14 responses

  1. Amy
    December 14, 2012

    Tacked on.
    I don’t live life on a schedule (hate appointments, detest “have to” events), so I think “tacked on” describes my Christmas preparation … or maybe “jammed in” fits best?
    We discovered that eliminating or backing off on a tradition or two helps a lot. Our extended family has stopped gift-giving among the adults (none of whom need anything) and have focused on outreach, instead. We buy for our parents, who ask that we do for others in their name. Easy and effective. Hello, World Vision?
    I made it a mission to offer a “Merry Christmas” to every store clerk assisting me this year. It has changed my focus immensely. Two words. Who’d have thought? It replaces “thank you,” and gets the message out there. No extra work, just a shift. Yea!
    Baking cookies has to happen at our house, as our biggest and messiest tradition, and we manage to give them away to neighbors, the mailman and various charities to share the sugar and, we hope, brighten someone’s Season. An encouraging note attached goes a long way.
    I know I still tack it on or jam it in, but I don’t find it exhausting anymore. This year, I have actually finished shopping and have only a bit of baking to complete.
    Oh. And I have a preteen and a fourteen.
    Christmas prep seems easier, most days.
    Amy recently posted…Ten Ways to Love: Speak without AccusingMy Profile

  2. Krissy
    December 14, 2012

    Have you heard of Advent Conspiracy? http://www.adventconspiracy.org/ A few years back, my church was one of three that helped create this to “take back Christmas” It has really helped our family to stop and remember that the commercialism of Christmas is NOT what Christmas is about. The tenets of AC is Worship fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love all… but I really like your 3 gift idea and may add that to our tradition as well.

    • Sheila
      December 14, 2012

      I loved that! Yes, I have seen Advent Conspiracy. Really well done, and I hope it catches on!

      The thing that I love every Christmas is trying to come up with a good “myrrh” gift. It was easy when we started: they both got a beautiful leather Bible. But lately it’s become harder to think of something. But I love the challenge!

    • Jennie
      December 17, 2013

      Thanks for the post on the Advent Conspiracy! Great idea and really do-able for our family. :)

  3. Marisa
    December 14, 2012

    Must admit, I am one who plans early and buys all year round and have the challenge of trying to remember where I hid the gifts! A few have been known to surface a year later LOL! Have found that being ready early allows me to fully engage in and enjoy the Season, drinking deep of all it holds and means to me rather than being all stressed out. Sometimes it means saying “no” to some events and cutting back on the number of cookies baked etc. but always find it worth it, otherwise, much of my “joy” is robbed and I HATE the emptiness it can bring. Puzzles, Wii games, board games, “jammie days” — love it!! One of the best Christmas’ we had was when we got a very uncharacteristic dump of 2 feet of snow. People were house bound, the snow muted a lot of sound, the beauty outside was breathtaking (as was the shoveling of the driveway LOL!) and the family time together was priceless :)

    • Natalie
      December 14, 2012

      Yep, that sounds like me. Love Christmas. Plan for it nearly year round. Unfortunately we’re remodeling this year, so I’m trying to cram everything together this year. Kind of flopped down on the couch today and haven’t wanted to budge :)
      Natalie recently posted…An Advent inspired reflection on identityMy Profile

  4. Christina
    December 14, 2012

    I Love your 3 gift idea! So much I told my husband about it at lunch! I plan to do this with our neices and nephews who are in un-christian families. and our future kids. How old were your kids when you started this? Do you guys do Santa Claus at all? I have seen some christian families who do and others who do not.

  5. Cynthia
    December 14, 2012

    Our Christmas became less hectic when we moved out of state from my family. I do miss the family, but I don’t miss the stress. :) We adopted the three gifts a few years back too. It has been a blessing and has helped out with our budget.

    My husband, in his first marriage, had gifts thrown back at him by his step children because they weren’t what they wanted. With his own children from his first marriage, it was all about who got the more expensive gifts. Unimaginable to me, but we didn’t want this time of year to be about the presents with our children. We wanted them to know that presents are an added bonus. We haven’t categorized the gifts though, an idea that we will add for future Christmas’. We try to instill the giving attitude by buying toys for Toys for Tots, giving to the bell ringer, etc., and this year we added the shoe box ministry.

    I like to think I am organized, but I barely got my Christmas cards out!

  6. Gabriela
    December 14, 2012

    The three gifts idea is wonderful! But you still have to deal with the rest of the family… Grandparents who feel they have the right to give their grandson everything they want just because they can… Or the aunts and uncles who want to splurge and give you amazing gifts when all you can afford are budgeted tiny symbolic gifts. I try to ignore my feelings and just realize that we give what we can afford and they give what they can afford and if they don’t like our gifts… Well, that is their problem and not mine. And I feel we should not feel bad about the expensive gifts they give me or my family only because we can’t return the gesture… Do you have other tips to deal with extended family?

  7. Gaye @ Calm.Healthy.Sexy.
    December 15, 2012

    Traditions are what makes Christmas special for us. I buy a Christmas ornament for each of our boys every year, and write their name and the year on it (still doing this, even though they are 19 and 24!). When they have their own families and trees, they will each have a collection of ornaments from their childhood. We all get new matching pajamas to wear on Christmas eve and morning. We go to church on Christmas Eve, and then have a late dinner of jambalaya. And we open our presents very slowly on Christmas, going one at a time around the circle and admiring each gift.
    Gaye @ Calm.Healthy.Sexy. recently posted…Quick Tips for a Sexier Christmas SeasonMy Profile

  8. ButterflyWings
    December 17, 2012

    Wow I couldn’t imagine everyone getting three presents. My family has always been one present only and under $10. And this is actually the first year my siblings (in their mid 20s) are actually giving presents.

    The only exception is my daughter – she usually gets gifts of around $20 from her grandparents – and because her birthday is so close to christmas, she gets her choice of one expensive gift from me for a combo birthday/christmas present. In past years, it’s usually been a game console for around $100-$150 and that’s the only present she gets from me.

    My husband’s family is even simpler – just a secret santa with a max of $25, so everyone buys only one present and only receives one in total from everyone in the entire family.

  9. 5sonz
    November 21, 2013

    We have done three gifts for years, buying gifts for five boys had become very difficult, three gifts keeps it manageable. When my younger kids tell their friends their gift items that they received, their friends look at them and say “is that all you got?” This is something I still struggle with, feeling like I’m not doing enough. Although in my heart I know my kids need nothing.
    The best Christmas I had was the year we decided to prepare early, and cut out all extra curricular activities during the Christmad season.
    Buying three gifts was an easy solution for us, and our sons understand why we do this. It makes the holidays much more pleasant!

  10. Saray
    November 25, 2013

    Hi Sheila!
    Love your Three Gifts for Xmas tradition! ;) thanks for sharing!

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