22 Nov
2013
Posted in: parenting
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Three Christmas Gifts

three Christmas gifts

Several years ago, we instituted a ‘three gifts’ rule at our house for Christmas. The number of packages under the tree made my stomach turn. It was pure excess. I felt the meaning of the Christmas season was being diminished by the urge to buy the newest, shiniest thing.

We picked the number three because that’s what Jesus was given by the wise men in celebration of His birth. My family celebrates Christmas, not for the boost it gives our economy, but in honor of our Savior and what His birth did for us.

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” ~ Matthew 2:10-11 (KJV)

We buy each child three gifts plus there are goodies in the stockings. The rule has cut down on the amount of stuff in our house, but also helps the kids to appreciate what they are gifted. Extended family also buy gifts and wrangling that down to something tolerable has been much harder.

We have no family in our town. I really do understand how buying stuff for the kids makes grandparents feel connected to the raising of our children. I don’t like it though. We’ve asked for years to gift the children with experiences or money toward the vacation we take every summer. I’m trying to be more out-spoken about our wishes for less stuff this Christmas season. I’ve given a list of ideas for purchases: movie passes, dinner gift cards, art classes, basketball fees, dances class, etc. There are many things our kids enjoy that weren’t made in a factory and can’t be wrapped up in a pretty bow. These experiences mean a great deal to them. It’s been difficult to change the mindset of family members, for them to see that a gift in a small envelope can hold the same or more joy than a big box. I hold out hope that this year sees more buy-in from extended family.

Do you have any rules regarding Christmas gifting?

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