This post on limiting Christmas gifts is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
I can’t imagine Christmas morning without gifts. It’s like having a birthday without a cake or people singing Happy Birthday to you at least once. It just would not be the same. At all.
No matter how tight money was when I was a kid, my parents, eight siblings and I all managed to have at least a few gifts under the Christmas tree every year. Even though my greed at Christmastime sometimes prevented me from appreciating the gifts I received, I still received gifts!
Of course, Christmas isn’t really about gifts, and birthdays will happen with or without a cake, presents, and people singing to you. And maybe you’re holier than I and shun gifts for the holidays or birthdays, appreciating the simple things in your life every single day.
But, I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t appreciate a thoughtful gift on occasion (okay, except for some Jehovah Witness friends I’ve had).
So, despite our best intentions to overcome our desire for gifts for Christmas (and birthdays), the Holidays revolve around them.
Blame it on commercialism, advertising, Santa, Christmas carols, our own personal greed, and the amazing once-a-year deals, and every child (and adult) I know wants something under the Christmas tree come Christmas morning. I don’t blame them! I want something under the tree too. It is a part of Christmas!
But, as a frugal, (quasi) minimalist, I don’t want to overload my children with toys and gifts that they don’t really need, want, or will enjoy past a few days or weeks. It’s a waste of my money, time, and future sanity as the clutter increases inside my home.
It’s why over the years we’ve simplified Christmas, especially when it comes to Christmas gifts for our children.
I recently polled my friends on Facebook, asking those who were intentional in limiting Christmas gifts what they did in their families and why.
I discovered that many of them have adopted a very popular Christmas gift giving trend – Only giving three gifts for Christmas or four gifts for Christmas to each of their children. Some gave even less, or had other smart ways of limiting Christmas gifts, like working within a certain budget or splitting up gifting among family members, but I wanted to explore this idea of 3 or 4 gifts for Christmas, because it’s a low number and the gifts were all very strategic and planned out.
3 Gifts for Christmas
Jesus Christ was given three gifts at his birth. Because Christmas is the celebration of His birthday, maybe we should do three Christmas gifts for each other too. I mean, if three gifts were okay for Baby Jesus then it should be okay for us, right?
People who adopt this minimalist Christmas gifting base it upon the three gifts Jesus received at his birth: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. They adopt the essence of these gifts in the following ways in order to adapt it to modern times.
A “Gold” Christmas Gift
Because gold was, and still is, of great monetary worth, a “gold” Christmas gift is something expensive, something of great value, something a child really wants. This gift is “The Big Thing” they ask Santa for (should you do Santa in your home).
A “Frankincense” Christmas Gift
Please tell me I an not the only one who has to look up what Frankincense is. Apparently it’s a type of dried tree sap that burned in the Temple as an incense, accompanying the meal-offering. Burning incense represented prayers ascending to heaven. A “Frankincense” gift is something spiritual, something that will strengthen a person’s walk with Christ. Parents often gift things like a nativity set, a scripture journal, a Children’s Bible, spiritual movies, and so on.
A “Myrrh” Christmas Gift
I also had to look up what myrrh is. Myrrh is an aromatic tree resin used as a perfume, incense, and medicine. It was part of the holy anointing oil used in Hebrew anointing and purification rituals. A “Myrrh” gift is, therefore, something for the body. Gifts for the body would include things like clothing, shoes, perfume or cologne, socks, robes, slippers, lotion, massage kits, soaps, or pajamas.
However, some people don’t base their three gifts specifically on what Jesus received, opting for more freedom in their gift giving.
4 Gifts for Christmas
There’s another super popular way of limiting Christmas gift giving by doing four Christmas gifts. This is sometimes popular for people who aren’t religious or simply like the parameters most often associated with the four Christmas gift ideas. Traditionally, these four gifts are: 1 -Something they want; 2 – Something they need; 3 – Something to read. 4 – Something to wear.
“Something They Want” Gift
This, again, would be the bigger item, the Santa present, the expensive thing your child really wants.
“Something They Need” Gift
While a lot of people have different views and opinions on what a “need” gift is, this item is something your child needs. Maybe they need it for a sports team they’re on (baseball glove, hockey sticks, basketball), for your upcoming camping trip (camping chair, sleeping bag), for your planned vacation (like a swimsuit or beach towel), or for school (notebook, backpack, pens). It will really depend on your child.
“Something to Read” Gift
Because parents like to encourage literacy and a love of reading, gifting a book can be fun (though one of my friends said she didn’t like this idea, as she much prefers using the public library). Finding the perfect book that your son or daughter will truly love to receive on Christmas morning is the real challenge here.
“Something to Wear” Gift
Because we wear a lot of items, this gift parameter has a lot of freedom. A wearable gift could be a new coat, gloves, a hat, sweater, earmuffs, headbands, nail polish, shoes, socks, purse, backpack, jewelry, watch, chapstick, makeup, or pajamas.
If you choose this method there are some adorable Christian gift tags you can print to attach them to the appropriate gifts too!
One Way to Ensure You’re Not a Christmas Gifting Scrooge
One of the most popular “Myrrh” and “something to wear” gifts are Pajamas. Some families do matching Holiday pajamas sets for everyone, make them by hand, or receive them on Christmas Eve so they can wear them Christmas morning as they open the rest of their presents.
But, did you know that millions of children in the United States don’t have a set of pajamas to sleep in? That at night they go to sleep in the only pair of clothes they have, despite how uncomfortable that may be. It’s an unfamiliar luxury to them to have clothing whose sole purpose is to be slept in.
These children are children who live in women’s shelters, homeless shelters, group homes, and other temporary living situations. These are the children who would love even one thoughtful gift just for them under a Christmas tree. These children often crave intimacy and bonding moment with their parents, and are now in an unfamiliar place, without someone to read them a bedtime story, and tuck them into bed as they wear a pair of warm, cozy pajamas.
Right now Carter’s, makers of America’s favorite jammies, has partnered with the Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization that provides books and PJs to kids in need. And you can donate to this cause too. Throughout the remainder of 2016, Carter’s is accepting PJ donations in-store and monetary donations online. On Giving Tuesday, Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Carter’s will match all PJ donations up to 100,000 both in-store and online.
So, as you gift your son boy pajamas and your daughter girl pajamas, think about grabbing an extra pair to donate to a child in need. Your online donations will provide more books and PJs in your local community and help build reading centers around the country. Find a Carter’s store near you, check out the Carter’s PJ shop, and learn more about the Carter’s Pajama Program here. #CartersSweetDreams
And, hey don’t forget my tips for saving even more money when shopping at Carter’s when you do go in.
It’s a great time to simplify Christmas, starting with the amount of gifts children receive.
Carter’s partners with bloggers such as me to help promote their Seasonal Pajamas and Holiday selections. As part of the program, I received products or gift cards. CARTER’S believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. CARTER’S provided me with information on promotions and messaging concepts, but did not tell me what to purchase or what to write in my blog or what to say about the products I used.
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