When Santa asked my kids what they wanted for Christmas, I was a little worried: I had already done the shopping, so I hoped their wants coincided with my choices.

“I want a computer, a tablet, a camera, and a video camera,” said my six-year-old. Ouch. I had bought her some socks and a nightgown.

“I want a sword made out of rocks,” said my four-year-old pirate ninja. He had a glow-in-the-dark toothbrush coming to him.

“What do you want?” Santa asked my two-year-old.


“How about a nice ball?” asked Santa.

Scowl. But that’s okay. A ball I can manage.

The baby just screamed ‘kidnapper’ when Santa reached for him, but he took the candy cane without complaint. At least one of them won’t be disappointed Christmas morning.

The holidays can be hectic, stressful, and disappointing. Especially if we find socks instead of tablets. But if we change our focus it can be the most wonderful time of the year. So what can we do to enjoy the holidays more?

Get it done early. Christmas time is no surprise: snow comes, we eat turkey, Christmas.  No big deal. Then why are my cards arriving in January? Make a list and prioritize. Do cards before goody plates and carols. Presents can be bought year round – you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to buy toys.

Focus on the Reason of the Season. I once asked my toddler why we celebrate Christmas.

“It’s Santa’s birthday,” he replied. Ouch. I’m failing as a mom and that proves it. I find when we focus on the frivolity of the season, we end up with a meaningless mess. But when we take out the all-night shopping, the ‘ten-presents-per-person’ bustle, the ‘my-friends-have-this-so-I-need-it’ craze, then we have time to focus on our families and what’s really important. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. Let’s make sure it’s something worthwhile.

Gifts from the Heart. Some of the best gifts have no monetary value. My grandparents love stories and pictures of our family. As a young mother, the best gift I could receive would be an offer of free babysitting. What about a date night with dad? My boy would choose that over a Nerf gun. Gifts from the heart will be remembered long after the gifts are unwrapped and broken. There are many people out there who view Christmas as a time of loneliness and heartache. Reach out to those who are alone, who have no one to cherish, and share your Christmas. It will be unforgettable to them, and change your life for the best.

Enjoy it. Take time to relax. Breathe. Smell the pine on the tree and the cinnamon spiced wassail. Smile. Sing Christmas songs. Hug your loved ones. Every Christmas, every day, is a gift. So enjoy it.