What Parents (Really) Want for Christmas

Artificial tree displays begin sprouting at home improvement stores in October. Holiday shopping commercials start on television before the trick-or-treaters arrive. And more and more stores are starting Black Friday door-busters on Thanksgiving day. While the buying season kicks off earlier every year, the most important and lasting gifts cannot be bought.

Like the thoughtfulness of homemade cards, chubby handprint reindeers, or good deeds done in the spirit of holiday joy. Instead of featuring letters to Santa, this year we asked parents what they wanted from their children for Christmas. We offer a few wish lists.  


“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hillis


Chad and Natasha Kennedy
Olive Branch
Alex, 10 & Marley, 2

I want to sleep past 7 a.m. on Christmas morning!

I would love for my 2-year-old daughter to be so well behaved that we won’t have to spend midnight mass in the cry room.

I would love for my 10-year-old son not to roll his eyes, huff under his breath, or ask me, “Why do I have to do that?” for just 24 hours.

Above all else, I want my children to be happy, healthy, and kind.


Jonathan and Erin Gleaves
James, 15, Chris, 14, & JP, 5

I would love to receive hugs — good hugs — and kisses for a week at bedtime.

To be served breakfast in bed, with my 5-year-old son taking my order and the two older boys cooking.

I want my middle son to have a movie night at home — just him and me.

My 15-year-old to be a functioning member of our home until he turns 18.


Mark and Janie Simpson
Linnae, 7, Troy, 4, & Callan, 1

I want my kids to decorate the tree anyway they want. Let your minds go for ideas, even if the tinsel ends up on the dogs.

Help with the holiday cooking. Pick out Granny’s or Daddy’s recipes and add new stuff to them.

Listen closely on Christmas Eve when we read the Bible story of Baby Jesus.

Keep alive the tradition of opening presents on Christmas morning, and making cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate to sip by the fire. I’d like to know that what we did when we were little was being passed on.


Corey and Cheryl Mesler
Toby, 24, & Chloe, 17

I want their sweet souls to be swept clean of images like Afghanistan and reality TV.

I wish for the ability to look at the stars and beyond, at angels.

I don’t want them to be afraid to be absurd.

Poetry. Read more poetry.


Lela Simpson Gerald
Max, 16, & Jack, 7

I’d love to see my teenager eat vegetables, tell me where he’s going before I ask, and surprise me by cleaning out his closet — the entire closet — including the moon shoes and football gear from fourth grade.

From my youngest son, Jack, allow me to videotape him doing his best hip-hop dance and post it on YouTube. The world would really love to know just how good Jack’s moves are. Also, if he could manage to feed his fish and stop putting stickers on the walls.



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