Every ornament has a memory as I stare at my lovely Christmas tree. I love it when my kids are home. My college kid and soon to be college kid. It has been a great Thanksgiving and now, we move on to Christmas. On this snowy cold winter day, I am thankful. The college laundry cleaned and folded, the oil change complete and the tank is full in the ole Chevy Colorado. Off he goes, back to college. Let’s prepare for Christmas.

As I reflect on those wonderful ornament treasures on my Christmas tree, I am reminded of how precious the time is and how precious the holidays are with family.

As I gaze at the home-made macaroni laced ornaments, I thought of putting up a fancier tree. One with gold and ribbon and all the sparkly stuff. Then, I gather my box of homemade ornaments over the years and I cannot let that go. Those precious treasures (and there are many) my kids have made over the years.

How long will I hang on to those? I don’t know. Maybe when my oldest is ready to have his own apartment and tree. Then maybe I will hand over the Scooby-Doo Hallmark collectible and the photo frame made of dried cereal. 

Looking ahead to 2016, I am excited for the future for my kids. One getting ready to launch his career and one graduating from high school. A whole new world. The future is bright and as my husband and I kid each other about being empty nesters, it will be filled with mixed emotions for sure.

I think about how things will change with our holiday travel plans in the next few years. We have always travelled 4-6 hours every year to see family. Wouldn’t miss it and  love it, but we will get to a stage where our kids will bring boyfriends and girlfriends home, possibly from other areas of the country, and so our holiday planning will have to adapt. Then when they get married and we become grandparents, our own traditions will begin.

Old traditions and new ones but we know for sure, things will change. My Christmas tree has not changed over the years—the same with the homemade ornaments of glitter, glue and ribbon. All made with tiny fingers at a church Christmas advent fair or a preschool holiday party. Lots of good memories and my kid’s childhood all on one tree.

I look at young families getting ready for Christmas pageants, at church and out in the community shopping. Part of me is glad it is over and part of me misses it at the same time. The hustle and bustle of gift giving, office parties and longer grocery lists make me want to go back to simpler holidays.

I don’t prepare for Santa gift anymore, but my Christmas list consists of the latest technology and the latest in clothing styles. It is all good, change is good.


As I stare at the homemade ornaments made with love, I am enjoying the precious moments I have with my kids, my young adults. I love bonding time to listen to their dreams and plans. What are their goals? Where would they like to live someday? Those are the things I ask.

Those are just a few of my thoughts and feelings this season. A walk down memory lane but also excitement for the future. We hope and wish for good things, things of abundance and hope and love for your family this Christmas season and for the New Year. God Bless.

Renae Zimmer

My name is Renae Riddle Zimmer. I was born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska. I am a Midwest girl. I married my high school sweetheart, Dave Zimmer and raised two awesome kids. Nolan, 21 and Kamryn, 17. As we approach our empty nest years—we reflect a lot on our life—our kids—and being a part of the “sandwich” generation as well. Taking care of teenagers and aging parents. All the joys and difficulties that are ahead. We are solid in our faith—solid in our family and we love each other, support each other. I work a corporate job and travel. My husband is an educator and coach. We love to cook, garden, landscape, watch sports and enjoy our kids activities. We follow up college-age son as he runs cross country and track for Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo. And support our daughter as she is in the last year of high school . Where did the time go?