Wednesday, November 4, 2009
If you feel financially and mentally overwhelmed with the frenzy of gift giving during the holidays, here is an idea that may help you refocus your time and attention to the spirit of Christmas. About nine years ago I was reading a book about holiday traditions and learned of children receiving three simple gifts on Christmas, just as Jesus received three gifts from the Wise Men. We gathered together and talked about starting this tradition in our own family. Everyone agreed this would help us focus on more important aspects and free up time and money for the entire family.
It is hard to explain the peace that comes with this tradition. Life has been simplified!!! I no longer walk through the aisles of stores throwing items in the cart because I am afraid my kids do not have enough to open on Christmas morning. My husband and I plan what items will be selected for the three gifts and work together as a team to purchase these presents. Just so you know, these three gifts are not typically expensive gifts.
If you decide to try this idea remember there is still flexibility for other traditions such as stockings filled with basic items like socks, batteries, and new toothbrushes. On Christmas Eve you may still decide to give pajamas, a new Christmas book, or a family game. You could even have a surprise family gift that is discovered through a treasure hunt. The idea is to keep it simple! Keep only the traditions that add to the holiday.
I have to admit that almost every year I look at the assembly of three gifts sitting out in the living room and it looks painfully inadequate. I wonder if my kids will be disappointed or wish they had more. But every Christmas morning the girls run into the living room and laugh with delight.
If you are wondering if your kids will miss opening piles of gifts on Christmas morning, rest assured. It is surprising to see how many gifts still end up under the tree from grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, cousins, friends, and neighbors. The three gifts has definitely become one of our family’s favorite holiday traditions. We love the simplicity of our gift giving and the peace that has filled our home. We often hear our kids telling others how they receive three gifts at Christmas, just like Jesus.
If you have a favorite holiday tradition, I would love to hear from you.