It is helpful throughout the year to keep a running list of ideas. From things they see at the store (“I can see you really like that toy! Should I add it to your list of gift ideas?”) or things you notice them playing with at the homes of others, it’s good to keep a list so you’re not left wondering when December rolls around. I get sucked into advertisements if I don’t have a list! I review the list every so often with my kids too, to see what they might still like. A toy that is bought not on impulse will often be enjoyed more. I've used just the notes app to keep track or the app WISHUPON to make a list with links that I can share with relatives.
In our home, we want to make Christ the center of our Christmas giving. We decided a long time ago that it is too easy to buy a million gifts that aren’t as meaningful, so we decided to use this model as a way to simplify and bring intentionality to our Christmas morning. We explain the three gifts that Jesus was given and give the kids three gifts of their own.
1. GOLD: this was given to Jesus because He is King! This usually is a gift they really want or one that is more expensive/big/flashy.
2. FRANKINCENSE: this was given to Jesus because He is the High Priest! Frankincense is something that used to be burned in the temple during worship. So we give a frankincense gift that is something to encourage our child’s faith or relationship with God or to nurture a Biblical virtue we see the Lord naturally building in our kids (like gentleness or joy, etc.)
3. MYRRH: this was given to Jesus because He would die for our sins! Myrrh is something that was used in preserving a dead body, which is weird to talk about on Christmas morning, but is good to remember why we celebrate and why Jesus came in the first place. Many families use this as a gift that has something to do with the body (ie: new clothes or bath products, etc.) but since this myrrh was usually given to a whole family and used by whoever needed it first, we use this category as a “gift to be shared”.
4. We also do new pajamas for each child and we use stockings as a catchall for a few smaller gifts or anything else that doesn’t fit in the three categories.
Any other gift ideas we give to our family members or use for birthday gifts. This model of three gifts usually keeps the gift expenses low and can easily be modified to fit the needs of your family. A structure to gift-giving helps me from overspending, and it tempers the expectations of our children. It keeps Christ central, not toys. I love keeping things simple and remembering Jesus even as we open gifts, which can feel so secular and commercial. But however you give gifts to one another, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
*Be sure to click the "Intentional Celebration" link to see more posts in this series!
LOVE this idea! My littles are young, and I’ve been working on building our traditions to be Christ-centered. I feel like your post is an answer to prayer for how to take the gift-giving to the next level. I’m adopting this during this Christmas for sure! Thank you for sharing! Such a blessing!!!
I really like this idea. The meaning behind each of the three gifts is so simple yet important. I’d love to know more specifics on what items/things you would put under each gift type.
Thanks for sharing!!