Making Christmas Count – Part 1

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

馃懇馃従馃懆馃従鈥嶐煢别煈煆解嶐煢别煣掟煆筐煈ю煆金煈煆金煣旔煆攫煣戰煆攫煈煆綢 come from a family of nine kids. Yes, that鈥檚 right. There were nine of us. Six girls and three boys.

馃さ馃従馃懇馃徑鈥嶐煉拣煓忦煆 I don鈥檛 know how my parents did it but with faith in God, hard work and lots of prayer we all made it out of the nest as sane, successful and I鈥檇 like to think pretty decent humans.

馃巹One of the hallmarks of our experience growing up was that awesome and much exalted celebration of Christmas. You might imagine with a family the size of a baseball team that Christmas would be a pretty sparse and stressed occasion for our household. I mean imagine trying to bring joy to nine kids all of whom believe they each deserve the maximum amount of attention when it came to gift giving. Talk about time to grab the Tylenol!

馃巵 馃挐馃泹 Well my parents had a way of doing Christmas that still excites me to this day with the memories of times I鈥檒l treasure for the rest of my life. It may sound corny in this high tech era but all I can tell you is that it worked. Here is the Wille and Wilmotine Gwyn recipe for a Happy Christmas with nine little boys and girls:

馃摎 The Wish Books 馃摎

馃摤 馃崅 Before there was online shopping we had mail order catalogs! We watched the mailbox every day with great anticipation for the arrival. This ritual began in October as the leaves began to turn from summer green to a fiery palette of autumn colors. My siblings and I would speak in hushed tones about our mission always careful to keep our secrets from the ever watchful ears of our parents. Finally, the day came when the prized package we sought arrived in all its splendor: the Christmas Wish Book catalog!

馃Ц馃В馃幃馃З Never has a set of printed pages been so loved and adored by children as this assortment of toys, clothing and other items designed to tempt little hearts and drain the purses of countless parents. We perused those pages with the intensity of a surgeon and the vigilance of a hawk circling its prey. Nothing got by us from the latest doll ads to the best selling roller skates and bikes.

馃巺馃徔 Each of us had pads of paper and pencils to record our favorite items in hopes that Santa in his faraway North Pole Office would hear our dreams and deliver these special items to their place of honor beneath our Christmas tree.

馃摑 My list always ran for pages. I never seemed to think numbers mattered. And so did my siblings. However half the fun was making the list. You see you could dream big with a catalogue. You never worried if you鈥檇 get all you asked for. You believed there was strength in numbers. So the more items on your list the more likely you were to get something for Christmas that you really wanted. I credit our mother for taking this mission very seriously.

馃ざ馃従 We still believed in Santa and subconsciously seemed to know our mother had the inside scoop on Mr. Claus. She never failed to get our input as to what we wanted which was smart from a parent standpoint but also indicative of the respect she had for her children. She carefully collected all our lists upon completion and solemnly walked them into our parents鈥 bedroom. That was the last we saw of those precious strips of paper with their childish scrawl. However, it didn鈥檛 matter at that point where they went. We knew just putting them into the precious hands of our beloved Mom would be enough to insure they reached the hallowed halls of Santaland.

馃檱馃従鈥嶁檧锔忦煓囸煆金煓囸煆库嶁檪锔 All that remained was the wait! Although that was hard the wait also added to the anticipation. There鈥檚 nothing like looking forward to a great event in your life knowing and believing with all your heart that it is bound to happen. We were blessed with those kind of parents who made sure they kept hope and joy alive in our lives even when it meant sacrifice and struggle for them. And although we still believed in Santa, somewhere in our hearts and minds we kids knew the real MVP鈥檚 of this special day had always been and would always be our Mom and Dad.

Join me next week for more tips on how to get the most out of Christmas for you and the young children in your life and thanks for reading!

Dr. Marta


Every Monday you can meet me right here and on TheWRITEaddiction where I contribute various tips and tricks for helping all you parents and early childhood educators succeed in preparing children to excel in lifelong learning. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel for plenty of free resources.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at or visit my website

Leave a Reply