According to Martha Stewart, January 5th is the end of Christmas and the appropriate day to take down your Christmas tree. We have always been a little more advanced than Martha so we put away all of our Christmas decorations yesterday. Baby Jesus, the three kings, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, an angel, two cows, and a sheep have been wrapped in plastic, put in a box, and are already waiting for Christmas 2024. I am already looking forward to it!
As our boys were growing up we started a tradition of giving them three gifts. We thought if all Jesus got on his birthday were three gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh, then three were good enough for them. Brenda became a master at “bundling” gifts so it looked like they only got three gifts. I think she was trying to make up for the value difference between new underwear and a pound of gold! I wonder what your tradition was?
This year we got a newsletter from a friend who shared their tradition, something very similar to what we did. They added one more gift beyond the three we gave, a gift that was expected to be given away. This is how they determined what to give their kids for Christmas.
I love it! Each year they would give them money that was expected to be given to a ministry or nonprofit that served others. What a great way to raise young men and women who early on learn the joy and responsibility of giving. While we all love to receive the perfect gift, it pales in comparison to when you have given to someone or some organization that is loving, serving, and empowering others in need. It also teaches them how to evaluate which nonprofits fit their family’s values and faith. I think we are going to start doing this with our grandchildren this next Christmas.
It is never too early to start planning for Christmas 2024! These four simple questions may help you as your start that shopping list. 1) What do they want? 2) What do they need? 3) What can they give? What can they read?
Happy New Year.