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    Family Traditions: We Three Gifts

    December 22, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    I like to give gifts. I love the moment when I find that perfect gift for a recipient. Christmas, however, makes me a bit uncomfortable at times. What I happen to like about Christmas has more to do with people, traditions, and food than the gifts involved {though the gifts are nice and much appreciated}. Christmas has become an opportunity for marketers to turn the hearts of children away from their parents and their God and toward materialism and consumption, and like a lot of parents we tried to embed some traditions in our life that functioned as preventative measures.

    Our children receive three gifts from us. Thus far, these gifts have never been large, though they have always expressed our care for them. We tell them that Jesus received three gifts, and so we give them three gifts to help them remember that special time long ago.

    Each of the three gifts falls into a category.


    The first gift is a book. Not just any book, it is a big, thick, illustrated, collectible, beautiful, makes-one-just-have-to-read-it book. This year, E. is receiving Treasure Island while A. will enjoy a historically accurate and beautifully illustrated tale about Noah’s Ark. As a child, beautiful books enchanted me and beckoned to me to read them over and over. This is the type of library we are building for our children for now. And we are committed to reading these books aloud to them until such a time as they can read them alone.


    The second gift is an article of clothing. This is usually something nice that they will enjoy, but also meeting a need. We are giving E. a warm, fully lined shirt that is nice enough for church. Because he had some additional needs, I also threw in a casual T-shirt. We would never give the children “just underwear,” but we wouldn’t hesitate to throw such a necessity in and simply make the gift larger. We are giving A. a pretty pink shirt that she will love {she loves clothes} and matches a few pairs of pants she was recently given as hand-me-downs.


    The third gift is a toy. We try not to give a toy for toy’s sake or even for the sake of entertainment. We put a lot of thought into it and hope the toy reveals an appreciation for an area of their development that we have been working on, or some new interest the child has discovered. This year, E. is getting his first “gun.” And A. is getting the game Elefun. She will have a blast, E. will play it with her when I cannot, and it will encourage her development of motor skills, balance and coordination.

    So there it is, our traditional way of keeping Christmas simple and meaningful. Meaning enriches life in a way that “stuff” never can.

    The “products” don’t always exclude “the process,” but they can steal the show if we’re not careful. Mothers, we are the family memory makers. It is up to us to build traditions, not just buy them. {Like Merchant Ships}


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    1 Comment

  • Reply HKB December 8, 2012 at 7:33 am

    So I’m posting a comment because there ought to be at least one.

    Love this idea! We are going to begin it, probably next year. BUT it has helped tremendously in trying to make something feel more right but not sure what it was… this is it! I think I want to grab a cuppa, sit in my pyjamas, and read your blog (non-stop for weeks) to catch up on all I’ve missed. This blog feels a little like it is a “best kept secret”.

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