The One Thing I Can’t Remember about Christmas

by | Dec 9, 2016 | Family, Parenting Young Kids | 4 comments

Merchandise is Here!

We’ve been talking about Christmas this week, and for today’s Friday Roundup I wanted to do something a little different than normal. 

So in keeping with our theme, today my daughter Rebecca is talking about some memories she has of Gregoire Christmases, but, most importantly, what she can’t remember.

Here’s Becca!

Presents and Christmas: What Kids Remember

When I look back on Christmases from my childhood, I remember three things. 

First, we always baked a birthday cake for Baby Jesus.

We started when I was 3 or 4, and it’s my earliest Christmas memory. It became one of our family’s traditions, since we never did the Santa thing, and because, well, it was Baby Jesus’ birthday after all. Plus my family loves cake. So any excuse pretty much goes.

Second, Katie and I agonized over waiting for my parents to wake up.

One particular time it was 5:15 AM Christmas morning when I was 6 years old, and Katie was 4.

Katie and I weren’t allowed to wake Mom and Dad up until it was 6:30 (pure torture). But we were way too excited to fall back asleep. So Katie and I got out our favourite stuffed animals and started to bargain with the clock. “PLEASE make it be 5:16, clock! PLEASE! Teddy wants it to be 5:16 so badly!” And then it would turn to 5:16 and we’d start all over again with the next number.

We sat and did that for a solid hour and fifteen minutes.

And then we ran as quickly (and loudly) as we could to Mom and Dad’s room, jumped into their bed and wiggled and giggled excitedly until they woke up. And then when we became teenagers the roles reversed! Although Mom and Dad never really wiggled and giggled as much as we did.

Third, it was really laid back.

I remember waking up for Christmas when I was 8 and Katie was 6. We woke up at 6:00 that year, because we heard something. We peeked out of our bedroom door to catch Mom sneaking downstairs with an armful of presents. She froze, paused, and then whispered, “Santa’s running a little late?” 

We laughed and went back to bed, and she let us come down a whole fifteen minutes earlier that year than any of the years before. Score!

Our family did things at its own pace–we weren’t scrambling to drive from one city to the next, but we made sure to see whoever was available. We didn’t stress about having the perfect Christmas tree, or the perfect presents–and it wasn’t a big deal if mom and dad forgot to put the presents under the tree. It was just fun.

But there’s one thing that I cannot remember no matter how hard I try.

And that’s the presents. 

When I look back, 3 presents stand out to me from my childhood (before age 16, since my memory’s still pretty good for the last five years). A foosball table, a giant sleeve of Barbie dresses, and a tea set. And I honestly cannot remember the rest.

Making Christmas traditions so that it's not all about the presents: A Millennial explains what she remembers about Christmas--and what she doesn't!

I remember opening presents, and I remember being excited about the presents I got, and organizing the in my toy boxes and drawers in my room, and purging old toys to make room for the new ones. But I simply cannot remember what exactly I received.

And I think that’s because the highlights of the holiday were never what we got. And we got awesome presents. But most of our Christmas wasn’t about that–gifts were over by 9:00, but our day had only started. My family did such an amazing job of making Christmas about celebrating Jesus and spending time with family–and making that time together fun.

Mom joked around when she forgot to put the presents under the tree. Katie and I bonded by pleading with our clock to speed up time. I stood on a chair to “help” stir the Baby Jesus Birthday Cake, because I couldn’t reach the counter otherwise. It didn’t matter if the tree was perfect (which is good, because it was really ugly), if our hair was curled for the Christmas Eve service, or if everything didn’t go according to plan.

What mattered was just that we were together, and that was made the priority.

So I don’t remember the presents. But I definitely remember Christmas.

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum

What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?

We’ve had a great week at the blog!  This week’s post have hit all of the Top’s categories, so this week on the roundup, we will be looking at some of the 3’s and 4’s! And thank you all for your continued love and support!

