The 3-Gift Christmas
When our first daughter was born, we gave great thought to how we would celebrate Christmas. It was our desire to make sure she knew the REASON for the Christmas season. We didn’t want her growing up thinking Christmas was about Dora and Diego toys or stuffing yourself full of candy until you couldn’t zip up your pants.
Because of that, we set out to make sure we fill our Christmas with family traditions that make Christ the main focus. We focus on giving and having time together as a family and we do Christmas devotions together every day…and we still eat some chocolate because God made it – and I’m pretty sure He’s down with chocolate. Can I get an Amen?!
Our Advent celebration involves a different family activity each day. A lot of these activities involve giving to others – to bless them as we have been blessed. We all look forward to this every year. It’s good family bonding, man.
Along with this theme, we decided that instead of showering our children with more than they could ever play with – and risk going into debt to pay for it – we would give each child 3 gifts for Christmas.
A 3 gift Christmas symbolizes the three gifts the Wise Men brought to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I’ll be honest – before we started this tradition, I had no idea what myrrh was. I will admit though, it’s fun to say. Myrrh. Myrrh. Try it.
Now every year this is something I look forward to! I put great thought into each gift. I also enjoy sharing the gift selection with my readers.
Let’s go over the significance of these three gifts – so if you choose this tradition, you’ll know them and be able to explain them to every family member that asks…and trust me, they WILL ask. And then they’ll look at you like you’re nuts – so be prepared for that, okay?
The gift of gold symbolizes something of great value. It’s to be something the child wants – something precious to them. At this point, I still choose this gift for my children. If I asked my 3 year old what she wanted, we’d be in big trouble. No ponies in the bedroom.
You can let your child choose this gift or you can simply buy something you know they really want. This is the one you can really have fun with…but don’t go overboard. I’ve always found great deals on my “gold” items – and most of the time I buy used things. Buy used and save the difference.
The gift of frankincense symbolizes something spiritual. Frankincense was burned in the temple as part of worship. For this gift, we give something that helps with the child’s spiritual walk.
We’re still choosing this for our children and likely will every year. Since it is our job to teach our children the ways of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6), I think it’s important that we choose this gift and make sure it’s something that is of great value for their spiritual walk.
This gift will vary greatly based on age. My 3 year old isn’t interested in having a commentary on Romans. A few ideas are a nativity of their own, a worship music CD, a children’s Bible, or a devotional book. Be creative.
Myrrh was a medicinal item back in the day. This gift symbolizes something for the body. I’ve heard it told that the Wise Men brought this gift to Jesus in preparation for when he would die for us.
This item can be any number of things: clothing, shoes, cologne, underwear. When you stop believing in Santa, you get underwear. <– Tweet This.
For more Christmas Traditions, click here!
And for the record, I like getting underwear for Christmas…then I don’t have to spend my money on it. Ha!
Some examples of things I’ve purchased: wool diaper covers, headbands, shoes, and sleep sacks.
So, there you have it. Our 3-Gift Christmas. Is this a tradition in your family?
I completely love this post, I am adopting that tradition its great. Tara xx
🙂 Thanks, Tara! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
I love this, but I have to ask what you do about over-generous family members? Have you had a conversation with them to make them understand your point of view? Do they hold the same view? Are they complete opposites with you and could care less how you feel because they want to spend a lot of money anyways? It is something I have been struggling with, how to let others know how we feel without stepping on toes, but at the same time showing our kids the real reason we are celebrating Christmas…definitely not easy.
This is the policy in OUR home. Both of Annie/Andy’s grandparents are allowed to buy gifts as they like – but we do ask for specific things and for some things to be avoided (I hate batteries, lol).
In order to avoid the WHOA factor after Christmas, when Annie goes to bed, we put up a lot of things that she received. Some are used for re-gifts (gasp!) and some are just put up to pull out throughout the year for little treats.
For example, I had put up several of her activity items from last Christmas and when we took a road trip this summer, I pulled a few out for the car – so she had two “new” toys to take on her trip to occupy her. 🙂
This is precisely what we do with “overflow gifts”. Our kids are young enough that 3 gifts occupy them plenty so when we purge, go on a trip, or they have been exceptionally wonderful I (re)gift overflow gifts.
