Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thinking about Christmas in September

I was at a Cub Scouts meeting the other night and I met a mom there who also had a boy in Cub Scouts.  She starts talking to me about how she got some really good deals on some Lego sets at Toys R Us for Christmas.  I was impressed she was already shopping and she said, "Well, I have to I have four kids."  She asked me about what we did for Christmas and so I told her.

A few years ago my friend Amanda told me something they were starting with her daughter.  They were going to get her 3 gifts for Christmas to help teach the story of Jesus and how he received three gifts from the wise men.  I thought this was a great idea so we have been doing that for the past two years.  We get the kids 3 gifts each and that is it.  We do provide a stocking too but it is usually filled with needs not wants like new toothbrushes and such.

And by no means is this some legalistic way to think of Christmas.  No where in the Bible does it say we should only get our children three gifts.  Each family is different.  We just know our kids and after about the third present they become less appreciative and more about the "gimmies" and they don't even play with it all anyway.

Since we do only buy three presents it does help us to be more thoughtful about what they would like.  It is a simple Christmas morning and since we don't spend a lot of time opening presents we get to spend a lot of time just playing with the new presents that each of them has opened which is more fun anyway!

How about you, do you have any things like this you do for gifts - Christmas or otherwise?


  1. I have been thinking a LOT about Christmas lately. At my house, I make Christmas gifts. I have 6 children. We just finished celebrating 1 birthday, and I have one more before Christmas. In addition, I make birthday gifts, too. My oldest needs lots of new clothes, so I need to tackle that before I can start making birthday and Christmas gifts, but I have a plan of what I am making, and I am really excited to get started! We were given lots of hand-me down fabric last year, which added to my fabric stash. As soon as it came in I flagged it for different birthday and Christmas projects. I have a list for each child. Most items are needed items, such as pajamas, slips, and dresses, but I usually make some fun items, such as dress-up clothing. I want to get started soon, so that I can spend more of December doing fun Christmas projects WITH the children (making cookies, for one) instead of spending as much time sewing.

  2. @The Prudent Homemaker
    I believe I remember you doing a guest post on Mom's Frugal blog about a Zero Budget Christmas. I need to revisit that. The last few years I have made a lot of gits too and plan to do so this year but I always find it hard to figure out what to make for boys.

  3. We did the 3 gifts thing last year and loved it. Though Christmas was VERY different since we spent it at the funeral home with Dad, it was GREAT in regards to how smoothly that worked. We also put an extra twist to the 3 gifts: one gift was spiritual, one gift was a want, and one gift was a need. As far as the gifts for the rest of the family and friends, I'm already about half way finished with what I need to purchase. I've been shopping for about 2 months. The rest I will make.

  4. This year my family is on board with setting a strict budget for the first time ever! We are setting a budget for each family, it can be spent on one or two gifts or twenty, as long as we stick to the budget.
    My family was always one to go overboard on gifts and Christmas has been getting larger and larger each year! I'm looking forward to this new, smaller budget :)
    This will also force me to be creative and not just buy thoughtless gifts. I'm all for a Christmas with more "meaning" and less stuff!

  5. Thrifty Mom in BoiseSeptember 16, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    I begin my planning, shopping and preparing in July. I make a lot of my gifts and purchase the rest, usually on sale.

    My children also get three gifts and then clothing needed to supplement their school wardrobes. Santa does the stockings and a family gift like a DVD or game we can all enjoy. The stockings are filled with useful items - always a toothbrush and toothpaste then things like lotion, shower gel, lip balm, a little candy and socks or undies. With fewer gifts they seem to enjoy them more and the day itself. Plus our budget stays intact!

  6. I've been trying to think of ways to simplify Christmas, as well as other areas in our lives. We have four small children, and I want to help them realize an appreciation for what they get not how much they get. I like your idea of three gifts.

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  7. I bought my first gift for this year in February! LOL Shopping all year allows me to not take a financial hit all at the same time and rather than trying to find a gift just because I have a deadline, I'm able to buy things for people that I know they will like as I see them. I'm about halfway done with my shopping now. We also give just 3 gifts from the Big Red Man and one from mom & dad along with stocking stuffers, but we have such a large family it often takes us a few hours to open everything Christmas morning!

    Billie Jean


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