The Christmas of 2013 started out like any other, we made a list of a few things we wanted to get our four boys, 4 or 5 each. Then Black Friday came and we found a few more things we knew they’d love. And then we saw some other things they’d like, so we bought some more. In total each probably had between 8 and 10 presents that morning to open and we couldn’t wait for a magic Christmas morning with them!
That morning will go down as the worst Christmas for Jacob and I. It took them 10 minutes to open everything and then they argued and whined the whole day. Jacob and I agreed something would have to change and luckily a friend let me in on her secret to a happy Christmas!
We budget $50 for each child, except the babies because they don’t really know or care. I’m sure that will go up when they are older, but we’ll make it work for as long as we can! And the secret: our children get 3 presents each from us, “If Christ only got 3 gifts, so do you!”
- The first gift is educational; books, little toys that teach ABC’s, piano books, a ukulele, a cool science kit, anything that will further their knowledge or talents.
- The second gift is spiritual; a new tie (dress), something to take to church to help entertain them, a CTR ring, a picture of Christ, anything that will help draw them a bit closer to God.
- The third gift is recreational; this is a toy, game, or anything fun they’ve had their eye on.
That’s it for gifts from mom and dad. They will get a sibling gift from their brothers, usually something from the thrift or dollar store. In the past we’ve had them each pick out something for each brother but as our family has grown we’ve had half pick something out for each of the other half and visa versa. Eventually we’d like them to each draw a name and make or buy something with their own money, but since most are still young and their parents are still coming out of survival mode this is the next best thing.
That is it for individual gifts. We will often give a fun game or activity for the whole family to play as well. A few years ago we got Nerf guns from the D.I. and had a big family Nerf war which was a lot of fun, and this year we plan on getting a bunch of perler beads for all of us to enjoy together.
I should mention that this is just a nice guide for our family to be intentional with Christmas, but we can be flexible as well. This year I really wanted to get a family pass to several local children’s museums, gardens, and farm country. We’ve had one in the past but haven’t renewed it because I’ve been either pregnant or just had a baby for the last few years. It’s fairly pricey and will take up half of their Christmas budget, but it fits all 3 categories and the boys are excited about it! So this year along with the pass they’ll receive maybe a cheap book, a tie that I made for each of them last year, and a toy they get to pick out.
The lesson we learned for a happy memorable Christmas morning was to be intention with the gift giving and less really is more!