A decade ago I sat in a room with a bunch of Mothers of Preschoolers and we exchanged our past, present, and hope for future traditions to share with our new and growing families. Many of the ideas were touching and personal to each woman. Some stood out. I filed a few away in my mental “traditions file” that I’d hope to use once my one and only daughter (at the time!) was actually old enough to open gifts.
Here it is…
3 Gifts:Gold, Incense, and Myrrh
The children receive a total of 3 gifts for Christmas. Each one represents one of the gifts given to our Savior Jesus; gold, incense, and myrrh. We started this tradition when our oldest turned 3 years. It simplifies things for us on so many levels. It helps us tell the story of Jesus. It helps us deal with selfish desires and prepares our hearts to receive the gifts (or lack their of– but honestly the kids have never felt like they wanted or expected more- and that’s the beauty of this tradition…no greedy gimmee’s). The most important person to walk the earth received 3 and they’d celebrate along side Him but not in excess [of him].
The kiddos make their list. They write tons. TONS! And they know that only one present will be “big” and two will be a bit smaller (in terms of cost). For us, this means we try to spend no more than $100.00 TOTAL/kid. They know we have 4 kids to buy for and they realize that Santa isn’t bringing them anything. Mama and Daddy are footing the bill for this celebration. And we want them to know they get gifts to celebrate Jesus but in no sense are we giving them gifts because they’ve been nice (as opposed to naughty) and made any sort of “list”.
We do “play” Santa though. So for all those out there that want to say we’ve taken the fantasy away from our children you can feel some comfort (maybe) in knowing that we tell the story of Saint Nick and that we make cookies and throw out reindeer food on the front lawn. It’s fun. It’s fantasy. But Santa isn’t Christmas. However, he can still make us smile.
What are some of your traditions? I’d love to know how you make the holiday memorable!!