Thursday, December 22, 2005


We are three days away from the biggest holiday event of the year: Opening Christmas gifts.

In our family, however, it was really turning into "what Christmas is all about", which we weren't happy with. There is a reason we celebrate, and it isn't to sing songs about the most wonderful time of the year, nor a time of "family", nor a time for presents, although those all become a part of the season. No, we celebrate because of a little baby who was born to offer salvation to the world.

So, my wife and I decided to mix things up a bit a few years ago, and move the gift-exchange thing to Thanksgiving day. I blogged about that already in November. Christmas morning, for us, is not filled with the expectation of gifts. It is about Jesus' birthday. Although, this year, we have the added bonus of having Christmas Day fall on Sunday, meaning we can celebrate the holiday at church. Later, we'll throw a birthday party.

Some folks might find the shift of gift-giving a bit odd. And, I suppose it is. But we don't do the Santa thing, so that's no big deal. Instead, we have a family tradition on Christmas Eve night which my wife and I started before we even had kids. We have our stockings. But it is more than just a few gifts. It is a whole game.

Prior to Christmas Eve night, my wife and I set a price limit. Originally it was $10, and then we upped that to $15 (due to inflation). We then go to separate stores and buy as many meaningful gifts without going over that price. It is quite a challenge, but well worth it. For example, my wife will often buy me Chapstick because of my incessantly dry lips. I, one year, bought my wife this de-icer for the windshield that you spray on because she is too short to reach. It is fun, especially when you do something like wrap up six white sox individually in order to have more to open.

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but I'm quite family-oriented. And as such, having unique activities and traditions that enrich the family are important to me. Spending a fortune on each of our kids may make the retailers happy, and it may even, for a short while, make my kids happy. But I'm not in it for their short-term happiness. We're a family for the long haul. So, well...we just don't spend that kind of money. We can't spend that kind of money. At least not without heaping more debt upon our heads. So, we found creative ways to make memories to last a lifetime without having to buy that iPod, or whatever.

In case I don't get a chance to write again before the 25th, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May the Lord bless you.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

I like your values.

We do small gifts also. I bought my husband a "vintage" Mattel handheld video football game from the 80's. Target had them in stock and I knew it would be the only gift he'd be satisfied with (he's hard to buy for!).

I'm expecting my yearly bottle of perfume.