“You get three gifts.  That is it.” Amazing Ann said tonight on the phone with my sister. Granted, by the end of December, my kids have a lot more than three gifts but that is what Santa brings to our house. We started this tradition when Amazing Ann was a baby to keep the focus on the true meaning of Christmas. We were not jealous that the guy in the red suit got all the gift glory – no really.  Christmas had a bigger meaning and did not include our desire to fill all the available space under the tree.  

Amazing Ann visiting with Santa at the Cumberland Bakery

Bryan and I saw Christmas become a season of people frantic with long shopping lists. Impulse purchases were excused under the rouse of another name crossed off the shopping list. The joy of the season was squashed by one big list of things that must be done.  The “most wonderful time of the year” turned into the most stressful season.  

The three gifts guideline made us thoughtful when choosing each gift. This prevented impulse buys and worry that one child had more gifts than the other. To make life easier, the guidelines were broken into three categories we value: books, board games and toys. The immediate impact was that shopping was easier on the elf and budget. On Christmas morning the kids were not overwhelmed and the recycle bin was not overflowing with wrapping paper. The long-term effect helped my kids see the holiday as a series of events, not just one big gift grab.

Wild Regan with her “reading glasses.”  Check out the pagination.

We remind our kids that the season is about His birth, and the gifts represent what the wise man brought to the new family. Since Jesus is not around, we shared his gifts with one another. Wild Regan was not about to share her new doll, but she understand that Santa worked with the wise men from Jesus’ time.

When I have mentioned our guidelines to others, some have asked if our kids feel cheated. My little ones are still very young; seven, four and two. This is all they have known. They understand that some houses have more gifts. Between my generous family, friends and neighbors, my kids have never been empty handed.  They understand the gifts they get before/after Christmas are from that individual and not under the disguise of Santa. The true spirit of Christmas.

Do you have a Christmas guideline?

Sharon, The Mayor 

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