20 Things I Want My Children to Understand About Christmas

“What’s on your Christmas list this year?”

It’s a question that I have heard regularly all month long. I’ve been asked by my husband, my parents, my friends and colleagues. I’ve asked the same question to my husband, our daughter, my parents, my brother, my in-laws, our nieces and nephews, our friends, and my colleagues. I always enjoy shopping for bargains and surprising loved ones with thoughtful gifts as we celebrate the holidays… but the truth is, it’s just stuff.

This is stuff that we’re going to have to put in our homes and deal with and manage and garage sale and complain about and purge and clean and dust and take care of as the days pass. I mean seriously, our child is NOT in need of any more toys, but she’ll be getting more toys.

So this got me thinking about a different kind of list. Not a list of stuff we wish we had but a list of what I’d like my child to understand about Christmas. And here it is…


  1. In our house, Christmas is about Jesus. Do not lose the reason for the season amidst your to-do lists and wish lists.

  2. The stuff goes away. Relationships do not.
  3. Take time to slow down and appreciate the little things.
  4. Be friendly to retail workers. Look them in the eye and smile. Always say thank you for their assistance.
  5. Take photos with your loved ones, even if your hair is messy. You will cherish those memories down the road.20things2
  6. Family matters. Take time to invest in family. Show them extra love and kindness.

  7. Being busy during the holidays should not be a burden. Fill your schedule with cheerful gatherings and people you love. Enjoy it.
  8. Always smile and greet the bell ringer at the store. Carry extra change for this purpose.
  9. Keep it simple, not stressful.
  10. The number of presents received does not matter. It’s the thought that counts.
  11. Baking makes a mess. It also makes memories.

  12. Sing the carols. After all, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!
  13. Traditions matter. Establish them and stick with them. Also, always allow room for new traditions.
  14. Even if life isn’t perfect, there still can be beautiful and joyful moments.
  15. Give to others first. Dedicate yourself to giving back all year round.
  16. Give others grace, as you don’t know their story.20things3

  17. Cultivate and celebrate the spirit of wonder in little kids.
  18. If other kids believe in Santa Claus and you don’t, don’t ruin it for them.
  19. You won’t get everything you want. Be grateful for what you are blessed to receive.
  20. Show gratitude. Be thankful. Say I love you.

What’s on your list??


Jessi is a creative, organized and enthusiastic girl mom with a soft spot for country music and all that it entails. She's a single mom to two sassy little girls (born in 2014 & 2018). She's putting down roots in West Branch, Iowa, just a few miles from her hometown of West Liberty. Jessi works in fundraising, event coordination and community development and enjoys hiking, crafts, bargain hunting, party planning, and taking in the simple joys of life. She is admittedly addicted to funny memes, is passionate about philanthropy, and is completely smitten by the adventure of motherhood.


  1. Beautiful list, Jessi! One of the amazing things about Christmas is that it has a different meaning and magic for everyone and we all benefit from understanding another person’s Christmas cheer. Your list captures that openness wonderfully.


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