because we have this new little guy or girl coming we decided it's time for us to establish our own Christmas traditions. besides the usual like watching christmas movies, eating hot chocolate, driving around to see the christmas lights, going to temple square, setting up the christmas tree while singing all i want for christmas is you by mariah carey at the top of your lungs, the one we are most excited about is "The Three Gifts"
The Three Gifts: Jesus got 3 gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. therefore it only makes sense that each child in the family should only receive three gifts; "gold", "frankincense" and "myrrh"
-(G)gold stands for something you wear. like jewelry or shoes, a scarf, or outfit.
-(F)frankincense stands for something fun. like monopoly, or action figures/barbies, or a game boy, or ping pong table, or trip to hawaii. new phone or movie
-(M)myrrh stands for something to improve your talents/hobbies. like an art easle, or camera, or sewing machine/material, or scrapbook paper, or deep fryer, or coloring pencils.
(i tried to think up as many unique ideas as i could people)
my mother came up with this idea when she had my brother 32 years ago. and every christmas since then has been based around this concept. yes, we still get our stockings from santa, and yes we still get a big family gift like a ping pong table that doesn't really count as one of our three presents -which is also usually from santa- but, it has worked for them to create some "method to the maddness"
some of the things we have loved about this tradition is:
-weather you are extremely wealthy or destitutely poor, it still works. for example: if you had a large budget you could get your kid a new doll house with all the furnishings (F), her own supplies to help you when cooking (M) and an entire outfit, from head to toe with some diamond earrings to go along for the ride (G). or let's say you only have 20-30 dollars to spend on this same child: a new barbie (F) a coloring book and crayons (M) and a homemade shirt/dress (G)
-it turns something worldly, like presents, back into something about Christ... the real meaning of Christmas.
-it helps control spoiling your kids or that disgusting feeling when you wake up and see christmas morning yourself while the kids are "oooh"-ing and "aaah"-ing and realize... oops. i think we went a little overboard.
-it helps the kids organize their thoughts and their wishes. i knew that if i wanted a new canvas to paint on, AND some black and white film to try out in my camera, i had to pick just one i wanted most because they were both under the "Myrrh" category. it also helped when i was little and you would go back to school. when people asked you what you got for christmas i just had to think of the three categories and i remembered easily instead of saying.... "oh you know, lots of clothes" like so many of my friends said
-it organizes your thoughts while shopping so that you can make a list for each child and make sure that they have "balanced" presents.
-we didn't rush through the morning as kids, we knew we only had three presents to open, and were never let down or disappointed when we couldn't find more under the tree. plus it made us savor each present.
-because santa only gave us what was in our stockings we were able to thank our parents for the money they spent on us each year and truly appreciate them, while still having the joys of waking up christmas morning and the "believing" that comes with santa.
-the best thing that i've realized is that you learn to look for talents in your spouse, and kids. it's easy to get clothing and fun things for them. but when you look at your child or spouse and search to find something that will help them improve their talents or hobbies, you come to understand them better and usually, this is the funnest present to give with the most thought put into it because you think this gift will actually make them a better person.