Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Christmas in July?

I think that I've mentioned a few times how we do Christmas presents in our immediate family. And, I always hesitate to mention it at all, because I don't want anyone to think that I feel that every family should adopt this method. That couldn't be further from the truth, and I can't stand the thought of people thinking (even for a minute) that I'm trying to persuade any of my readers (friends) in to doing anything. The only thing that would be worse would be to have people thinking that I'm judging them on what they do or do not do. I'm the last one in the world that could judge anybody. My family doesn't have ANYTHING figured out, so please know that I don't do that.

Ok, with that disclaimer, I can proceed with the reason behind the post. But first, some background:

We give our kids 3 gifts for Christmas, each representing (in a fairly adapted way) the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh that Jesus received at his birth. We got the idea from this article and then we tweaked it to meet our family's specific needs.

The Gold gift represents the thing that they really want or requested; their big item. The Frankincense gift represents something that will foster or further their relationship with God. We adapted the Myrrh gift to represent something our child actually needs. In other words, it is designed to meet a need for our child. Then, we went a step further than the article suggested and decided that we would also include a Family gift, which represents something that we can all do together or enjoy together as a family. This could be a trip or a tent (for family camping) or a box of board games or a new video game or whatever, as long as it is something that fosters family time.

This is a tradition that we've really grown to love. I love the symbolism and the meaning behind it. And, we love explaining it to the kids as they open their 3 presents. And we don't get real legalistic about it. But, it sometimes is a challenge. It does require you to think a little bit (or a lot) about what you purchase.

I try to start thinking about it early, usually around July and August; because, if I can decide on what to get, I can purchase one item for each child in the months of September, October, and November. Doing that makes the rest of the Christmas shopping a breeze!! And, I love more than anything the thought of being able to really focus on the reason for the season and not being overwhelmed with the malls and the traffic and the chaos. However, as much as I love that thought, the down side of thinking ahead is that you don't have the luxury of always knowing what your kids want.

And, now for the real reason behind the post. This is where I need help. Everyone knows that I lack in creativity. Plus, I love gathering information from friends that have kids in all ages. If my kids aren't old enough yet, they will be one day.

So, what is your child's most valued or prized possession. And, I'm speaking of the purely materialistic here. They may love that family heirloom jewelry box passed down from their great grandmother, but that will not serve the purpose I'm looking for. I'm asking, what is their favorite toy/gadget/game/etc. Or, what is that something that you've invested in for your children, that you've thanked-God-a-million-times-that-He-gave-you-the-sense-and-financial ability-to-get-it-because-it-has-singlehandedly-kept-you-sane? Not that it has to be expensive mind you. Do me a favor, and just ask your kids what they love. Tell them that your insanely, high strung, freak of a friend who is already worrying about Christmas, needs them to help her with some research.

No matter what age, no matter what price-both cheap and expensive, no matter what gender (I've got one of both) I would love to hear you chime in on this. I'll take all the ideas I can get. Not to mention, that mine still have birthdays this year. So, if I don't use it for one, I might use it for the other.

Okay, one last thing. I would be remiss if I didn't share this too. Last year, as Christmas was approaching, you know last September (ha ha) I was starting to think about it and talk about it with friends (didn't I Tammy?) and for whatever reason, I decided to start praying about it too. I really think God honored me bringing such a strange and simple request to him. I felt like He provided us with really great ideas, and then followed through with our ability to get them. It really was an extra little Christmas blessing in my heart and mind. I had started blogging by then, so if you want to look back and remember with me, go here and here.

Okay y'all, I'm all ears.


Anonymous said...

Here's an idea, forget the kids. A week at a spa for
your Mom would be awesome!!!!

Guess who?

Bridenstine said...

Cheap Favorite Thing of Libby's: A "Penelope Peapod Baby in a Basket" that the bed changes into a purse

Expensive Favorite Thing of Libby's: Tickets to see things at the Fox like, "Go, Deigo, Go", etc.

Her want: a motorized Barbie corvette

The Wild World of Richmond said...

