All I Want for Christmas

The past few months have been a whirlwind. Fall is already crazy in itself. Three birthdays to celebrate, a soccer season to fill our Saturdays and at least one night a week with practices, and a new school year schedule to get accustomed to, not to mention Halloween and Thanksgiving, plus Christmas to prepare for right around the corner. And then on top of all that, this year we had a big move. Well, maybe not a big move, we only moved three buildings down the street, but a move nonetheless and our first with kids. They tell you it’s not easy moving with kids, but it’s one of those “you never really know until you’re in the throes of it yourself” type of ordeals.

I feel like we’re finally catching our breath in December, but even then we have all the festivities that come with Christmas, and as a mother to two young kids I want Christmas to be magical and special and include every activity that goes along with it. We have an advent calendar and a Jesse Tree; we’ve already baked cookies, watched at least 10 Christmas movies, and listened to Christmas music every day since Black Friday. I have it on my radar to visit Santa, see the singing bears in uptown and walk through the nearby Christmas village, take a carriage ride through the Billy Graham Library lights display, and watch still at least 20 more Christmas movies. Plus there are the parties to attend and the Christmas cards that need to be printed, addressed, stamped, and sent. Oh, and then there are the gifts; gifts for the kids, gifts from the kids, gifts for parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles, friends…

I told Travis my plans the other night during our monthly planning meeting (because when you rarely see each other during the week and neither one of you wants to talk plans on the weekends, you need a planning day at the beginning of the month).

“Wait, wait, hold on, you want to do all that?” He asked.

“Well, yeah.” I answered impatiently.

We sat on our bed scrolling through our calendars on our phones, the kids playing in their bedroom across the hall. I knew we didn’t have much longer before we heard a cry or a “he took my baby!”, so getting through our schedule needed to happen with haste. I rambled off all the free days we still had available leading up to Christmas day. Before I could set the date for our visit with Santa he gracefully interrupted,

“With all that we’ve had going on this fall I was really hoping December would be low key. I need it to be low key. The kids aren’t going to care if they don’t see Santa, they won’t care if we don’t make time for the singing bears and the Christmas village. What I really want is for us to enjoy being together even if it’s staying in and snuggling on the couch with hot cocoa and cookies.”

He was right. I held onto what he said throughout the rest of the evening as we set up our Christmas tree and the kids hung our ornaments. I wondered what I really wanted for my family. Do I want them to see the Christmas season as a time where we fill our agenda with every activity that we possibly can? Do I really want to stand in a long line for my kids to tell Santa what they want for Christmas when we’ve told them Santa only brings small stocking stuffers? Do I want to risk tempers flaring as we rush out of the house to attend the next unnecessary activity when all my kids really want to do is stay in and play or read?

After decorating our living room we set the kids down for a pizza dinner and turned on Elf. It’s one of the few traditions we’ve held on to since before kids came along. My mind continued reeling with what I want my family to embrace during this season. Love, joy, peace, hope, a giving heart. I want us to reflect on why God sent his son Jesus into the world as a baby as we sit together each evening reading our advent devotion and adding our nativity pieces to our calendar one by one. In that I want my kids to know waiting can be hard as Anna tries to add baby Jesus to the manger too soon, and I want them to come to see it’s worth the wait. I want my kids to experience the joy and anticipation that Christmas brings even if that is in receiving gifts because one day I hope their desire for gifts turns into a desire for Jesus Christ, the true gift we’ve been given. Because Lord knows Anna loves gifts, and if she loves gifts this much my prayer is that she will one day love Jesus even more!

Most of the activities that surround the holiday season are simply wonderful. I love looking back at all the great traditions I experienced growing up and I do want that for my own children. But I’m realizing that before I go and fill our calendar with all things Christmas I have to be sure I’m focused first on the things I truly desire for my family to embrace. If those are neglected then all the activities I have planned will be in vain.

And really adding one more thing to my plate just doesn’t need to happen. Snuggling under a warm blanket, sipping hot cocoa, baking homemade cookies, and seeing the sparkle in my children’s eyes as they anticipate Christmas morning is all we need to celebrate this Christmas season.


  1. Your husband sounds a lot like my husband...slow it down, low key, keep it simple. At least, I can imagine him saying something similar! Love your thoughts - yes, if I pack our December schedules full, there's little time left to just sit in the waiting, anticipation and hope for Jesus' birth! Thanks for sharing, Jess!

    1. Thank you, Cat! Husbands are great for slowing us mamas down. I hope you're able to sit and wait for Jesus amidst all the hustle and bustle of this season :)