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Friday, November 9, 2012

Our Thoughts on Christmas Gift Giving

My husband and I use a holiday savings account to save all year long for Christmas. We still don't have a huge Christmas budget, and the family keeps growing every year (with new cousins and everyone).

We firmly believe that Christmas should be about Jesus, not getting presents. We tell our children this is Jesus's birthday, and ask what they think He would want for His birthday. They come up with many ideas of volunteerism and serving those less fortunate. We drill this concept into our children's hearts, even though everywhere we go, the opposite message is in their faces.

For the past several years, we've done the "three gifts per child" thing, because Jesus got three gifts for His birthday. I liked the concept, but found it hard to keep it balanced and fair. One child's gift could be a color book and crayons, while another child could get an iPod. It wasn't always easy to keep things even amongst all five of them.

This year, I came across this blog article, where a reader wrote a revised version of the "three gifts" idea:
Every Christmas our five children receive three gifts: one “gold” gift, the big item they are longing for; one “myrrh” gift, which is for their body, such as clothing; and one “frankincense” gift, for their spiritual growth.It keeps spending down but also focuses on our celebration of Christmas and the gifts given to the Christ child. We send a portion of the money we’ve saved to charity.”

My husband and I both liked this new idea, and will be giving it a shot this year. I've already purchased everyone's gold gift, and all the boys' frankincense gift, so I'm half done.

As for everyone else on our list, we love to give books to children (i.e., cousins), we're opting for homemade goodies from the kitchen for many of the others on our list (ya know, the people who don't need anything), and then we're really going to focus on giving - to the homeless, the elderly, our neighbors, those who bless our lives all year long (teachers, my wonderful chiropractor who provides me service for free, our church leaders), and whomever else God lays on our hearts. This is what, we believe, Jesus would truly want for His birthday.

God, break our hearts for the things that break Your heart this Christmas. Let our family bless You by reaching out to those You'd have us to touch this year.

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