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    Posted December 23, 2013 by
    New Jersey
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Confessions from imperfect parents

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    The 3 Gift Christmas

    If you are a parent celebrating Christmas this holiday season, you already know how preparing for the big day can get hectic and a little, well, insane. You start out with a plan and then somewhere along the line, total chaos in sues and before you know it, you've spent more money than you expected to and your kids are coming to you with last minute "list" additions. You'll be paying off that Christmas list for the next year, with interest.

    We love our greedy little munchkins, we do. And when they come to us wanting the new Xbox One or in my case, a $150 doll, you want to make them happy, you want to get that overpriced must have, everyone's-getting-it-thing on their list so you can see the look on their faces when they tear into the wrapping paper under the tree. Unfortunately, not all of us have the finances to make those requests happen. What then? Unfortunately, we can also get to a point where when we ask who's birthday it is we are celebrating on Christmas, we might hear the response of "Santa!" That's when we know it's time to put on the reindeer brakes and take a closer look at how we are doing things.

    If you celebrate a different holiday, happy __________ to you and best wishes, but if you celebrate Christmas, it's because you want to celebrate what Christmas means. To you, Christmas is only valuable with Christ. People who identify with Hanukkah reflect on what makes that holiday special to them, and they work hard to pass those traditions with their children. There's nothing wrong with respecting everyone and their own celebrations for this season, but when you have one, you should make sure you stand true to it. In reflecting on this for my own family, is how the 3 day Christmas was started for us.

    It's gaining popularity. I first heard of it from a friend who does the 3 Gift Christmas every year and then I realized more and more families are bringing it into their own homes for the holidays. It's a simple concept, 3 gifts in resemblance of the 3 gifts given to Christ. The "big gift" symbolizes gold, the "spiritual growth gift" symbolizes Frankenscence and the "body gift" symbolizes the Myrrh. Great idea! But I see more to it than that. I see the focus on less commercialism, less debt, and making sure that something under that tree is going to build their faith. Too often, when we think about gifts, we think about toys, games, legos, whatever. But do we make it a point to give our children something that is going to help them learn about the One who's birthday we are celebrating? Is there any gift we could give more valuable than teaching them the meaning of Christmas? This is how we also adapted the Give Away gift. This is when the kids pick out something at the store and give it to another kid in need. We also go through their existing toys and ask them to donate some unused ones to charity. We want them to learn about giving, not just receiving.

    Among these traditions, we'll visit a Living Nativity performance, read the story of Jesus' birth together on Christmas Eve and make a birthday cake for Jesus, because after all, we want our kids to know that at the end, Christmas is not just about toys, but giving to others and receiving the greatest gift of all , born in a manger, under a starry night, surrounded by sheep, shepherds, and singing angels.

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