THE SPARKLE BOX – Official Book Trailer from Ideals Books on Vimeo.

We are starting a new tradition this year!

Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.

This hardcover book is beautiful in both picture and in meaning.  It begins by saying, “Dear reader, you are the light of the world. Make it sparkle.”  This book is a gift in itself as it hopefully helps other families start their own similar tradition in their homes.  This story is about a little boy, Sam, that is anxiously awaiting Christmas and thinks about what he wants on his Christmas list when he notices this sparkle box sitting on their mantle. He keeps asking what it is and he is told they have to fill it before they can open it and let him know when they add something to it. They take some blankets and food to the shelter, Sam gives a pair of gloves and a candy bar to a homeless man he see’s and Sam’s dad announcing at their company Christmas party that all the employee’s donated and gave the gift of a well to a village in Africa that will now have clean drinking water for the entire village. Each of these things were done for others in need and are all given as a gift to Jesus on Christmas because when we do things for those in need we do are doing things for Jesus. <3 What a sweet, sweet story that I loved sharing with my boys and what a great idea!

Volunteer work is very near and dear to my heart and showing others simple kindness as well. These are things I want my children to also continue in their lives. We were part of a Homeschool coop that centered around Missions work. Every year the children would make blankets that we would take to the City Rescue Mission and on Valentines they would take Valentines cards and goodies to veterans at the local VA hospital. We have since moved away and are still unpacking and clearing out storage units but this is something I want us to continue here and this book was a great reminder!  I read this book to my two youngest boys while they bathed tonight and their reactions were priceless. My five-year-old, Ryan, had a solemn look on his face and stared intently at the book as I read. It had his total attention and he heard every word I read. They both loved me pulling our own “sparkle box” from inside the book and folding it together.  I asked them what they thought about it and the idea’s started flowing. This is going to be a lot of fun and a great experience for them as we fill our very own sparkle box for Jesus this year.

I think this is a book every believer should read to their children and a wonderful idea to help take the commercialism out of Christmas and shine the light back where it belongs on the true meaning of Christmas while teaching our children a great lesson.  We used to carry small ziplock baggies in our glove box with small things like a granola bar, a couple dollars, a card for the City Rescue Mission and other little goodies in it we could hand out to homeless people that we came across that were asking for help.


I have one copy of this book to give away to a reader but for this giveaway we are not going with Rafflecopter or something like that. Just plain ole comments. Please leave a comment with something your family does at Christmas time and your email address in this format so I can contact the lucky winner: name at internetservice dot com. For a bonus entry let me know if you will start your own sparkle box tradition and/or what volunteer type activities your family participates in. Thank you. Giveaway ends 11/23/2012.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

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14 Responses so far.

  1. Charlene says:

    My dad’s birthday is on Christmas and my husband and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary on the same day. Last year my dad asked everyone to sign a contract that they would let him pick a family or individual and insure they have a wonderful Christmas, as his birthday present. He has not disclosed who he has chose yet, but I think that it is an awesome way to give back. My dad is one of the most unselfish men I’ve ever known…it will be hard for me to not spoil the dickens out of my 3 grandchildren (ages 5, 4, 3 that we have custody of).. but what a beautiful thing to see them learn about giving! 🙂

    • Valerie says:

      Thanks for entering Charlene and your dad does sound like an amazing guy! I wish money wasn’t an option for us so that we could do so much more for those in need around us but we do help as we can and where we can. I love seeing my children to acts of kindness as well. It’s a great thing. Good luck.

  2. Cassie Delp says:

    I have always tried to do something for children in need like the Angel Tree or Toys for Tots but this year I was able to get my son more involved and he even spent some of his own money, so sweet, on Operation Christmas Child. I really want to come up with something we can do together for volunteer work but I haven’t found an opportunity yet. This book sounds really nice and I love the idea of the sparkle box and reminding our kids what a joy it can be to give.

    • Valerie says:

      Hi Cassie and thanks for entering. I have always loved helping too. Even as a young child I would pick a card off the angel tree and fill a box for someone and you are right it is so awesome to involve our children in loving those in need. Keep helping and doing what you are doing. We can make such sweet memories with our children by helping others and selfless acts of kindness. Good luck

  3. Deedra says:

    What a wonderful book! I have got to get one for my kiddos. We got the World Vision catalog today and I was just thinking about giving a gift in the name of some of the people on my Christmas list this year and having the kids pick out something to give in the place of one of their gifts.

    • Valerie says:

      Deedra that is a precious idea! Thank you so much for entering and best wishes to you and your family and keep on giving and teaching your children the joys of giving. 😀

    • Valerie says:

      Congrats! Deedra you were selected as the winner of the Sparkle Box giveaway. I didn’t have any other way to contact you so I hope you see this and shoot me an email to Valerie at its-the-simple-things dot com
      Valerie recently posted..Yay, It’s DecemberMy Profile

  4. Jill Hardie says:

    Hi Valerie! Thank you for your review of The Sparkle Box. I am so excited to hear that your family is going to do the tradition this year! I know you will be blessed by it! I loved hearing Ryan’s reaction and that your children are already thinking of ideas. Your children may enjoy some free printable activities on There are also many ideas on the site that help make The Sparkle Box tradition extra special. Blessings! -Jill Hardie

    • Valerie says:

      Jill, the first thing he did this morning was grab our Sparkle box and go run to tell his daddy about it. He speech isn’t the clearest so I just smiled when I heard him say. Look dad, this is our farkle box 😀

  5. Audrey Griffis says:

    we adopt 2 kids aroudn teh ages of my 2 kids and we bring our kids to help pick out the toys/ other small items we send them this will be our 5th year doing it 🙂 it always makes me feel great 🙂 thanks for teh chance this sounds like an awsome book

  6. Mary Tran says:

    We go to Xmas Eve mass then celebrate Xmas on Xmas Eve.
    Mary Tran recently posted..Family Fun Day @ Boomers! (Plus a GIVEAWAY)My Profile

    • Valerie says:

      My husband is originally from Germany and they would celebrate on Christmas Eve as well so we decided we let the kids open one present on Christmas Eve but the rest wait until morning. I love the Christmas season <3

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