Growing up in a Christian home, sometimes, Christmas gets monotonous. Every year, having the same traditions, same stress, same business same everything. We do all this to celebrate something that we remember every week when we are at church.
I was getting tired of the shopping, and the monotony. It felt like we celebrated Christmas because that’s what our culture did, not because we wanted to get closer to God. I really wanted to change things up so I felt the season would be focused more on Christ instead of ourselves.
One of the ways I shifted focus was changing the way we got gifts for each other and for our kids.
Usually, we would set a budget and just go shopping. We would get as many presents as we could with the budget we agreed on.
Over the years, I just felt like I was buying gifts just for the sake of buying gifts. Our kids were always happy with what we got them, but I felt like they were not really all that meaningful.
Changing it up
I wanted a change things up, but I had no clue what to do. So, I went where I usually go: online. I started to read about what other people did and why.
That’s when I came across I came to the idea of giving 3 gifts.
When Jesus was a boy, kings came to visit Him. He received 3 gifts from them. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Each item was to represent who He was and what he was going to go through as an adult.
To be more like Jesus, these people gave their children 3 gifts.
The 3 Gifts
Gold: a treasure: something they want
Frankincense: was used for worship: something for their spirit
Myrrh: was used to prepare a body for burial: something for their body.
When I read the idea, I had already bought more than 3 presence so I knew it was something I wanted to try the next year.
Only buying 3 gifts for each child sounded easy!! I could totally do that. But when I went shopping, I found that the perimeters I had set were very limiting!!
I could only get 1 thing my kids really wanted.
That was the hardest obstacle. The first year, I thought that I was not getting my kids enough. I felt like buying 3 gifts made me cheap and lame. I had a hard time with the parameters I had set.
No lies: that first year was hard.
It was hard because suddenly I could not just walk into a store and buy whatever I wanted. I had to stop and think.
3 Things I considered:
Before starting this journey, I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing and why. To do so, I considered these 3 things:
What would they play with
My house is full of toys. Most times, those toys are not actually played with, they are just used to make a mess. I wanted to only keep toys that my children played with on a regular basis. It is also important to me that they enjoy the toys they have. Sometimes, the only way a toy can be enjoyed is if there are no other toys to distract.
What would truly make them happy?
My children are normal children, so when they receive toys they are always thrilled. In the moment, they could not be happier. But, over time the toys they dot really love go ignored and unused. I don’t mind spending money on toys, but I wanted to take time to know my children and get them things they would truly love.
What sorts of items would feed into their souls
As a parent, it’s easy for me to forget that my children’s soul needs nourishing as well. There are things that our children enjoy that truly speak to who they are and that encourages them to grow. My eldest daughter loves to draw. Doing so helps her express her feelings and her talents. She likes to do art to calm down and to get away from the noise. Getting her art supplies is a way I can feed her love of art and a way I can help her relax and reduce her stress.
What I learned
I had never really taken that much time in the past to really think about my children. I would see something I think they would like and then I would get it.
But, limiting my options made me consider why I was getting what I was getting, how it was going to be used. The whole process became a blessing to me.
In the end, we would only get our kids 3 gifts. But, instead of just buying whatever: each gift was more meaningful and precious– to us and to our children.
So now I look forward to this new way of buying gifts. We tell our children that we will only be buying them 3 gifts. Any other gifts they get are from family. But since the gifts we have given them are so personal, they don’t seem to mind.
Every year, I think: we should get our kids more. But every year, the voice comes back and says: why??
Christmas is not about gifts, it’s about Christ. Limiting our gift giving has helped me keep the focus on Christ but also on truly blessing my family during this time.
How many gifts do you give your children??
Originally posted 2016-11-28 04:28:26.