If your kids are anything like mine- they have lots of loving family- which means that lots of loving family loves to love on them at Christmas time. I'm not complaining. I love to give gifts too. But sometimes, it can be overwhelming. I love to give gifts to my kids. Its one way I like to show my love too. But I have wondered many times how to approach this at Christmas time- when I don't want a house overflowing with gifts and I want to maintain the focus on Jesus- the birth of our Savior (you know, the whole reason for the season thing!). I want my kids to first think of Christmas as a time to be joyful and thankful that God gave us the best gift ever in Jesus- and secondly to show our love like God did by giving gifts to others. After much debate my husband and I have (hopefully) come up with a 'tradition' that will allow us to maintain that focus, allow me to express my love by giving gifts, and to avoid over gifting.
I don't remember where I heard the idea in the first place, but there is gobs of stories online about this same topic- Giving the Gifts Jesus Got. Jesus got three special gifts to celebrate his birth (Christmas). Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. The idea is to give each child three gifts based on what Jesus was given.
The Gold Gift- Gold is something valuable and treasured. This is a great way to give a gift of something the child wants, treasures, and desires more than anything else. The item they keep circling in the catalogs or eyeing in the store.
Frankincense- this is an incense that was burned and the smoke would billow up into the heavens. It often represents our prayers going up to God. So this gift should be something that would bring the child closer to God. Maybe a bible, book, dvd, or christian summer camp. Our kids will be getting the fisher price nativity set this year- a way for them to interact and get to know God's story better.
Myrrh- this is a precious oil that was rubbed on the body (often after death, but ewe, leave that part out!). So the Myrrh gift is an item that goes on the body. Ideas include clothing, shoes, coats, lotions.
What I love about this set-up is that there isn't a dollar amount affixed so I can go big or little depending on the year and our ability to give or it leaves room for the really really special 'gold' years of the 'wow' item. It is also meaningful and gives us a chance to reflect the whole experience and holiday right back on Christ. I still get to give, they get to receive, but it is not an overwhelming amount.
And after our sharing of gifts, we're hoping to throw Jesus a birthday party :) Cake and all.
So, if you are struggling with the idea of getting your kids presents this Christmas without overwhelming them- consider giving them the same as Jesus received!