We all wish for a relaxed Christmas holiday. Here’s my Simple Christmas 4 Gift idea to help you stay focused on what is important this season.
All of the parents in the room had hoped in some way to share with their children the real meaning of Christmas. This time of the year is more than presents.
We sat around the living room and watched our little ones full of excitement and anticipation waiting to see what “Santa” had brought them.
The moment had come–the opening of gifts. This can be tricky because we all have different ways of doing things. Some of us parents had wished our kids opened one gift at a time, other parents didn’t seem to care but before we knew it our kids had already dived in and opened up ALL their gifts.
I sat there taking in all of their little faces filled with absolute joy as they opened their long awaited presents.
But then something happened.
Those smiles turned into frowns. I was confused. How did we get here? Seriously, they are surrounded with toys. But not just any toy it’s the toys they wanted and wished for all year long.
How did we go from excited to entitled? I was a new parent so I wanted to figure this out so it wouldn’t happen again.
There were very few thank you’s exchanged and the air wreaked with entitlement. In a matter of seconds, I began hearing, “Is that it?” from most of the kids. Some whispered as they knew better to say it out loud but most just blurted it out.
I sat there in shock as the words echoed in my ears,
“Is that it?”
As a child I only dreamed of a Christmas morning like this filled with piles of gifts and overflowing stockings but most years we were lucky to receive something small. Here were kids who could literally get lost under the pile of wrapping paper from all the gifts that had just been opened and all that was heard was–Is that it?
I was speechless at what had just unfolded before my eyes and my children were as much a part of it as the others kids.
My Something Has to Change Moment
That was “the” moment I decided we have to do things differently.
Months later, the words still echoed in my ears–
Is that it?
I wondered–What went wrong? All the adults had great intentions. We wanted our kids be filled with gratitude and joy as they opened up their dream gifts. As parents we all had the desire for our children to see that Christmas is more than presents.
But how could we avoid “the gift-rush” of Christmas?
Have you heard of a “sugar rush”?
I looked it up on wiktionary and it says, “A purported state of hyperactivity caused by excessive consumption of sugar, or other simple carbohydrates.”
That’s what happened to our kids that Christmas morning. It wasn’t sugar but it was gifts. Well maybe there was some sugar involved.
“Gift-rush” – A purported state of hyperactivity caused by excessive consumption of gifts, stocking stuffers, “give-me’s” or other simple forms of entitlement.”
Yes, I did just make up that word but it was the only way I could describe what went wrong that Christmas morning months ago.
Since then we have been intentional about doing a Christmas ADVENTures countdown with our kids that focuses on Christ and why He came filled with both spiritual insights and fluff like making cookies and watching Christmas movies. This challenge is not about being a Scrooge but staying focused and keeping it simple.
Another thing that I wanted to change was how many gifts my kids would get, not because I am against gift giving but because I wanted them to value the gifts given to them. I want them to think through what is it that they need and want and know the difference. I want them to realize that Christmas gifts are exactly that a “gift” not a “right”. Not something they are entitled to but a simple way that we express our sentiments for one another.
What do you remember about your childhood Christmas celebrations? What has stayed on my heart about my childhood Christmas celebrations is the fun we had as a family. The delicious Mexican meals with family and friends. The tradition of reading the Christmas story from the Bible and reading about St. Nicholas from The World Encyclopedia. My father always found a way to include the very expensive set of encyclopedias, he worked his butt off paying, into our family activities. The hiding of Jesus on Christmas eve and then finding him to bring him to the manger for Christmas morning.
One thing I value now as an adult about my parents is they gave us what they could afford and never more. They were wise not to go into debt to provide us with a mound of gifts on Christmas morning.
Many people walk around with credit cards maxed out and stress as they run around town or scour the internet to buy the perfect pile of gifts for our children but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Honestly answer this, “How many of you remember each of the gifts your parents gave you from your childhood?
I only remember one.
Bring Back the Joy of Christmas with This 4 Gift Challenge
Can I ask you to be brave enough to say, “I will not go with the flow. I have been but today I’m stopping that chaos.” Now decide to focus on making memories, the gift of Jesus and quality time spent laughing and connecting.
I love how this 4 Gift Challenge idea parallels with what the three wise men giving 3 gifts and Jesus giving us something we needed. Each gift given that night was beautiful, simple and personal.
This simple decision will affect how you view this season, it will help you remember to be present not just to give presents.
It will help you focus on your family, faith and being present.
It will bring peace to your season as you remove the stress that fills our minds and not to mention our pockets.
The best presents are always right in front of us waiting to be discovered.
So, let’s help our kids discover the presents they already have in their family, community and faith with this 4 Gift Challenge.
Most of all what I have enjoyed from this challenge is the change of focus–
Presence not Presents.
The presence of Christ.
The presence of peace.
The presence of family and friends.
I love that I am learning to be intentional about raising our kids not to think of Christmas in different way!
How does the 4 Gift Challenge Work:
Whether it’s because you want to save money or you’re tired of giving into the commercialism that permeates this season, or simply don’t want more stuff to fill your house–regardless of your reason, fill your next few days with this question, “What do I really want to give my family this Christmas?” You’ll come to realize it’s memories, Christ and quality time spent laughing and connecting.
- Share with your kids that this year you will do things differently because you want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Also, this is a great way for them to start practicing thinking through what they need and what they want. Not to mention it will help them think through how they want to serve someone else this year with the last section. Maybe your family is not into reading but this might challenge you to think about something you want to learn this year–drawing, gardening. Or find a book about a topic they enjoy, for example, if they like traveling or wish to travel a good book gift would be one of National Geographic’s books.
- Print the sheet out below or simply have them jot down on a sheet of paper the 4 categories below.
- Then let them know how this works. Explain that for each category they can write down a couple of suggestions but you’ll only give them one for a total of 3 gifts.
- The last section is where they will have the opportunity to write how they want to bless someone this year. It doesn’t have to be something they buy but it can be that your neighbor is a widow and can use some help with raking leaves or plowing snow. Or baking something for the mailman to show them how we care for them and appreciate them. We all need LOVE and appreciation.
To download your free Christmas Wish Printable go HERE. Before we went to the 4 gift tradition I made this printable with only the typical 3 gifts, so here’s that version. It’s without the giving to someone in need part but I highly recommend to add that to your Christmas experience this year.
This may be challenging for your family especially if you’re used to mounds of gifts and stockings overflowing with gadgets everyone will trash or never use.
But it’s so worth it! I promise it’s worth it.
Try it and reap the benefits of peace, simplicity and finding the true meaning of Christmas.