Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Any other thoughts on Christmas Giving?

I've received word, I'm no longer on someone's Christmas list. A tough financial year is the reason, and children and adults that are childless, remain on the list.

Recently, I've also had conversations where parents have tried really hard to keep the financial gift to be EXACTLY the same for each child. Josh and I had started this, and then I realized Fifty bucks bought a lot more for Laila, than for Colson, so that didn't work well either.

For a few years I've had this Christmas Plan for my kids: One Learning Toy, One Fun Toy, and One book. That's it. That's been my kids' Christmas. It's never big, if they get more than that it comes from elsewhere. I never wanted them to expect a massive Christmas, nor have I tried to spend the same amount. I wanted it small and meaningful.

We also haven't done a lot for extended family, we would sometimes do a Christmas CD, or Movie, or scrapbook, or nothing, Depended on the year. We always do a secret something for someone else. This is usually a generous gift to some unknowing person, (generous in the past hasn't been much, because we didn't have much). We've bought an extra toy and left it, a gift card, a box of food, or whatever.

I feel Christmas, is the time for giving. Especially Selfless giving. Where you think of those you love, and those in need, and you give them whatever you want to give however big or small. Or maybe even your time, if that's all you've got. I don't feel like you should have to give excuses or explanations, whether true or not, for your giving.

Just Give or Don't. That's my Christmas Theory.

I love these thoughts on Christmas.

Anyway, wishing you and yours a Merry Holiday Season.


Brandi said...

We pretty much do what you do--three gifts each (although they each get a couple of little things--we're talking dollar store things--in their stockings, along with home made cookies).

As for extended family, we told them from the very start that we couldn't afford to buy for everyone, especially once nieces and nephews stated showing up, and we told them that we didn't expect anything from them.

We've begged our parents to limit the gifts they give our kids. We've told them that we didn't really expect presents, but if they insisted, then a family gift like a game or movie would be great. If they absolutely felt the need to buy for each child, then please, please limit it to one gift.

One set of parents has made the switch to a family gift. The other set of parents still sends 8-10 gifts per child. On one hand we don't want to seem ungrateful, but on the other hand, that's so excessive!

And you're right--you really can't do exact monetary amounts when you have kids of different ages. We set a limit for the maximum we'll spend per child, but we don't worry if one kid's gifts cost less than the others'.

Doing something for another family is our favorite tradition. Before we had kids we were able to a lot more. Now we usually make up stockings with a few little things in them and bring them to a local children's hospital cardiac unit.

O.K., sorry for rambling. I was just excited to see someone who has the same philosophy on this that I do. I have a lot of friends who think we deprive our kids by limiting them to three gifts.

Unknown said...

Well said Lucy!

Emily said...

I agree with you! Does it always have to be so dramatic?

becca said...

I like your idea for your kids gifts. I think that is bold of you to withold that crazy mound of presents on christmas. I just read an article about all the wasted money on gifts at christmas. :) I think you are on the right track with your sweet kids.

Micah-n-Holly said...

I TOTALLY agree with that! If I give a gift I want it to be meaningful and something they will appreciate and the same goes for gifts given to us by others! It really doesn't impress me at all when we get little things that you can tell no thought went into, it was simply to get a gift just to get a gift!

Vcky13 said...

“You can't undo anything you've already done, but you can face up to it. You can tell the truth. You can seek forgiveness. And then let God do the rest.”

Love you sis. Call me.

Des said...

Some years we do better then others. We try to set a reasonable budget. One thing I do that I love is have everything purchased and prepared by the first of December. That way it leaves the whole month of December to focus on the true meaning of christmas.It keeps me away from the christmas rush at the stores and the $$$ aspect of christmas. I love to visit temple lights, go to christmas programs, seek out opportunities to give service and listen to alot of christmas music and read christmas stories that make you cry. I don't feel I have Christmas exactly the way I want but each year gives me opportunities to fine tune the things I liked and didn't like. Hopefully I can someday capture the perfect christmas traditions and keep them alive for as long as I can. It's thoughts and ideas like this that help with the fine tuning. I know that ideas of how Christmas should be are widely debated. It really is crazy!! I know a mother who will not allow her children to believe in Santa and there are no gifts in their home. To people that go into MAJOR debt every christmas. I want fun, but most importantly I want the spirit of Christmas in our home and in our hearts.

Linds said...

Great post, Lucy. We're doing 3 gifts for each of the girls plus inexpensive stocking stuffers (we do candy, cookies, playdough, or similar in the stockings).

I want my kids to understand that Christmas is about giving and not receiving, so one of our traditions is that we sort out toys that my kids don't want/ play with or that they think or other kids would like and we give them away. My kids have been so far very generous and sweet about this tradition understanding that otherwise that the kids getting those gifts may not be able to get anything for Christmas because they may be poor. They totally get that explanation and I think are grateful to have so much and be able to give to those who have less.

Monique said...

I try to buy Christmas gifts all year long so that it's not such a pain to get them all in one month. We have a dollar amount that we spend on our kiddos TOTAL, so we have to split it up accordingly. We just try to make it as even as possible, but I have threatened that Santa gives presents depending on how good they are... ;)

MaryRuth said...

I love this post! I'm going to bookmark it! I love the idea of three gifts... although I might sneak a 4th in there just so I can give them an outfit.... but I love that it isn't all about the gifts. Thank you for sharing!!

My husbands family is huge in to excessive Christmas... I'm trying to undo years of damage with my husband. Ugh.