Christmas

About Gifts…

1.  Three Gifts. 

It was one of those moments when I thought, “How in the world have I never heard of this before?” It seemed like once my friend Mitsy told me about it, I discovered tons of families were already doing this. Still, just in case you, like me, have never heard of this tradition, I’ll pass it along. It has really helped our family keep reasonable expectations for gifts, restrain the spending, and streamline my thinking for what to get whom.

Basically the tradition is that each child receives three gifts for Christmas in remembrance of the three gifts the magi gave to Jesus. We don’t do a lot of detailed symbolism with it like some of our friends do. In fact, we kind of stretch this by giving p.j.’s and slippers on Christmas Eve. And then giving a couple of family gifts, like board games, puzzles, or something like zoo passes. And there is the stocking stuffers.

2. A memory instead of a toy.

So it may not have the WOW factor unwrapping a toy does, but still, for longevity and family-building, giving an event/memory is totally worth it. Maybe it is a membership to the aquarium, science center, or children’s museum (or even just a one time pass). Maybe tickets to zoo-lights, day trip to Ohio 🙂 , a kids cooking class, pottery painting. I would love to hear more ideas for making memories in lieu of giving toys.

3. Sibling Stocking Stuffers.

This is another idea I got from a friend. We have the kids draw names for each other. They aren’t allowed to tell whose name they chose (and they do really well keeping the secret). We then take them, in shifts, to the Dollar Store with five dollars each. It is so fun to watch them choose gifts for their brother or sister. They LOVE this — especially giving the gifts on Christmas morning. This is really fun and one of the highlights on Christmas morning (we do it last).

Do you have any fun ideas/traditions regarding gift giving? Please let us know in the comment box. or better yet, write a post on your blog and I’ll post the link here.

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10 thoughts on “About Gifts…

  1. We also do the three gifts, which seems to work very well. We use some symbolism with ours:
    Gift one: Something you want
    Gift two: Something you need
    Gift three: A surprise

    Our hope is to over time use this to help teach the difference between wants and needs.

  2. we are big on memory/experience gifts. One year we asked Tommy if he would rather go to Ireland (to visit Ronan’s parents,siblings, grandparents..) or have a normal christmas. I bet you can guess what he chose (even though he was only 5 at the time)

    This year our main present has already been given. We got the family a Puggle puppy. we figure it not only teaches to love someone besides yourself our pup also teaches that love is work. 😉

  3. One tradition we started in my family once all three of us kids reached “working” age (about jr./sr. high age) was to draw names and then spend $20 on that person.

    #1 We always gave suggestions of things we wanted or needed.
    #2 It was fun finding out who had your name–my mom was the naughtiest at trying to figure out who had who!
    #3 It kept the tradition financially practical enough that we continue to do it to this day!

    Now, since all of us kids are “couples”, we’ve added a combined gift for my parents; usually a restaurant gift certificate or theatre show tickets, and the grandkids receive a $10 gift from one of their cousins. We’ve never done Christmas eve gifts or stockings..so that’s it!

    Most of all, the best gift is being together! :o)

  4. With my extended family, I asked if we could go for the experience over a gift exchange. We’re going to either do a catered Christmas dinner or take 16 adults, 10 kids under 6 to Longwood Gardens on Christmas day. Either option is very exciting to me.
    I’m all about creating experiences for my kids/family and was so glad when I first heard of that option from you!

  5. I like the whole three gift idea. We are going with that this year in effort to better control our (my) spending 🙂

    1. something they want
    2. something they need
    3. something spiritual (book, journal etc)

    and of course stockings, I’m one of those squeeze as much as you can into the stockings type of girl 🙂

  6. No gift giving traditions just yet. However, one tradition “The Queen Girls” still hold dear is putting candles in our coffee cake and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus after all the gifts are open.

    Beautiful cake by the way, I have always loved that style of decoration when I see them on Ace of Cakes. You did a great job!

  7. Nothing very exciting here that has not been mentioned. We do try to buy a new Christmas picture book each holiday season, though. My girls love to read, and that is a gift for the whole family that keeps on giving. Unfortunately, most are packed with the Christmas decorations, so I can’t remember any names, other than the Three Trees one.

  8. Yes I could have posted this on my blog (and I may), but I’m going to leave a long comment and list! I noticed your name”Laurie” on Zoanna’s blogtown list, so of course I had to click since that’s my name too! Am I correct about your name? I love the gift ideas you posted! One year my grown daughter and I brainstormed and came up with this short list. We were both feeling the impending cost of gifting and the lightness of our purses! We have done three and they were fun and meaningful!
    Blessings!
    Laurie

    GOOD old fashioned White Elephant (Gift away something you don’t need any longer!)
    “EVERYONE needs a …” “The gift that everyone needs!” (1-5 dollars)
    TIMELESS Toy/Toys for any age…a favorite or one that any age should enjoy. (1-10 dollars)
    IMAGE Giving (framed art print, photo, greeting card, post card, etc.) whose image expresses an idea the giver might like to express in words. (Think: A picture is worth a thousand words) (5-10 dollars)
    THE Gift of Music- Any musical piece which giver thinks everyone should hear. This could be brought on cd to play or burned on cd to share. (It could even be played on instrument)
    SHORT Story read and bookmark exchange: one story read by each family member. (each about 15 minutes or less per story) These can be from any book (or written by the reader.) Reader then gifts each listener with a bookmark, homemade or not.
    “HAVE a ball” exchange- Balls come in so many shapes, sizes, compositions and for a variety of purposes.
    Have a ball choosing your gift ball. (1-10 dollars)
    GEOMETRIC Gift- Think identifiable geometric shape and something that takes that shape. (1-10 dollars)
    SIZE wise Exchange-something very small (1-10)
    SIZE wise exchange- something LARGE (1-10)
    “TREASURE” in an Oatmeal Box- Use a round oatmeal box as the container for a gift of your choosing. You may wrap the box in gift-wrap if desired. (1-10)
    KANSAS (or whatever State you reside) Theme exchange (1-10)
    NOVELTY Candy exchange (1-5)
    “MOST Interesting” Thrift store item (1-10)
    FUN beverage gift exchange

  9. Something fun and traditional that our family has done is celebrate St. Nicholas Day. I was brought up catholic so my folks had all 6 of us hang our socks (not stockings) in the door of the oven. We didn’t have a fireplace in our small bungalo.What a treat it was to wake up to the socks filled up with fruit, unshelled nuts & Christmas candy. As we got older the socks got bigger & heavier so they ended up lying on the kitchen table. So now our children hang up their “stockings” by the fireplace & wake up to fruit, granola bars, chocolate, little gifts & nuts in baggies. The older children get a bottle of cappuccino & the little ones a juice box. It was funny last year seeing my older son’s stocking left in the back seat of his car . . . for who knows how long.

    Boy, my memory sounds like something you’d read in a Reminisce magazine! Am I really that old??

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