Christmas Interview: Carolyn O'Neal

Carolyn isn't a stranger to you on this blog. You've heard me talk about her here (directly) and here (indirectly). If you go to Houston's First you know her well as your Women's Director. Carolyn is someone I had an instant connection with. She is someone that I take note of what she says and does every time I am around her. I look for every opportunity I can to volunteer with her so I can just be around her more. A few of my favorite things about Carolyn: she doesn't take life too seriously (she knows how to laugh and laugh hard), she does take her faith seriously (we talk all the time about how we both have a very strong sense of right and wrong and discernment), and she loves her family more than anything else... and they love her. And of course the other thing I love about her is that she'd take a chance on a girl like me. She has pushed me into leadership, service and teaching and I am forever thankful for her belief in me... and her belief in others. Basically I hope I challenge myself to always be as purposeful and present as she is. You will adore her.

What has been 1-3 of your favorite Christmas traditions as a family?
As a child we would go to Lufkin and spend the night with my grandparents and we slept on the floor in front of the fireplace in anticipation of Santa coming down the chimney.  
When Allen and Dana first married they would spend the night with us on Christmas eve.  Of course when Hailey came along they wanted to be home.  We wanted them to start their own traditions as a family so for several years we would then we could go to their house for breakfast. 
Les, Allen and I were always involved in the Christmas music and serving together during the holidays was a lot of fun and purposeful.  Kept us focused on the purpose of the Holidays. 

What has been 1-3 of your biggest regrets about the holidays? 
A big regret is that we’ve not traveled to have Christmas with aunts and uncles in another state. They always came here. 

I’ve regretted so many times over purchasing the “perfect gift.” 

Do/did you do Santa? Share reasons and what you'd do different. If you didn't, how did you explain it to your kid so they weren't "that kid?" If you did, how did you explain that Santa wasn't real and did it break their trust in you?
We did Santa.  I was brought up with the tradition, but it was not the focus.  It was just the fun of the holiday. We did the same thing with Allen too.  Church activities, i.e., music programs were such a part of our holiday activities we kept our focus on birth of Christ.   

How do you do gifts for your kids? Others?
Having an only child it was tempting to give him everything he wanted, but we didn’t want him to think he got everything.   I love what Allen and Dana have done regarding Hailey’s Christmas gifts.  They give her 3 gifts because that’s what the wise men brought to the baby. 

For more information on the Christmas Interviews click here. And keep checking back in with the blog this month as interviews will be posted every day or so. All interviews: Amber Burger, Raegan Hodges, Christine Hoover, Jaye Martin, Carolyn O'Neal, Paige Swiggart, and Nancy Taylor.