Christmas is fast-approaching, and we are in full Santa swing at the Thompson house. Christmas lights are hung on the roof, garland is spread throughout the living room, and glitter is EVERYWHERE. Yep. It certainly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Christmas is one of the major reasons I had kids–to carry on the warm and fuzzy traditions my parents shared with my siblings and me as kids– Bing Crosby playing as we decorated the Christmas Tree, matching my sisters in itchy dresses for what seemed like the entire Christmas season, repetitively thumbing through JCPenney and ToysRUs catalogs circling our most wanted items and then writing them on lists so Santa and Mom could easily read them, helping Mom decorate with her Christmas AnnaLee dolls, watching my dad hang the Christmas lights– never forgetting the hand crafted star of lights on the front of our house, attending Midnight Mass and then eating at Waffle House (Dad’s favorite), curling up on the couch next to Mom to watch Meet Me in St. Louis and White Christmas every night, waking early on Christmas morning and waiting on the stairs while Dad got his huge video camera set to record– the thing was so big, it rested on his shoulder, took a VHS tape on the side, and had an eyepiece that came off the front and bent around to the eye, eating around the family table with my brother, sisters, Mom, Dad, and whichever dog we had at the time, laughing and smiling and loving life. I love Christmas because of these memories, and I want nothing more than to bestow that same blessing to my girls.

I have already introduced most of these traditions to my girls, while adding a few of our own along the way. We watched Meet Me in St. Louis  and White Christmas last night and on Saturday, we decorated our Christmas tree while Bing Crosby crooned in the background– when his songs were over, I added my own tradition of NSYNC’s Christmas album.

Last week, I sat down with the girls to make their wish lists for Santa, and what I got could not be more communicative of their two distinct personalities if I had written them myself.


Aubrey, my “no, I don’t want to wear that, I want to wear this, don’t you think I look cute, I dressed myself and applied three coats of lip gloss, I am bringing an extra headband just in case, I need to wear my dance shoes every time music comes on, cartwheels and handstand perfecting” four-and-a-half-year-old specifically requested the following:

  1. Rainbow rain boots
  2. A rainbow unicorn bicycle with a bag on the front so I can video all of the stuff I can put in the bag when I ride my bicycle
  3. A baby doll that walks and talks and closes her eyes when she lies down in her bed
  4. A Barbie Dreamhouse with three beds and a garage where I can park my Barbie car
  5. A gymnastics mat with hand and feet prints for cartwheels so I don’t have to use a blanket anymore

Oh is that all?  I will get right on that… But seriously, where do moms of picky kids who know exactly what they want shop? No really? How am I going to make all of these incredibly specific wishes come true for her? I really hope Santa can come through on this one.

On the other hand, Maycee Jo, my “yes I suck my toe, you gotta problem with it, I have two names because one can’t contain me, take me with you, chicken nuggets rule my world unless you have popsicles, do I have to wear pants and shoes, go with the flow, talk to EVERY SINGLE stranger everywhere we go” two-and-a-half-year-old simply asked for the following:

  1. Balls

That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Done. Mom of the year in this one’s eyes for sure!

I laugh at their lists, but I know I probably had lists that looked very similar. Well, if I am being honest, my lists definitely looked a lot more like Aubrey’s than Maycee’s. I can’t tell you if I got everything I ever asked for. I know my mom and dad tried really hard. What I do remember is the way Christmas made me feel every single year and continues to make me feel well into my own adult life.

I know this year will be no different. Christmas Eve will come, and we will load up for church–taking up an entire pew and maybe half of another. Maycee will get restless and talk way too loudly. The people around us will laugh, and I’ll turn red with embarrassment. Santa will walk down the aisle and bow in front of Baby Jesus in the manger, and my eyes will fill with tears at the beautiful sight. We will go home, join hands in prayer around the feast we have prepared and eat until our tummies ache. The kids will run and scream and beg to open their gifts from Mimi and PawPaw. PawPaw will walk around with his video camera (much smaller than the one of the 90s), catching us all at a bad angle or inopportune time, but we’ll stop what we are doing to embarrassingly wave to him–humoring his need to capture the moments every year. We will remind the kids to leave cookies, milk, and carrots for Santa and his reindeer and to sleep well so Santa can leave their presents by the tree. We will load up once again and head home for the night. We will all wake Christmas morning and witness the magic of Christmas through our children’s eyes. And what magic it is.


My Christmas list has changed significantly over the years. I really only want two things: that my girls grow up understanding the true meaning of Christmas–the birth of Christ on that Holy Night that truly is the reason for the celebration, and that one day, they will share our family Christmas traditions with their own families, fondly remembering the warmth of Christmases past like I do.