Body, Mind, and Spirit The Gifts of the Three Wise Men

About 10 years ago, as a MOPS coordinator, I heard this idea of giving your children the gift of the three wise men.  Up until that point, we were definitely not going over board in our gift giving as we only had a toddler who was asking for Starburst and a Thomas the Tank umbrella and a sweet baby girl who drooled on everything and really would have rather gummed the wrapping paper than cared what the present inside was.

I thought I would share with you, the focus of how our family does Christmas.

As Christian parents, we are doing our best to be intentional in raising our kids in a way that would be pleasing to God.  Christmas is a very joyful celebration of our Savior's birth, however with the commercialism behind Christmas it's gone from the celebration of Jesus' birth, to a holiday, as the Berenstain bears would say, has made our kids "get the gimmies". 

Being mindful of how easily that happens, we feel like it's important for us to keep our kids focus not on the presents that they want or want to receive, but instead on the real meaning of Christmas.

Don't get me wrong, our kids still sometimes get caught up in circling every item in the holiday toy catalog, 

image via Quinn + Lila

or lamenting on how many extravagant presents their friends got

yep, their friends get ipads

Our job is to continue to remind them, that Christmas isn't about what they want, but what God the Father wanted for us when He sent his son to earth as part of His plan.

And just like Jesus received three gifts from the wise men, our children also receive three gifts from us. 

We categorize them into 

& Spirit

Body gifts can include things like clothing, bath time items, or activities that the kids use their body for.

Gifts for the mind can include activity books, reading material, or games and puzzles

Gifts for the spirit can include things that help our kids spiritual growth or gifts that encourage our kids spiritual gifts.

Some of the gifts could fit into more than one category.  My youngest two kids love Legos.  Having spatial ability was not a gift I was blessed with, but that they are.  Lego's could fit into either a mind or a spirit gift.  

The kids also receive one gift from Santa.  Oh, and did I mention that we try to stick to a $50 total limit per kid for all four (body, mind, spirit, Santa) gifts?  Putting a monetary total on the gift giving helps me as the buying parent stay focused on the real reason why we have a limited amount of gifts.  However, I must say, as the kids get older, it's harder to stay in that budget and I am forced to be more creative and resourceful.

I am able to stick to my budget by planning throughout the year.

A lot of the kids gifts come from garage sales.  How many times have your kids opened a gift that never got played with?  I hear about it all the time when I am out garage sale shopping.  The best part about garage sales toys is that they are immediately available to be played with.  There is no packaging waste to mess with, and many times my kids get the hot items they were hoping for.

I also watch for items on Craigslist.  Several years ago my son was in a special school program that required an hour and a half on the bus a day.  He asked for a DS to help him unwind and give him something to do on his ride.  I was able to find a brand new DS on craigslist as a trade for another item I already had at home.  Win win situation.

My daughter loves the American Girl dolls.  I've been fortunate enough to be able to find American Girl dolls and their clothes and furnishings at garage sales for next to nothing.

seriously, I just found an American girl doll for a quarter!

Our goal as parents is to take the moments that we have and use them to teach our kids.  Our hope is that the kids will have a focus that is on the real meaning of Christmas.  This season we want our children to focus on the most precious gift of all.

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