Somehow it happens every year. It’s Easter, mid year holidays, I start thinking about Christmas in September and then suddenly BAM its December with Christmas RIGHT around the corner.
I’ve seen a lot of people getting stressed at the moment trying to plan out their perfect Christmas. Posts popping up on Mums groups about how many presents to get, what the budget should be, how many stocking stuffers to do, how to manage big family events and more. There is a lot of stress for so many when Christmas can and should be such a special time.
A few years ago I stumbled across a lovely little guideline for our Christmas giving and its something that has actually really helped me simplify presents.
I actually found this concept at around the time that I started reading about culling the toys. There was study after study and blog after blog talking about the benefits for kids of living a minimalist lifestyle. I saw so much about how simplicity inspires ingenuity and creativity in kids rather than overwhelming them. I saw so much about the benefits that I knew that combating the busyness and consumerism of December with intentional giving was important.
Finding this 3 gift guideline has helped me find that balance in giving and in consuming.
And it has helped bring joy to the way that I plan the gifts for our children too.
There are a bunch of different ideas out there about simple 3, 4, or 5 gift Christmases. Please feel free to read about what we do and then apply a different guideline if you wish.
In our family our minimalistic 3 gift giving is also a very special representation of love too.
Each child gets one thing for the body. This is representative of Myrrh. This gift has been anything from bat wings, superhero capes, shoes, or headbands over the last 3 years. (This year the girls have ballet slippers and a backpack but shhhhh). This one is the gift I find the easiest to fill a need too. Maybe your child needs a new going-out outfit, basketball shoes, bathers, a water bottle, shin guards or a hat. It could also be exercise or sports vouchers/lessons too. You get the idea.
Next up – Something for the spirit. This is representive of Frankincense. I’ll admit, this is one that I have found I think about for a long while thinking about an age appropriate idea for small kids. One year we did a kids CD and the following year it was a 1st Bible. You could also pick wall art, movies, journals, devotionals, nativity sets or books. If you are moving towards gifts of times and experiences rather than ‘stuff’ this could be tickets to camp, retreat or event.
Lastly is something precious. This is something that represents gold. Most of the time this is the EASIEST thing to pick. Watching your child throughout the year I bet you have an idea of what really makes them excited! Maybe it’s a scooter, or a dollhouse, a toy truck, tools, some art stuff, horse riding lessons, pottery classes, or a ticket to their favourite ballet. This is the gift that I really love thinking about as it really helps me pause and reflect on my child and their passions. What is it that brings them pure joy!? Digging into this question also leaves me smiling at the precious peculiarities of themselves.
When it comes to wrapping that is another tradition in itself. The last 3 years I have re-used the same gift tags I made out of a manila folder – so simple but so beautiful! The front of the tag has their name and the back of the tag has a note about what that item represents. Our new tradition is to wrap with fabric (google Furoshiki to see the Japanese origins of this tradition!) and tie off with ribbons or strips of material. Alterntatively newspaper with twine is a lovely rustic look too.
To be able to give is such a privilege.
In a world full of consumerism, marketing, and greed there is still such a beautiful opportunity to be intentional with giving too. That’s why I’ve loved using this little template when giving to our kids as I pass on a mindset of simplicity and gratitude.