#1 Post on the Blog: On Economics, Sex, and Hillary Clinton’s Relationship To Women Like Me
#3 on the Blog Overall: 10 Signs You’re Respecting Your Husband Too Much 

#4 from Facebook: Is It Okay To Be Upset If My Husband Talks To His Ex-Wife?
#4 from Pinterest: Creating Christmas Traditions When You Don’t Have Kids

Why I’m a Great Mom….

Katie just posted this on Instagram. Finals and deadlines with sponsored videos are getting to her, poor girl.

Well friends, on a scale of ‘hot mess’ to ‘freaking hot mess’ I think I’m somewhere around a ‘flipping hot mess.’ This picture is going out as an appreciate post to my mom, who after praying with her inconsolable, sobbing, distraught daughter over FaceTime said, “Order yourself a pizza, dear. It’s on me.” YOU DA REAL MVP, MOM. Instead of being a stressing the heck out university student, I am now a FED stressing the heck out university student who is eating pizza while lying on my tile floor, which is much better. Pizza does seem to put life back into perspective, can’t wait to give you a massive hug when I’m home for Christmas, Mom❤️❤️ And in all seriousness to you who is reading this, I would love prayer today. So many things are coming due at the same time and I’m feeling very overwhelmed. – 1 Peter 5:7 –

A photo posted by Katie Gregoire (@katielizg) on

We finally decorated for Christmas!

In case you missed it, my mother moved in with Keith and me this summer, and it’s been going great. And one of the perks is that we have double the Christmas decorations to choose from now! Our house has never looked more Christmas-y. We have a rule that we never decorate before December 1, but now that it’s decorated our house is looking very festive. It’s getting us really into the spirit of things, and it’s getting us excited for when the kids all make their trek back here to Belleville for the holidays!

When did you put up decorations? Or are you a last minute kind of family?

I’m off to make some hot chocolate and really get into the spirit of Christmas. No holiday is complete without copious amounts of chocolate. I hope you have a great weekend, everyone!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Michelle Jojola

    I really loved this! My husband and I are in our mid 20’so, with two little boys (5 &1). It’s been so hard for me this season not to be wrapped up in trying to get the “perfect” presents for them. But your daughters words are a great reminder that it’s our time together with them that they will remember more than any gift

  2. Ashley

    I really enjoyed reading this post, especially the part about bargaining with the clock! Haha!

    We live in an apartment and don’t decorate a lot (we don’t put up a tree). I just got out decor out this Tuesday. We had a big bazaar at church last weekend, so all my time the previous week was spent working on the items I was donating to that.

  3. Melissa

    I could not agree more. I am in my mid forties and I only remember a few gifts I received for Christmas as a child. I remember Christmas being magical but all of that centered around Jesus and his birth and of course time spent with family. Now with that being said gifts is not my love language in any way shape of form so knowing your kids and what speaks their love language is essential. I have a daughter who is much more of a gifts person than myself or my husband are. So we have had to be purposeful in giving her gifts that speak love to her but it doesn’t have to be a ton of gifts or expensive gifts but more meaningful things. And we have to be much more appreciative of the gifts we receive from her because giving gifts is definitely her way of showing love too.

  4. Becky

    My husband and I were talking about this too, when trying to figure out how we want to celebrate Christmas with our kids. We have a 1 year old and are expecting our second, so it’s a great time to set the precedents! I can’t remember more than a few presents from when I was a kid either– my first flute, a basic sewing machine, and (oddly) a rock tumbler kit. But I do remember family traditions and outings more. So what we’re trying, starting this year, is three gifts per child, one to represent each wise man, and one gift for the family to do something together, like a board game or family friendly movie. We also decided to make one of those gifts an experience one, so it’s something they remember! It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out, but if nothing else, hopefully it will either help them see that Christmas isn’t just about presents, or at least do something to counteract how crazy overboard the grandparents tend to go!


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