The Greatest Gift – Holiday Reflections

It’s our last post in our Holiday Reflections series today, and SITStah Nichole does not disappoint. If you missed our first two posts in this series, we recommend heading back and checking out Remembering the Magic and The Memory Book. Today, Nichole writes about a very special Christmas list from her childhood that still holds great meaning today.


When a piece of paper if folded and unfolded time and again, it takes on a smooth, almost fabric-like quality. The creases soften and the paper seems as though it has always been folded.

When a piece of paper is held in the hands of a mother whose greatest dream is of giving her children a Christmas unlike anything she ever experienced, the paper holds magic.

My earliest memories of Christmas are of my mother, sitting at the dining room table, with a pen and paper in hand, making her Christmas list, each stroke of the pen bringing her closer to Christmas morning.

At the first sight of me, she would carefully refold her Christmas list and securely tuck it into the zippered inner pocket of her purse.

There were times during my childhood when we truly struggled to get by.  But, somehow, despite our lack of money, my mother worked magic at Christmastime and we never went without gifts from our wish list.

But, while I have clear memories of many those perfectly wrapped and long-hoped-for presents, my mother’s careful list became one of the greatest Christmas gifts of my childhood, as it held more meaning than any toy ever could.

For us, her children, it contributed to our sense of anticipation and the magic of the holidays. That list was proof to us that Christmas morning was drawing near.

For her, the list held hope.

It held her dreams of Christmas morning.

It held the wishes of a woman who, as a child of a large family of little means, asked for a doll and got shoes.

Of a mother who saved every spare penny she had throughout the year so that she could experience her children’s joy on Christmas.

The list was less about checking things off and more about adding things.

That piece of paper, with my mother’s precise handwriting, is the gift that will stay with me for always. I asked her recently if she still keeps her list and she assured me that she does.

That knowledge is a gift in and of itself.

(Thank you for that, Mom. I love you as high as the sky…)

All of us here at SITS hope you have a holiday filled with magic, wonder and many blessings.

About the Author

Nichole is a work-at-home mom to Katie, 4, and Matthew, 2. She blogs at in these small moments and writes about young children on Babble’s Kid Scoop. Though she loves being a mother to two small children, she truly looks forward to a well-deserved glass of cabernet at the end of the day.

About Alina Thomas

Alina is a Virginia wedding photographer based out of Lynchburg, VA. She has a passion for arts and design, and strives to express it through her work. She is creative at heart and loves nothing more than sharing her knowledge in photography with other Virginia wedding photographers on her blog each week. Alina loves being a new mom to her first-born and spending time with her husband who helps her run her businesses. Please feel free to follow her on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+.
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Remembering the Magic - Holiday Reflections



  1. says

    Amazing that you have such a sweet Christmas memory. I was so worried about getting the right gifts for my kids this year….and then I remembered they ignored all their gifts last year except for a few dozen rubber duckies that I grabbed days before Christmas just to be silly.

  2. says

    What a great memory! I have memories of my mom saving the Sears toy catalog for my brother and me. We would excitedly look through the catalog…and circle the toys we desperately hoped Santa would bring us…

    Happy Holidays!

  3. says

    Well written just like the list. This is a beautiful POST that I have read in a very long time. I WISH your MOM a very merry Christmas as well. This was an emotional piece of writing. A lovely and well written post go TRUE MOTHERHOOD. I admire the fact that you enjoyed your mom’s list and now you look at with a different prospect in life. BEAUTIFUL this brought tears to my eyes. Merry Christmas to you…

  4. says

    Thank you, Nichole. A perfect example of how much the thought really does count. So much of what your mother gave to you came in her loving, considerate preparations. I hope to give the same to my girls. A very Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

  5. says

    Beautiful. I have great memories of Christmases past, too!
    I especially love this line: “The list was less about checking things off and more about adding things.” Your mom must have written more things in her heart aside from that list you saw her making. I wonder what other hopes and dreams those were?

    Hope you’re having a blessed Christmas season so far. Thanks for this beautiful piece.

  6. says

    This is so beautiful.
    My favourite memories of Christmas time revolved around the kitchen.
    My mom and my grandma would bake from early morning till night. Us kids would eat the batter of course and sing songs.

  7. says

    What a lovely memory. I also frequently reference a list, and now I wonder if Abbey and Dylan will notice and have fond memories of it as well. You have such a gift for noticing the little things that mean so much.

  8. says

    I saying I really like – being 54 now – it is the small tings in life that turn out to be the big things.. too bad we don’t learn that early on. I have lots of wonderful memories & have lost too many loved ones!

    Thank you for sharing.

  9. says

    What a beautiful memory. I try and remember that it is usually the little things that leave long lasting memories. The little moments really matter.

  10. says

    I love this post. It sounds like your mother worked so hard to make sure that Christmas remained magical to everyone, herself included.

  11. says

    Oh, I couldn’t wait to read these words…and as always, so very beautiful. What a gift your mom was giving you without even realizing it.

    • says

      Thank you, my lovely friend.
      Sometimes the words just come, don’t they?
      And that my mom still keeps her list makes me so happy.
      I wonder what Katie and Matthew will remember?

    • says

      Thank you, Jessica!
      Funny the things that we remember, isn’t it?
      The trick is keeping that in mind as we obsess over making Christmas just perfect.

  12. says

    Thanks for sharing such a sweet memory–it points to the real importance of the special people in our lives!