The “lie” that means to recline is intransitive and doesn’t take an object. So when Sharon has too much eggnog, she lies on the bed. When Joe is exhausted from shopping, he lies down. Of course, we’re not talking about the “lie” that means to tell a fib, “I lie about whether this topic has anything to do with Christmas,” which is just a homonym of the “lie” we’re looking at today.
So to choose between Christmas “lay” and Christmas “lie,” just remember that “lay” takes an object and “lie” doesn’t. But there’s a catch. The past tense of “lie” just happens to be “lay.” That bit of news may be about as welcome as a lump of coal, but luckily help is right at your fingertips.
Whenever you need to remember the past forms of lay and lie, just open that shiny new dictionary you found under the tree. There, under “lie,” you’ll see that the simple past tense of “lie” is “lay” and its past participle is “lain.” Today I lie on the bed. Yesterday I lay on the bed. In the past I have lain on the bed.