It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
The snow is falling (or more like ice recently), decorations are up and there is a great sense of anticipation in the air! Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Friends and family gathering to share in yummy treats and fun traditions. And the babies, oh how the babies get excited to see the lights on houses and the Christmas trees in windows.
In our house we are starting a new tradition this year that we plan to continue at both Christmas and Birthdays. The 4 Gifts. Each child will only receive 4 gifts from my husband and I. They are spoiled by the Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents, so these 4 will be plenty for them!
The 4 gifts have a theme; 1 thing you wear, 1 thing you read, 1 thing you want and 1 thing for someone in need. So, that really is only 3 gifts and one giving. And that’s even better.
Since my kiddos can’t read yet, I’ll share our plan for gifts. Charlotte will be getting Christmas jammies and a new dress for her “wear.” She’s getting a bedtime prayers book for her “read.” Josiah is getting jammies and a new sweater and a children’s bible (it has some super cool pictures!) Together they are getting a new play kitchen and felt food for their combined “want.” As a family we are going to be volunteering at a community dinner to give back to someone in need. There may also be some holiday cookies made to give away!
I’m so excited about this tradition. To much of Christmas has become “What am I getting?” with the expected answer being material goods. The answer to this questions really comes in the form of a small child, born in a stall. A savior born under a star to a scared mother and confused father. Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! I want my children to know Christmas is not about a man in a red suit but rather a man on a cross.
I want to give my children the world. I hope they want for nothing. I love to spoil them. But I also want to teach them humility and about how blessed they truly are. I love that this tradition sets up a limited expectation. The kids can expect their three gifts and know that there won’t be much beyond that. I also LOVE that we will, as a family, give back every year in some way. That my children will physically see and feel what giving to others means.
SPOILER ALERT: NOT FOR THOSE WITH INNOCENT CHRISTMAS SPIRIT!!!
Growing up, we opened our presents on Christmas eve. We’d go to Christmas Eve worship, then come home for a beautiful feast, then we’d open presents. On Christmas morning, we would open our stockings of gifts from Santa. Santa always brought us small presents like books, socks, candies and fruit. Our big and special gifts came from our parents. They were the ones that worked hard to pay for our gifts, who picked them out special for each of us, who put unmeasurable amounts of love and attention into us all year long and who deserved the credit! My dad told me this once when I was “older.” He didn’t want us girls thinking Santa was the one who put in all the effort. I understood that then, but now as a parent understand it even more! We have and will continue to do the same with our children. Just as we don’t want to overload their Christmas gifts from us, their stocking will be similar. This year they will all (Mom & Dad’s included) be filled with some movies, new electric toothbrushes, books, fruit and maybe some treats. Our children will still be overjoyed to in this fun tradition. They will not sleep at night waiting and listening and watching for Santa to come. They just aren’t going to get HUGE presents from him. And that’s ok.
I love Christmas for the traditions and the family and the love that it is meant to be.