After sixty years on this planet, I have all the material things I need. And those things seem to reproduce. Honestly, I’ve donated three carloads of stuff to St. Vincent’s in just the last two weeks and I’ve barely scratched the surface. So, while a new sweater, a bottle of perfume, or an Apple watch are wonderful gifts, they’re not what I want this Christmas. I want the gift of time.

Kristin with her daughters at the Richard Rodgers Theatre

Each year, I take my daughters on a trip. We’ve toasted the sunset at Mallory Square in Key West, toured the twisty Hana Road in Hawaii, hiked out to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, got drenched at Niagara Falls, sipped wine in Napa, and watched “Hamilton” on Broadway (and got a selfie with Lin-Manuel Miranda).


At first, these trips made my money-conscious father cringe. He was right to be worried. I was a single mom on a fixed income (so far, my books have just broken even). But then after our third trip, he took me aside and said, “I understand why you take these trips. You’re building memories with your daughters.”


Exactly. By giving me their time, my family and I will also build memories. So, here’s what I asked my family to give me for Christmas this year:

Outside of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

I’d like a game day with my older daughter Caitlin to play Terraforming Mars, Blokus, 7 Wonders Duel, and Clank. I’m hoping I’ll win (did I mention we’re competitive?). With Jessica, my younger daughter and fellow artist, I want to explore the Chasen Museum of Art and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Sean, my new son-in-law, is pretty darn good at disc golf. I enjoy throwing a Frisbee around (I mean disc, sorry Sean), but I’ve never played, so I’m challenging him to a game.


Wildflower field and stream with houses


My sister Lisa also loves museums, so I asked her to take me to her favorite Milwaukee museum (Discovery World? Natural History Museum? Milwaukee Art Museum?). With my brother-in-law Jay, I’d like to take in a Brewers Game next spring (Go Brewers!).

Jamie, my niece, and I enjoy photography. I’d like a road trip with her around Southern Wisconsin to photograph the beautiful countryside.



Milwaukee RiverWith Benjamin, my nephew, I want to kayak on the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee. We might have to stop at a pub or two. Will getting in and out of a kayak be any easier after drinking Spotted Cow?

Calli, Benjamin’s fiance, is a foodie (see her posts as West Allis Foodie) so I asked her to select her favorite Milwaukee festival. From Polish Fest to Jazz in the Park to the Wisconsin State Fair, I’m excited to see which one she picks.


I told my family that it would be nice to grab a bite to eat during our day, either lunch or dinner. I also mentioned that it didn’t matter to me how much or how little money they wanted to spend. It’s not about the money, it’s about our time together.

Kristin's family

I’m really excited about this! My family is very close and we get together often, but rarely do we hang out just one-on-one. Now’s our chance.

On Christmas day, I think they’ll give me a coupon for our adventure and we’ll mark the dates on our calendars. Added bonus — I’ll receive these adventures throughout 2022 not just on Christmas Day.

Let the memories begin!


Wishing you and your family wonderful memories this holiday season

and all through the new year!

Christmas Tree icon



Kristin Oakley's headshot


Hello! I'm award-winning thriller writer, Kristin A. Oakley. Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you the prequel to The Devil Particle Series.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This