Children's Book Author | Mom | Fundraiser


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Keep Present the Reason for the Season.


Another one in the books. Merry Christmas, btw.

Each year, I think “We’re not going to go overboard.” “I don’t want the kids to begin to expect a ton of toys.” “How do I get them to appreciate what we/they have?” And .. the big one – “How do I get them to remember what Christmas is all about anyway?”

But I try so hard to create a nice tradition, a nice holiday and possibly some memories they can recall when they are older or talk about with their school friends. And maybe even create some traditions they might carry on to their own families down the road, like I have with a couple from my own childhood.

The truth is I don’t want them disappointed. They are great kids. Like every mother, I love them with every fiber I have and want to meet or even beat their expectations. If they mention something to Santa, then by golly, Santa must not disappoint! And most likely, Santa will go above and beyond anyway. But what’s the balance?

I’m sitting at my mom’s house in Virginia after a long day of eating too much and opening presents, wondering did I screw it up again?

I hope not. They are only six, but we talk about how we are incredibly lucky to live where we live, to have what we have, to enjoy the things we enjoy. And how it is so incredibly important to ‘do good’ for others, supporting those that might be in need.


I don’t know if it is sticking in their young minds right now, but I do my best to practice what I preach. From taking them to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, building meals for underfed children of the world, to buying gifts for the various angel tree gift giving trees at their school and church, to having them put in a donation to the red Salvation Army buckets, and even involving them in our own (and our ultimate) give-back effort through our family foundation Ben Smiles Memorial Foundation.

I hope they see and understand, and I pray it sticks with them.


At its core, Christmas is a celebration of life, of Jesus’ birth and life and of what he did for us. And we choose to honor him through our acts and gifts.

And, if I do too much this year, there’s always next, right? And maybe then I won’t decide to get the matching mother/daughter Ugg boots that I’m pretty sure I was way more excited about anyway.


Elizabeth GerlachComment