Getting Ready for the Holidays: Ask and You Shall Learn

Getting Ready for the Holidays:  Ask and You Shall Learn

by Charlotte Siems 

A few years ago I asked my children two questions:

1.   If we could only do three things to celebrate Christmas, what would you want them to be?

2.   What was your favorite part about last Christmas?

Their answers brought tears to my eyes.

The three things included having the family together, decorating the house and eating special holiday treats that we only have at Christmas. Not one word about presents. 

The “favorite part about last Christmas” mentioned the same things, plus “seeing the look on someone’s  face when they opened the present I gave them.” 

I wasn’t surprised about the family or food, but what got me was the decorating. That year I had been grumbling in my heart (and on my face) about the annual chore of decorating. Who even cared? It was a lot of trouble. Why don’t we skip this part? 

I was absolutely floored at the impact this “chore” had on my children’s memories. Decorating for Christmas equals Creating Memories Through Atmosphere. 

It was humbling. To me, decorating was just another project to do. To my family, decorating was the foundation of Christmas Past, Present and Future. It set the stage for a beautiful season of family life. 

Instead of seeing this truth and enjoying the creation of memories of home, I was wasting my moments on earth feeling sorry for myself and resenting the work. 

As you begin preparations for this holiday season, ask your family what is important to them. You might be surprised (and changed) by their answer.

Please leave a comment below….



  1. jan jones says:

    Oh wow! I, like you, saw the decorating as a chore. My daughter LOVES to decorate, but also tends to leave a trail of half empty storage containers behind as she goes through and selects out what she wants. This year, instead of trying to stop her, I made one small rule – you must get everything you want to use out of the box and put it away before opening another box. She was still allowed to go back to previous boxes, but only one could be open at a time. This made it less stressful for me because at no time did I turn around and see a huge mess. Also, she had a manageable mess when she was finished.
    I love the idea of asking everyone what’s important to them. I usually feel dissatisfied with some of the holidays because I have a plan about what we should do, and it usually does not get completed. Now I see that perhaps I am the only one that these things are important to and I should see what the kids and my husband want to add to make Christmas memorable for them as well. Thank you for this post!

  2. I asked a similar question of the boys, age 6 and 4, and their first answer was driving around looking at Christmas lights while sipping hot chocolate and singing Christmas songs. I too had that teary-eyed moment at the fact that “togetherness” was where they went first, not getting presents. We also create an interactive card to give to grandparents and aunts and uncles each year and they were super excited to give that last year and kept asking throughout November when we could start our card for this year. It gives me hope that they are learning the values of family, generosity, and abundance, rather than the scarcity and negativity about family that seems to come with this season.

  3. And, forgot to add, we have been practicing gratitudes each day during snack time telling one another one or two things we are thankful for that day. It amazes me how much it opens the boys up to think outside themselves, which is the whole point of this Christmas season I think! 🙂

  4. Charlotte says:

    Lovely ideas, Jan and Jill!

  5. Since Christmas, like many other ways we celebrate ,is not a feast or sacrament that God has mandated. This year I am seeking His will more than I ever have. I love to study history. I have , I believe , by God’s mercy and grace, found out things I had never known about some of the holiday traditions passed down. I will not share those today. I would ask for your prayers. My husband is a strong leader and I have not submitted in a Christlike way consistently . So this year, hopefully my trusting in Jesus completely will be a new beginning for our whole family. I have gone all out in almost every Christmas and ” Christian” holiday tradition. Yet, this year , I am , by God’s grace, wanting to be still and know that he is God. I do know that the godly Puritan’s that helped established our godly country did not at first celebrate Christmas. Our family will celebrate again this year, but with a mommy and wife with a new heart . I cannot wait to see what God does. Truly Christ- mas is everyday in the life of a Christ follower.
    Charlotte , I actually came here to consider …trying to start Ttapp. This may one of the first changes for my season of life this year. Thanks again for helping so many in so many ways!

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