What about stockings?
We still do stockings. 🙂 I have a series coming out next week about frugal, useful things I put in them.
3 stockings: small, medium and large
My daughter is 2 1/2 so she gets excited about whatever she’s given. I have to confess that I buy the majority of her gifts used at seasonal consignment sales. Last year, she didn’t know that the Little People Zoo set was used but in great condition bought for only $8. Nor does she know that the toy horse on a stick that she can gallop around the house on that she’s getting this year only cost me $2.50. I’m very picky about the quality of these toys, but it’s awesome to buy great toys at such a bargain.
Family…I create a wish list that includes many items between $5-$20. I spend a long time looking on the internet for quality toys, craft type things, etc. I put the $15 easel from IKEA on this list as well as good, wooden pattern blocks. While my side of the family can’t afford to spend much on gifts, my mother-in-law speaks the love language of gifts. It’s not for me to tell her not to be generous; however, she wants to buy from the list I create. So I will pick items I could never afford and let her buy them. For example, I picked out a nice Step 2 kitchen that she got my daughter for her 2nd birthday. So I’m avoiding dumb toys that create clutter by carefully providing wish lists of good toy/gift ideas.
You’re spot on – I too have family members who have the love language of gift-giving. So, I let them give but I try to choose wisely. 🙂
And by the way, I usually buy used gifts for my kids. 😉 Shop smarter, not harder.
We started this three years ago and it was the best thing ever !
Love, love, love it! This is our son’s first Christmas and we’ve also been putting a lot of thought into it. This is the direction I was heading, but didn’t have it put in the same terms. Love simple, meaningful Christmas memories!!
I love creating memories for my kids. 🙂 It’s so much fun, isn’t it?
This is great! We have 5 boys and have already vowed that this would be a “no more debt” Christmas! (We’re working on it!..the debt!) We have already set our limit to 3 gifts per boy and it just so happens that I’ve gotten them all a Bible so we’re off to a great start! Now I have a “reason” for it.
No more debt! No more debt! Kick it to the curb!
We do something similar with three gifts per child (something to play with, something to read and something to wear), but I really like the way you’ve related it to the gifts of the Magi!
If you buy something spiritual to read, you’d have the Magi gifts right there! 🙂
Love this! 🙂 We do the same. Some family members–gasp–accuse us of depriving the girls. They are so many toys already that I can barely walk in the play room! I love you idea about putting stuff up to give to Annie all throughout the year!
Yeah – that one isn’t very popular with certain people. LOL
We try to keep it simple too, though we don’t set an actual number of gifts so much as a money amount per child. Plus sometimes I’ll wrap items that go together in separate packages just so she’ll have the fun of opening them. I do have a weakness for books though. If there is any area of my budget that I overspend on, that would be it. I love to read and I want my kids to love to read. I look for good deals the best that I can, but I do find myself wanting to go over budget just so I can purchase my favorite childhood books for the kids.
Regarding gifts from grandparents and others, I’ve been known to return clothing items that didn’t suit my kids needs and keep the store credit to purchase things they need but we can’t afford (like shoes). It’s hard with toys though because my daughter gets attached very easily and has a great memory. If I can tell early on that an item she opened is totally inappropriate I try to divert her attention to something else so that she won’t get too attached. Last year she opened a gift that I really didn’t want her to have and I couldn’t return it so I donated it to charity. (It wasn’t a bad toy, just not something we would use and another younger girl would have loved it).
Oh girl, books are my love language. LOL 🙂 I totally understand that – so I’m always asking for books from other people. I love the collection my children have!
I have started to do something similar to this. I realized this to late to stop my children from becoming the children that have lost the TRUE meaning of the holiday. I started late but there is still time for me to fix it. I am giving them gifts with meaning but only four. Something they can use, something they need, something they can wear and something that they want. I think my husband is taking it harder than the kids because he likes to go all out for them.
I don’t think it’s ever too late to start. 🙂 Good job, mama!
