I’ve been pondering why it is so complicated to simplify one’s life. It seems especially challenging during the Christmas season. We want to give our loved ones all of the gifts we can to express our love, yet our budgets simply do not allow it. (There’s that word again – simply.) How do we simplify Christmas and still keep The Spirit?
One suggestion for Christmas gift buying is to limit yourself to 4 gifts per child, following this rhyme:
Something you want
Something you need
Something to wear, and
Something to read
All four of these gifts can be free, cheap, used, expensive . . . whatever your lifestyle allows. Consider used stores, online auction sites, or trading with a friend for the wants. Electronics, toys, accessories and jewelry can all be found inexpensively. Needs, such as toiletries, socks or school supplies can all be found at discount stores. I think we all know how to use re-sale shops and consignments shops to find things to wear. (Otherwise we’d all be naked!) And I absolutely LOVE used book stores for the read.
The Gift of the Magi is another idea for simplifying gift giving at Christmas time. The Wise Men brought Baby Jesus three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Just as an aside: for a fun family night devotional, search the Scriptures to learn how many Wise Men there actually were!) Gold represents something of value. This gift would be something your child would buy if they were spending their own money on it. In other words, this is a “want.” Myrrh is an ointment, so this gift
would be something for the body. Lotion, bath bubbles, or a new hairbrush would fit the bill. Frankincense was used as a burnt offering to God. This gift would be something to strengthen the Spirit – perhaps a new set of Scriptures, or a special book mark for their Bible. By following the example of the Magi, we simplify our gift giving to only three, meaningful gifts.
The most important thing with simplifying gift giving at Christmas is to remember the original gift. The gift of Heavenly Father’s Son, Jesus Christ, to us. All gift giving should be done with the intent to express our love for others, as God expressed His love for us.
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I have been known to confiscate any toys that were not picked up. The loot was put into storage, and recycled as gifts! Young children forget what they had, so when they get re-gifted in this way, it’s as if they just received something brand new.
If that doesn’t portray me as mean enough, consider this. I used to take all the left-over Halloween candy, put it in the freezer, and then put it in Christmas stockings!! As my teenage daughter would say, “Cheap! OMG! I know, right?!”