Why We're Sticking to the "3 Gift Rule" this Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas…and all through the house…not a creature was stirring, not even a…wait…

Yup, Still Awake.

Ahhhh yes, I remember it well. Last Christmas Eve, there we were: my husband and I putting together the last of the gifts, one in particular being a very stubborn art easel. He even fell asleep on the floor at one point when I walked away to use the bathroom. Bleary-eyed, I looked at my cell phone to see what time it was and was shocked at just how late it had become. Christmas morning was already just a few hours away.

We tiredly finished assembling the easel, set up the rest of the gifts, and shuffled upstairs, collapsing on the bed. In what felt like the blink of an eye, our kiddos were up with the morning sun and excited to begin their long awaited Christmas morning while my husband and I were essentially sleepwalking.

Already 3-4 coffees deep by 10am, it was almost lunch time before we were almost done opening up all of the gifts, some of which I had no recollection of buying…or wrapping. The kids were surrounded by mounds of patterned paper and were no longer even looking at what they were seeing, merely feverishly ripping the gifts open and throwing them behind on the floor.

And then the grandparents came.

By the end of the day, the amount of “stuff” that had accumulated in our house was unreal, borderline absurd. All of those last minute gifts that were “only” 5.99 - 9.99 that I grabbed literally on my way to the checkout line now seemed like a total waste. And what was the kids’ favorite present? Not the books, certainly not the clothes, not the doo-dads, not the ridiculously-hard-to-assemble art easel: it was the Bounce House. That’s it.

SO this year we are trying something different: The 3 Gift Rule. This references the 3 gifts that the Wise Men brought the baby Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We have decided to simplify the holidays with less wrapping and more time together while also connecting our faith to the gifts for the kids, and hopefully giving it a deeper meaning for them in the years to come.

This philosophy is already working. Knowing I only have 3 gifts to give each child has forced me to spend a lot more time thinking about the quality vs. quantity. We decided stockings can be useful things (outside of the 3 Gift Rule) such as socks and undies, and that “Santa” can also give them 3 gifts from the North Pole.

Below are the 3 gifts from Santa that we’ve already gotten:

By the way, I am in no way criticizing anyone who wants to go balls-to-the-wall for the holidays. I think everyone should do what is best for their family, and this is an approach that we are going to give a go!

I will add the kids gifts later, IF we can get someone to watch the kids so we can go out shopping…Mom? : )