By the way, I've always admired your gift giving tradition and have thought about jumping on the band wagon. Part of me(yes, me- not my kids) doesn't wanna give up Santa. I'm seriously considering it this year. I plan to have a long discussion with Ken about it. My mom and Dad used to threaten every year that we were only gonna get 3 gifts like that. I always panicked...thinking what would I do if I only got 3 gifts? What would I tell my friend? Yep, I had some real spiritual depth back then. Seriously..I am oonsidering adapting it for my family and I haven't felt any pressure from you or

Brad and Shana said...


We still do santa. Santa just gives the 3 gifts or the gold gift or whatever.

If you ask my kids about Gigi, they will tell you that Santa brought her.

And, I've often wondered how it will be when Bryce starts school this year; what with the comparing. But, I tell myself that if we choose the 3 things wisely, they'll be pleased. Thats why I think God really blessed us last year. What kid wouldn't be pleased with 4 wheelers, and new dog, karate lessons, and whatever the other thing was. Plus, they usually have plenty by the time Grandparents, Friends and Family gifts are exchanged.

But you forgot to mention what your kids favorite things are.....and I was especially wanting to hear from you since you have 4 kids (2 of each). So sorry, but you must comment again.

The Wild World of Richmond said...

Okay, I was in kind of in a state of a confusion when I read your comment on my blog. I left(at least I thought I did) a lenghthy post on some gifts then came back and left the above post as an afterthought. Apparently, my first post didn't make it. I probably didn't wait to make sure it was accepted. I've been known to do that before.
Here goes,
Erin and Jay absolutely have loved their four wheelers. Bryn also had an electric moped that she loved. It was pepto bismal pink. She loved it. Did I say that she loved it. It finally quit being able to be charged. We also gave our kids a (one) four wheeler to share. They loved that as well...hmmm. the wii was a big hit. Jayden is currently sitting beside me playing with Bryn's pixter from years ago. He's attached himself to it lately. My big kids have also loved their mp3 players. We have to manage a lot of thier music, but they have enjoyed them. My girls like to get Claire's gift cards. They like having a cc and picking/paying themselves. That's a repeat gift. They've gotten that more than once. Karoake machine was a big hit and used for sleep overs and parties,too. Sara Kate would probably thrive with a karaoke machine.
Erin and Bryn have also gotten into the habit of getting American Girl Dolls. My mom's bought some and I've bought some. They enjoy deciding which one they'll get and what clothes, books, etc.

Brad and Shana said...

Oh, Terri......that Karaoke idea is great!! I'm not sure she would be able to work it yet, but I suppose we could help her with it. I'll definitely be thinking about that, and if not this year, surely next. That is golden my friend, golden.

Yep, thats why I really wanted to read your thoughts....I knew there would be a nugget of gold in there.

Bryce has a real 4 wheeler and SK has the battery kind (got those last year). They got a Wii from their grandmother last year, and a trampoline from my parents. So, you can see why I need ideas.

Feel free to keep them coming if you think of anything else.

Tammy said...

If I asked Maddie, she would totally say anything American Girl, but Sara Kate might not be into that yet. The karaoke idea is fabulous!! Maddie also just got an MP3 player for her birthday and is loving it. I have to say I am loving it too. All her CDs are on that now and not all over their playroom, plus she can listen to it in the car. Ella is totally into fixing hair, so I'm going to be looking into all things beauty shop. Sorry I have no idea what boys are into right now...but if something comes to mind, I'll certainly share it!

DeLynn said...

A little late to the party, here, but I thought I would still comment.

Playmobil was a great investment for us. The kids set up towns and various scenes---they would play for hours. After a time (we often would leave it up for a week or two--having the big space in the basement was useful!) they would put everything away and then would later get it all out again and build new settings. We loved to see what they came up with.

I think Tammy's idea of an MP3 player is great. It would have been wonderful for Elizabeth since she always had music on and we had to lug around a CD player and CDs! :) Sam got an iPod 2 years ago and has really enjoyed it.

Another second to Tammy about AG. The girls played with them a lot

That's all for now. :)