The ULTIMATE Gift to Give Your Kids!

post image 1536

Words by
Inger Erickson

Published on


Yay, it’s Christmastime! I look forward to it all year long!

I have a confession, though…

While I love it, it kinda stresses me out!

I get some anticipatory anxiety and start thinking about “what ifs.” What if I don’t get the online deal before it expires? What if I don’t get ALL my Christmas decorations up and my house doesn’t look as Christmasy as last year? What if I don’t send out Christmas cards? Then my days fill up with online shopping, quick texts and emails, grocery shopping, errands, church responsibilities, meetings, etc. 

Can anyone relate?

Last week when I was decorating my tree, I pulled out a few crystallized pipe cleaner ornaments we made 10 years ago for a family night activity. All of the sudden, I was so grateful we’d taken the time to do that and it made me realize I have GOT to make sure we make some memories again this year! I haven’t been very good at this for the last several years!

So, for the first time, I’ve created a MEMORIES Check-Off List. My goal this holiday season is to make opportunities for more face-to-face interaction and “doing-things-as-a-family-even-if-I-get-some-push-back” activities! Here’s what’s on my list:

December 2nd — We gave each family member a certain amount of cash to spontaneously give to people. This is a family favorite and it is fun to see what each other feels inspired to do.

December 8th — Principal’s Pantry – We made packages full of simple food items for school teachers to discretely hand out to their low-income students to help supplement their weekend food supply. (Pudding cups, boxes of chocolate milk, mac-and-cheese packets, instant oatmeal, fruit cups, peanut butter or cheese crackers, Capri suns, and a card with an encouraging message.)

December 13th — Make small batches of Great-Grandma’s Apple Crisp for war veterans and widows in the neighborhood (and maybe some crystalized pipe cleaner ornaments again haha!)

December 15th — Attend a Messiah sign-in

December 21st — Visit the Christmas lights downtown and grab a warm treat from a food truck

December Sundays — Play card/board games every Sunday afternoon (This is going to be a New Year’s Resolution, too!)

I know a lot of Gabb parents have much smaller kids than me, so, just for fun, here are a few things I have fond memories of doing with my kids. Maybe your family will enjoy them, too!


  • Go to the park after a snowstorm and play on the playground (Go down the slide WITH them – it is the best!)
  • Ask if they are willing to choose one of their toys to give away to a less fortunate family. The KEY to this activity is to have them chose a toy they really LIKE, clean it up to look like new, and deliver it as a family.
  • Make treats for neighbors and deliver them together.
  • Watch a Christmas movie (Our kids’ favs were Hallmark’s Mrs. Miracle, The Santa Clause, Christmas With The Kranks)
  • Go to Walmart and let them shop for non-perishable food and warm clothes for local refugees.


My husband keeps asking me what I want for Christmas this year, but I haven’t said anything yet. (Oops, I’m probably giving him anticipatory anxiety!) Honestly, all I really want is for all of us to live in the moment and make memories! After years of Christmas with my kids, I know this is all the matters. So, I hope you’ll join me this season by creating your own MEMORIES check-off list and, together, we can give our families, and ourselves, the ULTIMATE Christmas gift: memories.

Jill’s Sugar Cookies

3/4 c Sugar

1/3 c Butter

1 Beaten Egg

1 T Milk

1/2 t Vanilla (or other flavors like coconut, almond, mint, etc.)

1-1/2 + 1/8 c Flour

1-1/4 t Baking Powder

1/4 t Salt

Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add salt, baking powder, and flour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake until they’re just barely golden on the bottom. Cool completely before frosting. (Yields 18)

Jill’s Butter Cream Frosting

4-1/2 c Powdered Sugar

3/4 c Softened Butter

1/2 T Vanilla (or other flavors like coconut, almond, mint, etc.)

3 T Milk

Food Coloring

Beat sugar and butter until creamy. Mix in vanilla and milk. Separate into bowls if making different colors.