Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh…Christmas shopping for 8 kids in perspective

I thought I’d repost this from last year, since it is getting lots of hits in my archive. I also added something new for this year:

People ask us from time to time how we do Christmas with 8 children. Well, we’ve done a variety of things over the years, but we have always kept it simple. We don’t put this huge emphasis on Santa and we only give a couple of gifts to each.

We draw names among the kids. They used to try and buy each sibling something, but as the family grew it just became more practical to draw names. They really enjoy doing this too. Searching for that special gift. We give them a budget (usually $5) and they get to pick a special gift for their siblings. Sometimes they will make gifts too. My oldest daughter knitted scarves for her younger sisters last year.

In recent years we have settled on buying each child “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh” gifts. This is not original to us, but I share it as a possibility for your family too. It really helps keep the perspective of Christmas.

The GOLD gift is something they want…a toy, gadget or something. Not something ridiculously expensive, mind you. The FRANKINCENSE is something they need…usually a clothing item. While the MYRRH is something spiritual…a Bible, devotional book, Christian CD, etc.  The total for all these gifts per child may be $25-35 or less. Even at that, it can get expensive. We usually set a total budget and divide it out based on what we can afford. (We NEVER use credit cards..aren’t you proud Dave Ramsey? 🙂 )   However, we have never put a big emphasis on buying lots of expensive gifts. We shop sales and use discounts and coupons as much as we can. Sometimes a toy or game may be given to more than one child, combining the gift. This is helpful on the budget too. 🙂

This year, the economy has made us have to work harder at saving and stretching and even cutting back. We won’t be able to do as much this year as we have in the past. BUT it is likely that we all should be doing that anyway. We are praying about what we should give as a family to The Gift this Sunday @ The Ridge. Many people at other churches are taking special offerings for missions and ministries. You may be thinking about supporting a worthy ministry in your area. I would challenge you to GIVE GENEROUSLY this Christmas…to OTHERS. Give to meet needs in your family, give out of love for your spouse and kids, but teach them the real reason we give…out of WORSHIP of a God who GAVE everything for us.

For 2010, we have decided as a family to give a goat and/or chickens to help feed a family in a third world nation and also share the hope of the gospel through Samaritan’s Purse. You can check out their catalog here. It’s another great way to get your kids to focus on perspective and giving as well as missions. There are all kinds of gifts at all kinds of prices you can purchase.  Check out this video…watch it with your family too, then go to the catalog and discuss what you’ll purchase:

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