Love how you tied your gifts into the meaning of Christmas. We do something similar except it is 4 gifts and a rhyme–one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear and one thing to read. 🙂 Have a blessed holiday.
Well that’s just stinkin’ cute. 🙂
I did similar a few years ago, I can’t even remember what we did last year! Yikes. But we’ve always kept it simple. I haven’t even thought one bit about Christmas yet. We’re moving…maybe we can just skip it this year. 🙂 We’ll do something I’m sure but it will be VERY simple this year.
Simple is the best….it allows you to enjoy things more. 🙂
I love this idea! We have 8 children with #9 on the way, and we have always limited the amount of gifts we give the kids because we knew we wanted a large family. Frankly with only 3 gifts a piece under the tree it will still look overloaded! I had to laugh when I read about the giving of underwear. I always put underwear and/or socks in the kids stockings!
Underwear wears out so quick….I think the dryer takes a bite each time.
My son was born on Dec. 20 and my daughter on Dec. 17. So uh…yah. December is a crazy month here. But in a way, I think it will help us keep Christmas in check, and focused on Jesus.
Wow! Your December is a party month for sure! 🙂
My name Is Aimee. I have one little boy (4). We are working on teaching him to appreciate what he does have. So I told him that Santa only brings children three gifts and any others he receives are from those people who love him. To celebrate jesus’ birthday! We also have a cake/ cupcakes at christmas to celebrate!
My sister in law does a birthday cake for Jesus. 🙂
We also do 3 gifts – a book, a clothing item, and a “toy” (kids are older now so the “toy” can be another book or clothing item they were wanting). When my husbands grandmother was alive we would have her up (she lived just down our driveway) for breakfast and then the kids would open their gifts with her there. To help them wait when they were young, we put their stockings by their places at the table with oranges and such that they could go ahead and eat and 1 small present to open and play with. They then would look for that wrapping paper under the tree, knowing that those were their gifts. It made wrapping for 6 children easier with each one in a different wrap.
Yes! I love using different wrapping paper for different people. 🙂 It’s so much fun and I love color coordinating because I’m weird like that. Great ideas, mama!
“underwear”… used? Used Drawers Stac??? LOL… I jest 😉
HA! I do draw the line sometimes. 😉
Awesome post btw, Love it! I will also share this with my daughter in law!
I’ve made in-law status! Woot!
This was a great post! Thank you so much. You have inspired many. This is a great idea to keep our eyes on Christ, not Wal Mart.
I haven’t been to Walmart in almost four years. 🙂
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! We have been praying about how to “do” gifts and I felt that when I read this today God was saying “Here it is”. Our kids are almost 4 and 2, with #3 due in March, and our intentionality about gifts is so important to us. And I love that we can relate it to the gospel and the Truth of Christmas. Thank you for sharing and God Bless you and your family!
Don’t you just love how God works like that? He’s always blessing my socks off in normal, everday ways.
What a fantastic idea! My kids are older so I don’t know if I can implement it now but you’ve go me thinking.
Sure you can! 🙂 If there’s a will, there’s a way…or something like that. 🙂
My husband and I started something like this when we got married. When we had kids and decided to do Santa with them we set these rules: 1 gift per child from Santa (and it’s usually their “big” gift-a bicycle, etc.), and 3 gifts from mom and dad (1 outfit, a movie or book, and a small toy or something else we know they want) We also celebrate St. Nick on December 6th so they get their stockings then. In those we put things like socks, underwear, hair things, bubble bath, lotion, chapstick, etc. It’s always helped to keep it simple, especially now with 4 kids! If only we could the family on board-although I think they are finally starting to get it…10 years later 🙂
Wow, only 10 years….girl, you’re blessed! Some family members NEVER get it. LOL
Loved your post, Stacey. I only wish my husband and I had this tradition from the get-go. We decided from the beginning that Santa would not be a part of Christmas for our kids, and they’ve been fine with that (despite some “concerns” from other family). We now have four kids ages 2-10 and somehow they have become quite accustomed to being overwhelmed with toys, gifts, etc. not only from us but from the in-laws too. This year my husband and I decided we are definitely cutting back, and I think it’s a perfect time to adopt your tradition of relating the 3 gifts to the wise men. This is the first year we’re celebrating advent and getting the kids involved has been great so I’m hoping they’ll adjust to this new “gift policy” without complaining or disappointment. That’s hoping for a lot, isn’t it? I ask myself, where did we go wrong and why do we make ourselves feel bad for not spoiling our kids rotten? I guess if we really start to focus our eyes on Jesus, we can renew our thinking about this. Thank you for the encouragement!
