I mentioned before that we had listened to an interview with Phil Vischer talking about Christmas. (Sadly, I couldn’t find the original interview online–available through Focus on the Family’s podcasts, but here is the DVD he was being interviewed about.) He talked about its history a little bit, and said Christmas was actually a couple of holidays merged into one. (Disclaimer: I didn’t do my own research to determine the validity of these claims, but you have to admit, the current Christmas does seem like it should be a couple different holidays.) The two celebrations are for Jesus’ birth, and Saint Nicolas Day, a day where kids celebrated a man who loved kids (and God–we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt), and gave money to help kids stay out of slavery. St Nicolas’ Day is where the gift giving traditions come from. I’m not really sure why I feel the need to point that out, except that the gift-giving tradition we settled on continues to merge the two holidays.
We don’t want PG to grow up thinking Christmas, or life in general, is about getting stuff, but it sure is fun to give gifts to people, and your children, especially. This is what we decided, based off this blog post. You can read there for a longer explanation, but here’s the short version. PG will get three gifts based off the three gifts the wise men brought baby Jesus, plus a stocking. A gold gift–something she wants (or a toy at this age). A frankincense gift–frankincense was used in the temple, so this is something to further spiritual growth. Finally, there is the myrrh gift. Myrrh was used for medicinal purposes, so this is something for the body (e.g. clothes, shoes, etc).
For PG’s gold gift this year, we got her a xylophone. The girl is not into books much, but she loves all things music. To save some dough and the earth, I got the xylophone at Once Upon a Child, a kids’ consignment store. [Warning, slight rant: There were about ten xylophones there, but only one with the eighth note. I had to pay a dollar extra for the xylophone that had the final note of the scale. Why would someone make a xylophone that you could not play an entire octave on? You just can’t resolve a full scale with only seven notes. Anyway… oh yeah, and none of the twenty toy guitars there had any strings. What is up with that?]
For PG’s frankincense gift, I got her the Seeds of Purpose CD, Bible verses put to music that I mentioned here.
For the myrrh gift, I got her some toddler training pants. We won’t be using them by Christmas, but I am foreseeing sometime in the next year.
As for her stocking, we’ll fill it with Goldfish crackers, Craisins, socks, toothbrushes, and hair barrettes.
That’s it. a Christmas that doesn’t break the bank, should still be fun, and hopefully sets some traditions we can maintain in the future. Do you have a system for your gift giving?
And just for fun, here’s a picture of her eyeing Santa suspiciously from the safety of my lap: