Gift Giving and Christmas: A Revelation.

My husband and I have struggled with Christmas gift giving for quite some time. You see, we're not great at giving or receiving gifts in general. Now that we have a child who is very aware of Christmas, we find ourselves in a bit of a quandary: what the heck to we do about gifts?

(a present she made for someone)

This question actually includes many smaller questions: how do we teach her that gift receiving is not about how many gifts you receive but how special those gifts are to the receiver and giver? How do we teach her that receiving is about recognizing someone else took time to pick out a gift for her? How do we teach her that a gift isn't about the gift but the thought? How do we teach her to be a gracious receiver and thoughtful giver? How do we teach her that gifts aren't always (or often) tangible?

We struggle for a few reasons with these topics. First, we are very aware that many people of the world are wanting for the basics this time of year. We have food, shelter, security, healthcare, and clothing, and many people do not. Second, we like to think of ourselves as minimalists because we truly don't like to just have 'stuff' lying around for the sake of lying around. Third, I should have put this one first, we want her to internalize the belief that Christmas is not about presents but about celebrating Jesus' birth.

With all of that being said, I think it's incredibly easy to take away the joy of Christmas for children AND adults by over-thinking everything (such as everything I've just said). Maybe all the lessons I want to teach about Christmas don't all need to be taught at Christmas? Should I instead be trying to show her my excitement about the season of Christmas and let all the other pieces fall into place?

Through this post, I think I've discovered what I want to do about this topic: next year, I'm going to plan how to celebrate Christmas instead of planning out my gift giving. You see, I think maybe I'm projecting my worries on to her because my actions and beliefs aren't lining up. I've spent a month planning out my gift giving, but I spent no time planning how I would celebrate Christmas other than going to church, putting up a tree, hanging some lights outside, and giving gifts.

Hmm.....that's a little sobering a week before Christmas.


DandW said...

We just finished an Advent Series and a message in the book hit home for me "...turn down the Christmas carols and hear the lone voice that cries out saying "Prepare the way of the Lord. It is the voice that will show you the way to the manger". I plan to be better at listening for that voice now and in the coming years. Merry Christmas to you, your family and all your readers.

Kim said...

I think you're doing well to think about all of that, first of all, and also that she is learning to make gifts for people. To save money, I ended up making a lot of gifts this year and volunteering my time (at their school). We were also going to take homemade cookies to the local firemen with Cata, but one of her kids got sick.

Personally, I really like the gift giving part. Maybe it's a bit selfish, but I like buying/making that perfect gift and watching the recipient open it. I've also tried to equate gift giving with celebrating the "gift" the Jesus was to us. Somehow though, things like Black Friday ruin that sort of lesson :)

I just saw that you have a post about Black Friday. Please tell me you weren't one of the crazy people who went out on that day!! :)