December 17, 2011

Shopping Like the Wise Men

Friends marveled when I mentioned on Facebook a couple weeks ago that I’d both started and virtually finished my Christmas shopping in about two hours’ time. I didn’t shop online; one night, I simply ventured to a number of brick-and-mortar stores. And I’m not completely done, but via that one outing and then one other quick foray into one store last week, I’ve obtained everything for my two daughters and the two girls I babysit, as well as most of what I’ve planned to purchase for my husband and a few other relatives.

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 “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. 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 spouse 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


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My son is 4 this year and we have started the 3 gift tradition. We don't do Santa though. Our only problem is my husbands parents over buy for our son, and they can't seem to get the point to cut back because it isn't about the multitude of gifts, it is about Christ's birthday and the sacrifice that he took for our sins!

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