This month, I’m writing about the beauty of the Christmas/holiday season. I’d love to hear from you about your traditions.
Several years ago, my husband and I asked ourselves this question: how could we make our family’s Christmas season more meaningful? We didn’t want to just give each other and our daughter a pile of presents. We wanted to simplify the gift-giving part of our celebration and also tie it into the story of Christ’s birth.
He started doing a little research and shared an idea with me. Why not use the model of the wise men’s three gifts as our own?
The wise men, or magi, traveled a great distance following the star in the East until they found the Christ child in Bethlehem. Overjoyed, they presented him with treasures worthy of the King: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
My husband’s research explained the significance of each gift in the life of Christ, and we decided that our gifts to each other would be based on those three categories: gold is something of value or enriching; frankincense is soothing, calming, restorative; myrrh is fragrant.
For us, favorite gold gifts include books, music or educational CDs or DVDs, small original pieces of art, art supplies, journals, and did I mention books?
Favorite soothing gifts include coffee and tea, fuzzy socks, soft sweaters, fleecy pajamas, scarves, gloves, music, etc. Last year, Mart gave me a pair of writing gloves that are so soft https://storiarts.com/collections/gloves I sometimes wear them to bed on very cold nights because my hands get so cold.
Favorite fragrant gifts include candles, coffee, lotion, shower gel, soaps, etc.
When we wrap the gifts for each other, we label them with their category: “gold/enriching”, “frankincense/soothing” or “myrrh/fragrant.” We also identify them to each other when we open them so we all know which category they represent.
Full disclosure here: we don’t always do this perfectly. Sometimes, we fudge a bit and sheepishly “force” an item, like jeans or makeup, to fit one of the categories, but overall we stay within the theme.
We’ve known other families who give a total of three gifts to each other, sometimes with stockings, sometimes without. That idea appeals to me, too.
Using the wise men’s three gifts as a theme requires some forethought but isn’t hard to do. We end up with presents we love that remind us of Jesus’ birth. It adds more meaning to our Christmas celebration. Maybe it would to yours, too.
What is your favorite holiday tradition, and why? How do you handle gift-giving at your house?
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