Since you’re starting another new tradition, this one should fit right in! 🙂 I think they’ll adjust just fine…it’s the “other family” that you need to worry about. LOL Just kidding.
Ha Ha! You’re right! Isn’t it always that way? Lol 🙂
Myra, I have 4 (5th due in March) children, ages 12, 7, 4 and 1. We started the 3 gifts of Christmas 2 years ago, and it has been SUCH a blessing. Instead of doing 1 thing you want, 1 thing you need and 1 thing to edify you (which is what many of our friends do), we do 3 things you want (bonus mega points when you need them and/or the will edify your spirit!!). I actually had 2 children ask for winter boots this year! Sweet! We may adjust again at some point, but, that was what worked best for us, going from super crazy spoiled Christmas to something very different. It has not been nearly as much of an adjustment as I thought it would be. I just wanted to encourage you that it CAN be done, even if it means changing traditions 🙂 And Stacy, thanks so much for this post!
🙂 You’re welcome. And thanks for chiming in!
Thank you so much for the encouragement! I really appreciate it. If you & your family can do it, then my family should be able to too, right? 🙂 Congratulations on your 5th baby! I always thought having five children would be lovely! Blessings to you!
We have a very small limit on our kids for Christmas so we can focus on the real meaning of the season. It’s usually ended up being 3 gifts. Thanks for the idea of the 3 Magi gifts. That would be a great tradition to include in our small family observances. Our biggest problem is grandparents. Santa doesn’t come visit so the grandparents feel the need to make-up for that fact (in spite of agreeing with our decision not to have Santa come visit). No amount of gentle discussions is changing their point of view, unfortunately.
Mia, I’ve heard this happens to a lot of families…and to us just a bit. Perhaps you could make the rule that they’re allowed to give as many gifts as they like, but only a set number (1, 2, or 3?) get to come home with you – the rest of the stuff stays with Grandma.
Or, like me, you can take the items home (some you can return to the store) and put them up for taking out one or two here and there throughout the year – as needed for “treats.”
I’m not alone! We’ve done the 3 gifts from the beginning (not the Maji gifts, just gifts). I started this for several reasons. 1) I wanted my kids to know why we have Christmas and that it’s not about presents. 2) It can keep the cost in check. 3) When they are talking to their friends at school about what they got for Christmas they have a reason why they didn’t get as much as someone else (because there will always be someone who gets more). They can tell their friends about Jesus through that system too! Thanks for sharing your family!
I totally didn’t think about sharing salvation this way! That is rockin’! 🙂
I really like how you relate the 3 gifts to what the maji brought baby Jesus. We have been trying to stick to the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” mentality. The something to read had just been one book for both kids, as we get a new Christmas book each year, and we have been re-wrapping each book, so every year they have one more book to read between opening presents. So I guess it looks like there are moregifts under the tree, but we liked the tradition of re-wrapping / reopening the books each year.
Books are the gift that keeps on giving. 🙂
My children are 20, 19, 13. When the oldest was born we started the 3 gift Christmas. All of them have been taught and have happily stated to anyone that they get 3 gifts from mom & dad. Ours is a little different in that I let them make a list & would get some things from it. They have always received a gift they wanted, a gift they need & a gift of frivolity. Santa came to see them and they received a gift, their big one, and something little. We also gave them a gift to all 3 ….like a board game or family movies.
Oh, I love the board game idea!!! 🙂
Stacy, I have already bought my gifts this year but will definitely remember this next year. I only wish I had read this when my kids were little. I can now however share it with my first grandchild. You have done it again! Another brilliant idea.
