christmas and Easter are preparing us for. The message of “worthy is the Lamb” restores my soul after I have been brought low through “surely, surely, He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows….” These two songs carry the message of hope and peace to people of a dying world where we shine as lights of His message. Singing Messiah in choirs through the years never gets old. But I do! What’s 40 years of singing Messiah compared to what we will all sing to Him at the Lamb’s celebration supper!

  6. Jaclyn Reynolds says:

    We love decorating the tree in a different theme each year!

  7. Angela Marton says:

    I just love setting up our tree! A lot of our ornaments have meaning to us so it’s always a time of remembering.

  8. Karen Seiders says:

    When I was younger, I looked forward to being with my extended family at Christmas. After my boys came along we had to make our own traditions since we were often to far away to be with family. One tradition has been putting up the tree on my son Daniel’s birthday ( Nov 28th.)
    Now that we are in a different stage in life, its really great to be able to see my kids and their families at Christmas.

  9. This looks like a great book I could offer as a present to my wonderful daughter-in-love. Thank’s for the giveaway .

  10. One of our favorite traditions is decorating the outside of the house and garage, no matter how cold the weather, with lots of lights and bows…love the glow of lights, especially in the stillness of the snow. (A close second is baking Christmas cookies with our grandson.)

  11. I shared the blog on Facebook. 🙂

  12. Sherri Stocker says:

    For years it was always the same Christmas CD when we put up the tree… Amy Grant’s Home For Christmas. I just realized that we haven’t done that for a few years, and it makes me want to find it! The ornaments, of course, bring back so many memories of babies added, and special events for the kids. One of my favorite ornaments is one Linda Cate’s Sunday School class made of the kids faces as angels. Sounds crazy, but I really love it! Oh… and my favorite part each year is finding a family, or some children who are needy and giving as we remember just how much we have been given.

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