christmas tradition: gifts and stockings

this year we felt convicted to make a change with the way we approach christmas gift giving with our children.  with the christmas holiday highly commercialized in our country (i recall the cvs by our house began selling christmas items in october...gah!), the true meaning of christmas seems to get lost in between all the presents, fancy name-brand items, and the amount of money and stuff advertisements say you have to spend on people to ensure they have the BEST christmas ever.

so this year was it.  enough procrastinating.  enough feeling guilty that our presents may not be "good" enough to give to other people.  enough feeling bad that we didn't get everyone enough stuff (even if it meant racking up more debt).  in reality, the people that truly love us will know that we love them no matter how big or small a gift we give them for christmas (contrary to what marketers will have you believe).  they aren't going to love us any less (i hope!) if our gift is comprised of hugs and kisses or a store bought item.

so our new gift tradition is three-fold.  first, each child receives only 3 gifts (with the exception of our annual pair of winter socks tradition).  one is always something he/she needs and the other 2 are either items they want, wear, read, eat, a handmade item, what have you.  why 3?  the amount symbolizes the amount of gifts Jesus received from the 3 wise men after his birth, and helps bring the whole gift-opening process back to Christ.

second, as a family we purchased a gift to donate as a way to share God's love with others and help us to re-focus on what truly matters.  this year we purchased 3 ducks through world vision, though there are many other  worthwhile local, national and international organizations out there.

third, we have decided to bring back santa claus into our house (when ty discovered the "truth" we stopped the santa tradition).  however, this time around santa is not the bearer of the "ultimate" gift(s).  he is not the guy who brings you the stuff you want on your list, per se.  he leaves behind a little something for the kids to open, but nothing extravagant (emma got a small, wooden puzzle and ty received a metal slinky and batteries) so that he doesn't detract from the purpose of the whole christmas celebration.

and now to our stockings...

our stockings are handmade and personalized by aaron's mom.

when i joined the family i received a stocking of my own, and with each new grand-baby comes a new stocking.  "upgrades" are taken into consideration if you feel your stocking is no longer a valid representation of yourself (e.g ty and aaron).

we also receive an orange in each of our stockings ever year.  this is a tradition passed down from my husband's side of the family.  long ago (i don't know how long), oranges being sold in this area during the winter were very expensive.  so you wait until they're in season.  an orange found in your stocking back in the day was a real treat, because enjoying a fresh orange was a rare occasion during the winter months.


Melissa said...

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with your new traditions.

little rambler said...

Oh YAY! Thank you for the update on how it all turned out!

Benjamonkey said...

Sounds like a great morning. Even with all the toys the grandparents spoiled the boys with, they absolutely love the 'find it' you made for them!

Robert Stockham said...

I just wanted to share a little something... when I was a kid, my parents were in the Oddfellows/Rebecca lodge. Every year was a Christmas show with songs and such and then Santa would show up with a sack for each kid that had an orange, some orange slices candy, some candy canes, and some nuts. I don't remember any of the other commercial gifts I got, but I remember that bag with the orange as if it were yesterday. Kudos to you for creating traditions that are meaningful and rich and will give your kids something to remember for the rest of their lives!

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