You can still teach your kids even though they’re adults. 🙂 I am still learning from my Mama on a daily basis. Passing knowledge along is way more meaningful than gifts.
I wish I would have done something like this when my kids were little….. With my kids being older now, it makes it hard to implement something like this when they are used to a certain amount of presents. Christmas for me as a child was most children’s dream…. I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, not able to sleep from the excitement… and then have my eyes pop out of my head at all the presents. But you know, the funny thing is that I really don’t remember everything I got (only certain ones) but what was memorable about it was how beautiful it was just seeing it all… it’s kind of hard to explain… it was picturesque and magical, but it wasn’t the actual gifts themselves. It was seeing all the pretty packages under the beautiful tree and all the things we did getting ready for Christmas…. decorating while listening/singing to Christmas music, baking cookies, driving around and looking at the Christmas lights, etc. Wow, the things I am just realizing in life…. (I have been saying this a lot over the past couple of years) So long story short, I followed the same path with the amount of presents and what activities I grew up with, but somehow my children don’t have the same feelings and appreciation about Christmas like I did as a child (and as a grown up). They are missing the beauty and magic of it all….. It makes me sad. I think part of it is a generational/society thing…. Lots of things about my children’s generation make me sad. Well, maybe this is the perfect time to make this kind of change. I guess I’m concerned that my children will get a “teenage attitude” about it…. then again maybe that’s exactly what needs to happen. What do you think?
Hmmm, that’s a hard one because I don’t have teenagers yet. I think I would discuss it with your husband and see what he thinks. A sense of entitlement with children is really hard to handle as a parent. I would agree that it’s the age of consumerism that is likely the culprit.
You could try it and see how it goes – they might actually enjoy it…especially if you let them choose their three items.
Keep me posted.
When time machines get invented….you should travel back to where I wasn’t a parent yet….and write this somewhere I can read it. K? I really like it. Gift-giving is not my love language, but I would naturally take it too far in the direction of “how little can I get away with spending?”. This gives a balanced and Jesus-centered basis for simplicity, yet retaining extravagant love.
LOL This made me laugh out loud – I totally thought about Back To The Future!
Stacy, I really, really, liked this! Do you not do stockings then? We usually celebrate with my family at Christmas so we go along with our family traditions, but I’m thankful we’ve never gone crazy with gifts.
Yes, we still do stockings….but I fill them with little frugal things. 🙂 I’m doing a series on the blog next week about frugal stocking stuffers.
It is so encouraging to know that others feel the same way I do about Christmas gift giving. The commercialism makes me so sad. We began the 3 gift Christmas when our children were born. We have been doing something very similar to what you do for the last 17 years. Our kids never missed the over abundance of gifts because they never had it to begin with. This year they will each get the one gift they really want (within reason), they are each getting a new Bible since they are all transitioning into new stages in their lives and I thought it was a good time to update, and new bedding for their rooms. As they get older I find I am having to spend a little more money to get these things, even though I am as frugal as they come, but it is well worth the cost knowing they will be used and loved for many years to come. Even so, our budget is set at $150 per child, including the 3 gifts and a stocking (which honestly is their favorite thing) and since we have been saving and will pay cash it will be even better. An interesting thought about giving used items I thought you would appreciate Stacy-my youngest child’s “want” gift is an “old typewriter that works”. Now tell me how on earth would I get that for her if I didn’t buy used? 🙂
I love buying Bibles for different stages. Last year I got Annie the Veggie Tales Bible and it was a hit. 🙂 When she can read, we’ll graduate to another one.
You absolutely crack me up! You and underwear…no wonder it gets googled and you show up. LOL
Anyhow, we do 3 gifts as well because someone really wise told us last year that’s what they did. *ahem* We tend to listen to them. We even do Advent Activities because they do them. We want to be just like the Myers’ when we grow up. 😉
These Myers sound like pretty cool people. I wonder if they also have broke friends who line dry their clothes – because those people make awesome Advent calendars. They also make kickin’ awesome wall clocks.
