I just love Christmas! I love all the lights shimmering on our nightly drives through the neighborhood as we return from swim practice! I love baking and eating cookies during December! Yum! I love the enchantment of the first snow fall that really clings to the ground! I love decorating my house with all the handmade gifts I’ve received over the last 8 years from my kiddos! I love curling up and watching all my favorite holiday movies with a cup of hot chocolate!
But most of all, I love celebrating the birth of our Saviour! Our Christmas traditions wrap around Him (not Santa) and we tell our kids that his birthday is soooo special that they get presents on it!
But the season can also come with a lot of stress too! One of the biggest stressors for me (even though it should bring the greatest joy!) is gift-giving!
Any parents out there ever feel the urge to spoil their kids when it comes to Christmas? I sure do! I used to spend the whole year picking up toys on sale and then have what looked like Santa’s workshop blossom in my storage room come December! I wondered how in the world did I end up with so much! And then I would stress over the thought, “Holy cow my kids are spoiled!”
So after asking some girlfriends what helps them keep their gift-giving at bay, I came across a couple of awesome ideas!
Tracy, a home school mom, shared with me how her kids got 3 gifts just like Jesus did on the first Christmas. The wise men brought Jesus gold (the gift for royalty or a king); frankincense (the gift for a priest and as a symbol of deity); and myrrh (a gift for one who would die as it was often used as an embalming oil). So transfer that over to modern-day and you get gold (something you want); frankincense (something you need); and myrrh (something to read or educational). I just loved this idea and we have since implemented it in the Spiewak household!
But I’m so excited over the latest gift giving idea that a friend from my mother’s group just shared with me! It’s called Five-Hands Gifting and it’s a simple inexpensive way to gift but is backed with a whole lot of love from the heart! So here it goes:
The idea is to give 5 gifts: something HANDmade, something secondHAND, something Helping HAND, something HAND me down, and something HAND in Hand.
Handmade gifts can include anything you’ve made for that person! Just browse around on Pinterest and you’ll be inspired with plenty of gift ideas!
Secondhand gifts: Another person’s trash = Your Treasure! Browse the local thrift stores searching for that unique find for each person! My sister does this and we always laugh at the things she brings us! Whether it be an old t-shirt that reminds of us of our childhood or an ugly coffee mug that says our name, her gifts bring the best entertainment! No one has ever complained that they were second-hand either!
Helping hand involves charity work or blessing others in someway. Volunteering at a soup kitchen together, finding an underprivileged family to sponsor or take dinner to, or simply visiting a nursing home and playing board games with some of the the elderly there, could all be considered a helping hand gift!
Hand me down is giving away something of yours personally! This would be like giving your daughter the bracelet she admires so much! Or passing along your family’s favorite recipes to your son who just left for college in the fall.
Hand in Hand is last but my favorite! This is the gift of doing something together: going to the movies, going skiing, visiting museums, a local Christmas play or concert! Or if you’re not one to venture outside in the cold, then a coupon for a massive snowball fight with your kids! Kids love to see their parent’s act or play in a way that they know is outside their parent’s comfort zone!
Gift giving can be such a joy when you take the cost factor out and put the heart factor in!! I think that’s why I love the Five Hands Gifting idea so much because it really gets you thinking of what the other person may like but not putting so much emphasis on price! Christmas should be about the time spent together and the memories made! It should not be about spoiling our kids so they have the latest and greatest gadgets and gaming systems, stressing out over gift-giving or spending way too much, worrying about what exactly to get each person! Simplify your Christmas!! Make time and take time to embrace the true meaning of Christmas: the birthday we can be eternally grateful for!! And there’s no better or greater gift than Him!
So I pray that this holiday season you find joy in the simple things and that Christ remains at the center of all you choose to do!