Yes, Christmas is the season for giving, but as I was thinking about wish lists and the never-ending to-do list I became more and more convinced that there are more important gifts than those we find under our arboreal décor.

Yes, Christmas is the season for giving, but as I was thinking about wish lists and the never-ending to-do list I became more and more convinced that there are more important gifts than those we find under our arboreal décor.

This year our toy purge came a bit earlier than usual as I used my nesting energy prior to giving birth in July, however under normal circumstances our toy bins get a yearly clean-out just in time to make room for the new toys at Christmas time.

Honestly, I’m always a bit saddened to see toys that just last year made the littles jump for joy so carelessly tossed by the wayside. (Okay, except for that annoying toy whose batteries just won’t die–I’m not sad to see that one go.) As the years pass (and goodness, do they fly) I find myself searching for gifts I can give my son whose value will continue long after the needles have fallen to the floor and the twinkle lights have burned out. It’s with this in mind that I came up with the following acronym…


This holly jolly season is full of lights and fun. Everywhere we look there are lights and glitter and sparkly things vying for our attention and that of our sons. Between the never-ending music and the hordes of people around every corner this is the perfect recipe for meltdown disaster. Anxiety can run rampant among boys who are already wound tightly by the appearance of inclement weather and the loss of their outside time.

In this time of high nerves and stress coupled with excitement and anticipation I’m choosing to offer my son grace. Grace when he bounces off the wall which causes him to bump the Christmas tree and ends in bruises on the floor. Grace for when he is too loud and too boisterous because oh my goodness there are gifts under the tree and someone just gave him a candy cane and the sugar high is just.too.much. I’ll hold myself to a standard of grace as well because there’s no such thing as too much grace. Is there a place in this season that you can offer undeserved grace to your son?


I’m pretty sure that the busyness of the holiday season is only rivaled by that of the end of the school year and by rivaled, I mean just that—I’m not sure which one beats out which. The holiday season brings with it so many “obligations.” This party here, that party there, here a party there a party everywhere an obligation.

With so many obligatory events comes a feeling of resentment. If I examine deep down in my heart I want to spend the majority of my Christmas season with my family and if that’s my priority then I need to be intentional about my time with them. I can intentionally plan our calendar so my son and his siblings are my priority by filling in my calendar around them instead of planning our holidays and then trying to squeeze in their events secondarily. In what ways can you be intentional with your son this season?


This one might seem like a no-brainer, but the longer I have a boy in my house the more I’ve come to realize that food really is a love language and it’s one worth learning well. I’m committed to making sure my boy’s stomach is full of yummy food that he loves.

Sometimes that means a labor intensive meal of turkey and stuffing. More often than not it consists of tucking a brownie into his school lunch or baking a special treat for him when he gets home from school. It doesn’t have to be fancy to convey that you are thinking about him and cooking something especially for him. What’s one comfort food or dessert you could prepare for your boy this season?


This seems like such a cliché gift, but it’s probably the most profound way by which my son feels loved. The amazing thing is that it doesn’t even need to be a lot of time. Roman loves to help in the kitchen. Even the smallest gesture of being able to spend ten minutes with me making something or just being in my space is enough to fill his love tank for the rest of the day and I’ve found that a full love tank helps counteract the anxiety and the meltdowns that are par for the course this time of year.

Roman also appreciates being able to spend time with other men. I’m a single mom, so the time spent with his Dad is super important to Roman. It’s also imperative that he spend time with other Godly role models. Thankfully, God has gifted Roman and I with some superb friends and family that pour into Roman on a regular basis. Can you set aside a fifteen to thirty minute amount of time to spend with just your son this week? Is there someone in your life who could pour into your son during this hectic season?


Last, but not least is the gift of service. It might seem a bit backward to think of service as a gift, but serving others is by far the greatest gift. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “It is better to give than to receive,” but may I posture that serving is a gift that goes both ways?

In the area of service, both the giver and the receiver are blessed. With four sisters, Roman has ample opportunity to serve, but this is the perfect season to broaden our sons’ horizons by acquainting them with needs outside of our own home. Whether it be packing a shoebox, ringing a bell, cutting shoes, or doing odd jobs around the house to collect money for gifts to be sent overseas, there are many opportunities for our sons to participate in serving others. What’s one way your son could get involved in serving this season?

Grace, intention, food, time, and service—five gifts that any mom can give.

I personally struggle the most with grace and time. I seem to be short on both of those during this season. I’m short on time because I’ve packed my schedule too full and in turn I’m tired and short on grace. This year, though, I want it to be different. Sure, that might mean that I don’t bake as many cookies or attend holiday get togethers, but it will definitely mean that I make lasting memories with my son.

Your Turn: In which area do you struggle the most? How can you improve in that area this season?

Kristina Tanner –