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This post was written by guest blogger, Hilary Johnston.

Recently I used a popular website to send out e-invitations to my Christmas party in December. I was a bit confused when I pulled up the homepage and it was covered with Thanksgiving-themed invites – “A little out of season!” I thought. About half an hour later, it dawned on me that this was because ‘American Thanksgiving’ [as we Canadians call it] is on the horizon. Along with that, I’ve started getting “Black Friday” email promos to my inbox and my coworker, yesterday, happily exclaimed “seven Saturdays until Christmas!” The days are getting shorter, the mornings frostier and decorations are starting to pop up in stores – all subtle reminders that ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ is upon us.

My dad has never been a huge fan of Christmas – “it’s too commercial!” he would say. I always thought he was a bit of a scrooge in those moments; but, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to understand the pressure he felt from the holiday season. There is no doubt that we live in a hysterically-consumerist culture. This notwithstanding, gift-giving is an opportunity to show our love for friends, relatives and colleagues – and I love that Christmas sparks a season of generosity.

Still, in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we could all use an extra dose of grace – and I’ve found exactly that at GraceLaced shoppe. Artist, blogger and mother of six boys, Ruth Simons, creates captivating and inspirational artwork that is both pretty and practical. She’s got canvas paintings, prints, note cards, calendars and journals that all come with a meaningful message. “This season doesn’t have to usher in busyness in our hearts even if it seems that way on our calendars,” Ruth says. “We hear the encouragement often to ‘be present’ or ‘be in the moment’ and clearly, this digital age has got us all distracted from what’s alive and real, right before us.” I love the way she has used her artistic talents to produce everyday materials laced with uplifting words of truth – and she’s got a brand-new collection just for the holidays. “My desire is for us to find the Word of God beautiful, practical, transformative, and purposeful in our everyday lives.” Whether you’re shopping for gifts or for yourself, you’ll find that extra dose of grace at

AND – we’ve got two of her gallery-quality canvases to give away:

To enter, follow me on Instagram @merrygolden_ and tag two friends! And for more of Ruth’s heart check out her Instagram @gracelaced


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