I either get flack or positive remarks on our family holiday gift giving tradition.
Aside from what the boys receive from Grandparents, Godparents and a few very close family friends, they only receive three gifts each from Santa.
Nothing comes from us and the boys believe the three gifts are from Santa, which of course is simply wonderful. Paul and I don’t exchange gifts and enjoy the holiday being about the children. The tradition began years ago and we’ve stuck with it.
So, our decision to focus the holiday on our children and marry the religion and symbolism of the three gifts Jesus received with the magic of Santa as our Christmas gifting formula has worked and has been fulfilling.
Aside from the positve comments and the “Good for You’s”, we’ve heard it all from people over the years. Questioning us about what we’re doing to them; How awful that they only get three gifts; We’re depriving them of the excitement of a plenitude of gifts and the experience of being a kid on Christmas; We’re ruining it entirely…
We judge no one and don’t care what anyone thinks. It works for us. This is entirely personal and without judgment for what anyone else does. I’d like to think if you have the ability to provide an abundance of gifts for your family, you’ll also consider the needs of those less fortunate and give back with charitable gifts. I hope this is true, but I don’t judge just as you shouldn’t judge us.
There are wants and there are needs and there’s a distinct difference between the two. For our family, our Christmas lists have always been about our wants. We are fortunate and for that we are grateful. Very grateful. There’s nothing wrong with wanting and receiving things as long as the gifts are appreciated, and of course that respect is given to the difference between those wants and needs.
Each year, the boys participate with us in selecting two disadvantaged children to purchase Christmas gifts for. A tradition I began as a child with my parents, I’ll admit I get more joy in making these purchases and providing for the real needs of others than I do in satisfying the wants of my own family. We’ll always have joy on Christmas regardless of what is under the tree or in the stockings, but this does not ring true for everyone.
Believe it or not, our boys truly appreciate their three gifts, don’t wonder why there isn’t more, spend a great deal of time processing what they’re asking for each year, are learning the difference between wants and a needs, recognize there are many less fortunate than they, appreciate what they have, think of others needs and have yet to even recognize that our tradition is any different from their friends.
Our family has found a peaceful balance in this overly commercialized holiday and for that we are happy and grateful. I wouldn’t want it any other way.