This is awesome. I started the 3 gifts 2 years ago when my entire family started attending church. My husband wasn’t a believer so it was hard to keep just MY perspective about Christmas. Once he became a believer (and we are on a limited income), we agreed that if 3 gifts are good enough for Jesus, then 3 is good enough for our children. However, I really never looked at it the way you do with the symbolic statement. Now after reading this, my husband and I have agreed once again, that this will become the new tradition in our house. Thank you for your inspiration. I have so many people tell me that we are weird because we do Christmas like this, but my children need to understand that Christmas IS a gift, and that it’s not about THE gifts. 🙂
I never thought of it that way, but you are RIGHT! Christmas the THE GIFT…..wow. Awesome. 🙂
We used to give lots of gifts, just whatever we thought they wanted or needed.. as times have gotten tight and they are older we have changed our focus. Last year they got 4 things, inexpensive $5-15.. I have had the tradition for years of buying a board game or card game for the family, maybe a book, a new favorite movie (Brave this year). I usually go to the dollar tree and dollar bin at Target for stocking stuffers, a new ornament. We bake a cake for Jesus’ birthday and sing for him on Christmas morning. My husband and I want to reach out and serve more on Christmas now that the kids are older, my DD 8 still believes in Santa though so I can’t see not giving them anything. I have told them if 3 is good enough for Jesus it is the same for them. So far this year we have our game and movie, I did also get some Lincoln logs (I am nostalgic as well) for them to play with together. They also get a new pair of pj’s to open Christmas Eve, they like that tradition. That is about it. I still have to get their ornaments and a snack or treat for their stockings, otherwise we are pretty much done.
I love the pajamas tradition….and Lincoln Logs are AWESOME!!! 🙂 Good choices, mama.
Stacy, I love this post. I had never heard of anyone doing this before. Although, personally we don’t give the kids tons of gifts, they end up getting quite a few when you throw in grandparents, aunts, and uncles. What are your feelings on that? I mean really, my kids have direct family that love to SPLURGE! One thing I do feel okay about is that this is the one time during the year that they have to stock up on toys and like you, we’re observing advent this year.
We do get lots of gifts from others – so we handle it a few ways. If the gifts aren’t appropriate for our family, we take them back to the store and use the money to buy things we do need – like clothing or shoes. OR, if they are gifts that Annie really likes, I let her keep out about two. Then I put the rest away. Throughout the year I’ll take out one here and there when she needs a special treat – a road trip for example. 🙂
I love this! I had heard of giving three gifts because of the Magi’s gifts but had never heard them broken down into parallel “types” of gifts. I had been planning on doing “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read”, but I think I like this better. Particularly because “something you need” and “something to wear” is often the same thing, particularly when your kids are two and under and don’t need things like school supplies!
You’re right – when they’re that young, clothes are the best option. 🙂
I absolutely LOVE this idea, Stacy! Well done! Our two boys are two-and-a-half and five years old. Instead of removing things each day for the advent, we “deposit” money. We have a lovely advent calendar, hanging at the entrance to our family room, with numbered pockets into which goes money every day. Just before Christmas we donate the proceeds to charity. The gift of Christmas is about giving and not only receiving. xxx
That’s great!! We try to serve during our Advent celebration as well – that’s really what the season is all about. 🙂 It teaches our children to focus on others.
This is such an amazing idea! This is most certainly going to be a new family tradition at our house!
🙂 That’s awesome! I hope you’ll share with me how it goes!
We do something similar: 3 gifts, ” something to read, something to wear, something to play with” and it has served us well. During Advent, we do a Jesse Tree, which is a daily devotional with a little tangible item that hangs on a tree that goes from Genesis through Gospels (Birth of Jesus) and it is a favorite tradition.
We are planning to start the Jesse tree next year with our daughter and yet-to-arrive sons! We also do something similar: Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, Something to read. For the “need” each kid picks out something for someone else in need, since we are blessed to not lack anything we truly need.
I have several friends who do the Jesse tree and love it! We celebrate Advent with a daily devotion and family activity.
I admit it, I’m a deist but I still love this blog and get a lot of good information and ideas from it.
