Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

It’s that time of year.  I’ve thought a bit about it in the last few months.  It’s always my intention to be making gifts earlier in the year, but other than scanning ideas, I don’t have much of anything done yet.

So how are you selecting what you give this year?  I wrote here about how we selected Christmas gifts last year for our family.  I’m standing by it for this year, too.  Instead of calling it the lengthy “Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Swaddling Clothes” gift concept, I think I’m going to just refer to it as the “Wise men” gift concept.  Since I like to have a picture in my posts, here’s a picture of a good book, The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke.  I love the message it carries, and it was easier than digging out a nativity set to take a picture of the wise men!

John and I and the girls relaxed at the little house Sunday afternoon, which gave us a chance to think hard about how we’ll carry our version of the Wise men gift concept this year.  We made some progress.

It takes, in my opinion, more thought than just buying (or making) things I think my girls will really like.  Yes, there’s still that element in selecting a “Gold” gift.  (Then comes the challenge of narrowing it down to one gift).  But throw in “Frankincense”, and now I have to think about where my children are in their spiritual development and what they may benefit from over the course of the next year.  Good and important reflections, but not easy.  And “Myrrh” is the toughest.  It really forces me to think from my child’s perspective- what does she struggle with?  What will be challenging for her in the next year?  How does she learn, think, and act?  And what sort of a gift would be a good tool for her in the process of molding her character, personality development and growth?  Or do I take the easy way out and stick with bubble bath?  Swaddling clothes is hard for me only in picking one thing to make.  I’d love to sew lots, but I know my time is limited.

We’re still tweaking some details on our concept.  Like outlining what a gift can entail.  Our gold gift is not a single item this year, it will be a busy bag/activity bag with a wide collection of little homemade and purchased items.  Things fitting a theme that they’ll really like, but will be especially helpful for us in the car on the LONG trip to NC to visit family at Christmas this year.  Hopefully it will make it a more enjoyable trip for everyone!

My last pondering on the topic for now:  What makes Christmas gifts different from providing/giving items needed and wanted throughout the year?  The wrapping paper?  I’m hoping that in choosing this concept to use in our family, the meaning behind Christmas giving is something my children will learn and embrace.  I want it to give more understanding to their view of Christmas and my own!

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If you’re in my MOPS group or my Facebook friend, you may have already heard or seen this.  For anyone else who’s interested, I’ll share here as well.  We’ve thought about how we’ll do Christmas gifts in our family to make them meaningful (in many ways).  I heard about the basic concept a few years ago, but really sat down to research it this year.

Basic premise– gifts following the gifts of the wise men to Christ.  Plus, a neat idea about swaddling clothes as a gift from Jesus’ parents.

Gold gift– valuable, enduring worth.  May or may not be the most expensive gift, but carries a lot of importance to the receiver.

Frankincense gift– anything that will help them with their spiritual health and growth- a book, a CD, a T-shirt, a video, anything that focuses them on God.

Myrrh gift– (varied ideas)  some say health and beauty products- lotion, soap, perfume, cologne, toothpaste, even combs, brushes, hair ties.  All the way to “all the wonders of life on earth.”  Some just do their clothing in this category.

We had to work through defining what our “myrrh” will be.  We needed to find a balance between lotion/soap/cologne and ‘all the pleasures of life on earth’, especially since I like the “swaddling clothes” as a separate category.

I’ve researched a little- myrrh was used to treat suffering/ afflictions whether in healing, numbing, or embalming, as well as in preventative maintenance health care (eg. antiseptic, mouthwash, body wash, toothpaste forms).

We are focusing on the healing aspect and choosing a gift that would help with something the receiver has been really struggling with, or we feel could really become a problem area for them.  So, a tool to help with an academic stumbling point, something directed to lift the spirits, something that would encourage them in their friendships/relationships, something that will inspire them- I guess this is still vague, but would be based on the specific needs and struggles of the receiver, and I’m thinking, would add another element of meaning to that gift- not just something they want, but something you feel will hold an impact in a possible problem area.

There are a few sources I found for this model of gift giving, but not much out there.  Here’s what I’ve found.  Let me know if you ever run across something else different about it!

Here is gold, frankincense, myrrh, and swaddling clothes

“Gold, we give a gift of enduring worth

Frankincense, a prayer reaching God above

Myrrh, all the wonders of life on earth

Swaddling clothes, surrounded in your parents love”

~(a poem about how they remember the gifts and meanings)

The other article I found- gold, frankincense, and myrrh (no swaddling clothes)

The spiritual aspects:  A look at the gifts and how we can also give them to Christ…

ETA:  It’s that time of year again, and I’ve added a post here with some more on the topic.  

And one more source to look at- maybe one of the originals I saw, but couldn’t find again when I wrote this?  It’s over at Counting My Blessings.

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