12.28.2011

Three things

I agonized over the fact that I couldn't shower my lovely babies with a ton of gifts for Christmas this year. I felt discouraged, angry, sad and then resolute: we will not fall apart because we can't buy our kids a ton of gifts.

In the past, friends have passed the name of our family to our church, who have never failed to take care of us. We've also been sponsored by organizations, and it's always a blessing to see your children's faces light up when they see presents under a tree that has been....well, sort of empty for the entire month of December. And my family never fails to remember my children, even though I know it is a challenge for them to shop for six additional kids.

But I didn't put my family's name on any list this year. I figured there are lots of other people in our community that need this more than we do. We would have a very humble Christmas and I knew that my children would adapt because deep down, they are very simple creatures. I love love love that about them. What they adore most in the world: mama, daddy, grandma-mama, Papa, aunties, uncles, cousins, friends, brothers, sisters, laughter, food, dance parties--they would have in abundance.

Three things.

That is how many gifts they each got from Michael and I. And they weren't three extravagant things, either. Three very humble, very simple gifts. One thing they need (like socks, gloves or underwear), one thing cheesy thing that Michael and Maya picked out from the dollar store and the third gift would be something that they could pick out for themselves, like a set of headphones (Noah), a book (Diego), a necklace (Maya), a new Wii game (Solomon), a new Lego set (Cyan) and a Barbie refrigerator complete with tiny food for the girls' repurposed doll playhouse (Xixi).

Their constant question of Mom, when are you going to buy us Christmas presents so we can put them under the tree? was really starting to wear on me. I couldn't be angry with them, judging from the pitiful pile of gift bags under the tree. I kept praying. Not that God would send me a bunch of money so that I could buy the chil'rens everything they wanted. I have seen firsthand the craziness, the greed, the ungrateful attitudes my children can display after a gift opening frenzy has occurred.

No.

I prayed for a humble spirit. A thankful spirit. I meditated on a few of my favorite words in the Bible:

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

My treasures are my husband, my children and my family. Are you waiting to read that we woke up on Christmas morning to discover a huge box full of amazing gifts on the front porch, from some mysterious and generous gift giver? Nope. But God is still good and the chil'rens were still generously provided for. And I have a house full of contented children, pleased with the small things they received.

Content children= a very happy, peaceful mama.

Image source: A "love" ornament that I hand-painted for our Christmas tree.

9 comments:

  1. we only did three presents a piece for our kids as well this year. My kids are always thankful for what they have, but it does seem sometimes the more they get the more they want. I've been trying to stress over the last couple years that the season is more about giving than getting..

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  2. We have always done three gifts,(my kids are 11 and 14) it ties very nicely in with our faith. The Wisemen brought the baby Jesus three gifts and that's good enough for me ;)

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  3. Ooh I love the new layout :)

    Buy them presents so they can put them under the tree? No entiendo. Maybe I'm over-thinking.

    I'm grateful I don't have to have this complex with my kids yet. My 16 month old doesn't really get Christmas but she gets opening presents! She got a new baby doll and freaked out, she loves it. I agree with Amanda - the more they get the more they want. *sigh*

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  4. FF, yes they were concerned because under the tree looked so bare--they wanted gifts under it! :-)

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  5. I'm so happy to hear your family had a wonderful Christmas! I struggled A LOT. I can barely stomach anymore what the world has turned Jesus' birthday into. This year Crystal asked...no... demanded that nobody buy her presents and that if anybody was that set on buying gifts they could barely afford to send the money to a charity in her name. (Shout out to Pastor Matt for some awesome messages!) I think we need to start praying and fasting starting July so we can be prepared to dodge all the poop the enemy flings at us in December. LOL

    Love you much, it was soooo good seeing you again, I really miss you!

    Irma

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  6. Janet6:46 PM

    I think you are very brave and awesome to refocus the holiday on what is really important. I did the 3 gifts as well in a similar manner(1thing needed..1 thing wanted..1 thing homemade). I hate to see this holiday turned into ugly commercialism. It's hard for the kids...but its harder for us parents to agonize over wanting our kids to have nice things..especially when they are such great deserving children! Props to you and your!!!

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  7. Jesus "only" got 3 gifts too... ;)

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  8. I love how He loves us...down to the smallest detail of our hearts. Happy New Year friend.
    ~Kristin

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  9. We usually buy our kids one gift each--unless it's a big group gift like the Wii. Then they have stockings that we fill according to a Victorian tradition. Four things: Something to eat, something to read, something to play, something you need.

    For example, my oldest daughter got her favorite cheese, a new book, a DVD, and gloves.

    Keeps it simple! Simple is essential when you have seven kids--as you well know!

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Break me off something.

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