I’m definitely not “Superwoman,” and I don’t even like to shop. In fact, being forced to go out on Black Friday would be tantamount to torture for me. But nearly wrapping up my shopping was easy…because the list was short by design.
You see, since our girls were little, my husband and I have determined to follow the Three Gifts Rule. That is, each family member receives just three gifts each year, a tradition that originates in the fact that the wise men brought three gifts to Jesus. Truth be told, we’ve stretched the rule a bit with our girls since we’ve allowed them to believe in Santa. But, even so, Santa brings each girl three gifts – plus a few stocking stuffers – and we (as parents) give each girl three more gifts. My husband and I each receive three gifts and a couple of stocking stuffers, and once the girls give up the Santa myth, we’ll do the same for them. And that’s it.
Of course, our reasons for embracing this tradition go far beyond my aversion to shopping. On the one hand, we actually do it to discourage materialism. And, most importantly of all, we desire to keep our children’s Christmas focus – and our own – on Jesus rather than on “stuff.”
And no one feels deprived. Of course, if we’d overindulged in the past and suddenly instituted the Three Gifts Rule as a new tradition, it would take some getting used to on everyone’s part. But I firmly believe that the lack of stress and a shift away from any looming entitlement attitude building within my children would make the process well worth the effort.
Perhaps you’ve already taken similar steps toward growing true gratitude and a focus on Jesus in your own family at this time of year. I’d love to hear of your specific traditions. But if, on the other hand, this idea is new to you but intriguing, I encourage you to give it some serious thought; if you and your husband agree, you can even start a new tradition this year.
As for the 15 gifts already hiding in your bedroom closet – and the list of several more “must-haves”…well, pre-Christmas returns don’t take long…and wrapping paper for upcoming birthdays doesn’t cost much.
Photo Credit: sirqitous
About the Author: Tina Hollenbeck and her husband Jeff are raising two daughters and have another waiting for them in the arms of Jesus. Before becoming a mom, Tina taught English to immigrant kids in public secondary schools for nine years, but now she cherishes her role as an at-home wife and mother and also advocates passionately for homeschooling. Tina writes regularly for her blog, Being Made New, and is also the staff writer for Celebrate Kids, Inc, a Texas-based ministry to parents and educators. In addition, she’s developing a public speaking ministry of her own, and is available to address homeschoolers, women’s groups, and young people on a variety of topics. In her spare time, Tina enjoys singing on her church’s worship team, exercising, and scrapbooking.