Anyway, my husband and I don’t have children, yet because of crazy infertility but we know we can get pregnant, but since we don’t do presents for ourselves we decided to stick to the four gift rule…something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. Christmas doesn’t need to be some kind of huge production at our house. It’s not who we are. Besides, I have a mama who speaks the language of love in many ways, including gifts.
Yes – I too have family members with that same love language. 🙂
Thank you SO much for this idea. I wish I had read this BEFORE Christmas, but now that I have read it, it fits PERFECTLY with what my husband and I talked about. We have 2 young children and were shocked and a bit discouraged at the MOUNTAIN of presents (from grandparents/aunts/uncles/etc…) they received this year – some items were needed (clothing for the youngest because there were no cold hand-me-downs from the older one), but a lot of it was just “stuff”…Stuff that is going to get put away and forgotten about! What is your suggestion (or how do you handle) the extended family gifts? We only bought a few necessities for our girls, but the massive amount of presents came from relatives, and it was quite overwhelming (not to mention it took literally HOURS) – we felt even though we did a devotion before presents talking about the greatest present of all, that was lost in the moment. Thank you again!!
Ruthann (love your name by the way), I wish I knew….because we’re struggling with the same issue. This year it seemed even worse – which is why we really stress simplicity at home.
After chatting with my husband a bit, next year we’ve decided to IMPLORE our family to give our children only a few gifts and a stocking – instead we’re going to ask them to use the money they would have spent on us and sponsor a family off the Angel Tree.
Because this will be a huge mindset change for them – we’re going to start early in the year so that it will be something they can think about and so that they won’t begin buying gifts.
We’re praying this will change how we celebrate when we’re not at home. 🙂
Love this idea! We have no children, but have agreed with our families to cut back on gifts. I love shopping for the angel tree kids at church and since our tree rules always state the gift has to be clothes, I follow them- but add in a little treat like Hello Kitty pencils or a lip gloss for the teens. But keeping things practical is best and I like that my church does that. I do have a concern, though. Several posters noted taking gifts back ( which I totally agree with), but then noted they buy things they can’t normally afford like shoes or clothes. If you can’t afford shoes for a child, why in the world did you think it was right to have them? I find that most shocking and very, very worrisome given the current state of the country and the economy.
Angela, I think families sometimes go through hard times when it becomes difficult to even afford necessities…and for those times, it’s nice to be able to return un-needed items and purchase things that they truly need. It’s only a season…and children are such a blessing. God does provide. 🙂
I think it’s great your church has its own Angel Tree! That rocks!
my parents did three gifts, but you kind of took it one step further with incorporating the meaning of the three gifts. We plan on doing three gifts, and will be considering the value/spiritual/body addition.
Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
It is the little changes that make the most significant changes.
Thanks for sharing!
? For younger children do you still give gifts from “Santa” or not? Our boys will be turning 1 this year and I’m not sure if we will do Santa or not.
No, we don’t do Santa here. We speak of him as a historical figure and tell Annie that he’s in the stories – kinda like other fairy tales. 🙂 But that’s something each family has to decide.
I love this. Never have heard of it but will be using it from here on out. Thank you.
OOOHHHH I love this. Thank you!
We have also kept this tradition. With four children, it not only helps us keep the right focus on Christmas, but also establishes clear boundaries on gift giving so that I don’t just start grabbing random things in the frenzy!
I implemented this in our family years ago when my kids were little. It really helped me to hone in on gift giving and I loved how it was purposeful. My kids are all now young adults ranging in ages 17-23, but they still get so excited for that gift wrapped in gold. We usually don’t put that one out until after they all go to bed on Christmas Eve! We also started having each of the kids draw a name to buy a gift for each other. I think that encouraged them to think of each other instead of just themselves on Christmas morning. They still love to try and hide who they got until the morning of, but because there are just 4 of them they usually figure it out way before then. One more special thing we do is a “tree gift” for each of them. We give each of them a one on one date with us each year. It’s usually in an envelope on the tree hence the name “tree gift.” Quality time is the best gift of all!