Gift Giving

I'm a procrastinator by far when it comes to my Christmas shopping. Every year I have amazing intentions of starting early, crossing off every name on my list by Thanksgiving, smirking at all the nutty people who are having to shop through the madness of after T-giving sales, and having all my gifts wrapped, tagged, and sitting pretty under the tree before the calendar is flipped to December.

Every year....same thing. DOESN'T HAPPEN!

Thanksgiving roles around and I stare at my list realizing that nothing has been crossed off the list and I have a mondo list of gifts to not only buy, but find....

I ventured out Black Friday and actually shocked myself at my lack of impulse shopping and frustration. I was amazingly at peace about the whole thing and not stressed at all.

I think this complete turn-around in Christmas shopping attitude is coming from my new perspective on things. That stuff doesn't matter.

I would like to say that I have always been a minimalist. That I've always strived for the simple way of living. That stuff has never mattered to me. Sadly, it's just not true.

I can't really pinpoint what it is that has helped me move across the line from "keeping up" to "keeping it simple," but I'm okay with it. I give a lot of credit to our church and my good friends. Appearances, pretense, and impressions have been miraculously replaced with being genuine and authentic. It has been an amazing change for me, and I've noticed my outlook shifting. (Thank you -- you know who you are! You make me smile! *grin*)

All that being said....back to Christmas shopping. I'm really going to try to scale down and give gifts that matter this year. Ones that are handcrafted or ones that are really useful and personal. Well thought out gifts, not just ones found on a sale rack.

But what about my kids? Kirk and I have tried to do the three gift thing (taken from the example of Jesus' gifts from the wisemen) and that works well for us. The kids get 1 large gift and then a couple of other gifts that are a little more useful (like PJs or a family game). Then they receive little gifts in their stockings.

I was just thinking the other day about our system and how it works for us, but that there really isn't any rhyme or reason to how we choose their presents from their lists. It really ends up being about what Kirk and I want them to have (or don't want them to have all over the living room *wink*). Since then, I've been thinking about it more and more. Not that everything has to have a formula, but I really was wanting to nail down some guidelines, just in the interest of sparing ourselves the "it's not fair" and "his is better than mine" rigmarole.

And then I came across a good friend's solution. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! You can read her full post here (and you should!) but the short version is that she and her husband follow this poem.

"Something they want, something they need, something to play with, and something to read."

She mentions that the kids have to think really hard about the things in the "need" and "want" categories. WOW! I was so excited after reading it that I ran in to tell Kirk about it, and he thinks that it's "cool." (That is man-talk for "sounds good to me").

I'm really thinking that we may try it out this year. Thanks, Meredith, for the great idea! Are you tired of my copying you yet?!?!

Now I'm excited to sit the kids down and rehash their Santa lists.....then it is off to shop! I'm beginning to get in the Christmas spirit!!!


mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Copy away, Amber, because I certainly copied that idea.

I loved what Joanne said on her blog the other day...we are each other's best resources. I truly believe that!

I hope you have a good week!

Oh, and I know I would love your church too...because I love all the people I know that hang out with you on Sundays.

Jo said...

I think that's a wonderful idea, too. (The way to select gifts for the kids.) That way, knowing what they WANT narrows down the hunt to one thing each. Then the rest should be pretty easy! You got a good head on your shoulders, kiddo!

Also, over the years, as you know, I have been one to try to do the "hand-made" thing for Christmas gifts. I haven't done it every single year, but when time and creativity work out, I do enjoy it.

BTW, I went shopping on Black Friday exactly ONE time, many years ago, back in 1979, I believe. Haven't done it since, and never hope to again. Too stressful!

Have a great week!
Aunt Jo

Alison said...

Wow...I really love the three gift idea. What a neat way to do gift giving for your kiddos. We're not doing Santa with ours (although we'll share the story of St. Nick) and do all the other fun family Christmas traditions, but a great way to lead into the Christmas story!!

Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

I think that we have done good this year bartering and making things for people. If we start early with ideas maybe we can do a lot this summer. :)

I like Mer's idea too...We may have to enact that next year.