Christmas is only two weeks away, so the mad dash for gifts has shifted into high gear! Packed parking lots, long lines, and harried consumers are now a familiar scene in stores everywhere.
Like most parents, JT and I want to present our children with gifts that will delight them. But I’m going to be honest. Over the past few years, I’ve grown tired of our traditional ritual of children’s gift giving.
It always begins with the girlies’ presentation of lengthy wish lists. From there, JT and I sort through all the requests (excluding all the unreasonable requests like ponies and $1,000 shopping sprees at the Times Square Toys R Us) and then the shopping begins. After running in and out of multiple stores and orchestrating elaborate online shopping strategies to find the best deals, JT and I secretly lug deliveries off the porch, stealthily smuggle gifts out of the van, and attempt to find secure hiding places for dozens of boxes.
That process has become too daunting for me, so this year we’re doing things differently. Each girl will still find her Christmas stocking full of little goodies, but each girl will only find three gifts under the tree. This year we’re implementing The Three Gift Limit. Only three gifts? Why?
I’d love to get spiritual and tell you that the three gifts of the wiseman were *the* inspiration for selecting the number of gifts we’re giving. Yes, that thought did cross my mind, and I love the significant trio of gold, frankincense, and myrrh brought before our marvelous Savior Jesus Christ. However, that wasn’t the main reason. Here’s the real reason. Two gifts seemed too few and four or more gifts felt like too many.
If you’re looking to simplify your shopping list by cutting back on the number of packages under the tree, consider the reasons we did so. Perhaps you can relate!
- We were spending too much money. We live on a budget so we can’t afford to be super spenders at Christmas. We’ve still got a mortgage to pay, groceries to purchase, and a nest egg to nurture. More importantly, JT and I want to be good stewards of the money God has given us. For us, spending big bucks at Christmas isn’t the way to demonstrate good stewardship.
- We didn’t think the girlies always appreciated the gifts they were given. On Christmas morning the girlies are all smiles, reminding us that we are “the best parents in the whole entire world” for giving them the gifts they just had to have. However a few weeks later, JT and I are annoyed when we find some of those same gifts languishing in a corner and collecting dust.
- We want to shop quickly so we have more time to enjoy the Christmas season. The shorter list, the less time it takes to shop. The less the time we spend shopping, the more time we have to relax and enjoy activities such as baking cookies, visiting friends, riding around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights, and just hanging out happily at home.
- We get the kids to decide what they really want. When the girlies know they will receive three gifts, their wish lists become shorter and more focused as they only include items they truly want. This still gives JT and I an opportunity to create an element of surprise under the tree, but it also leaves reasonable gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends to purchase.
A friend asked how I thought these three gifts would be received and wondered if the girlies would be disappointed. When I told the girlies about the Three Gift Limit and the reasoning behind the change, they understood and said the limit made sense. As far as what they unwrap, I believe the girlies will still be happy as Sweet Pea and Sugar Plum will still get what they’ve wished for and Baby Girl who is only two, won’t know the difference. I’ll devote a January post to this topic so you can find out how things went.
Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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