Why Every Parent Should Embrace the “Three-Gift Christmas”

file941328721078How many presents do you buy for your kids? After talking to my friends and colleagues, I’ve noticed that there is a very wide range. Some buy just one or two big items for each child while others splurge and buy a dozen … or more.

There are a variety of factors that come into play on this decision as author Diana Grycon wrote on Huffington Post, “the numbers need to match your family’s financial situation as well as your traditions.” And speaking of “traditions,” I just heard of one that I think I am in love with. It’s called the “three-gift Christmas.”

The idea of the “three-gift Christmas” was inspired by the age-old story of Jesus and his birthday. When the wise men came to visit the newborn baby they brought him three presents: gold, frankincense and myrrh. And while gold always makes a fabulous gift no matter what your age, most — especially babies — would not have much of a use for frankincense and myrrh.  And while the inspiration is biblical, it’s not always the religious who embrace the “three-gift Christmas.” As Today notes, “… others try it to save money, ease the stress of the holidays or get away from the commercialism that permeates December.”

As a parent of a little girl with a VERY long Christmas list and not much in the way of spare change to buy it all, I totally love this idea.  And it makes that traditional gift-giving far more meaningful.

Today talked to Glennon Doyle Melton of the parenting blog Momastery.com who made a very mindful set of conditions for her family’s “three-gift Christmas.” She asks that each of her three children put on their Christmas list an item that they want, an item that they need and something that they want to read.  Melton said that when you give your kids too many gifts they end up in a “donation pile or in the trash anyway. That gift rush in the morning is like a sugar rush. It’s awesome for five minutes and then it’s over.” Instead, she gives her children three gifts that have far more meaning and practicality.

And, you know, I could not agree more with this concept. It seems that every year my daughter rips open a gift, looks at it for a couple minutes, tosses it aside, moves on to the next present without ever returning to the previous one. It then seems like a waste of money, spending hard-earned cash on something that will only bring a couple minutes of joy, something that exists only to be opened. When there are less presents, things that the child really wants, needs or can read (and you can NEVER argue with the gift of a book) those presents — by default — became more meaningful. Like the old adage goes, “less is more.”

With the onslaught of meaningless gifts, the focus on feasting, family and fun gets lost. Christmas becomes just about the stuff. The “three-gift Christmas” gives families a more focused and thoughtful experience. While trying to ween your child from a present bonanza to less of a bounty may be a challenge, in the long run replacing their sense of greed with a sense of gratitude, will be more than worth it.

Would you embrace the “three-gift Christmas”?

Photo Source: Morgue Files/ Cohdra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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