Monday, December 12, 2011

Three Gifts

"Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third."
~Marge Piercy 

Have you finished crossing off everyone on your Christmas list?  Do you feel like this month is flying by and you still have so much to complete?  Has the business of the season taken all of the fun out for you?  Then you need to start following the Three Gifts Rule.

Father John at St. John Vianni's gave a sermon to the students the other day.  He told them that "if three gifts were good enough for Baby Jesus, that should be good enough for us."  Hmm...  When is the last time you only got three gifts for Christmas.  I know if there were only three gifts under the tree that my children would be frantically searching the house for the rest of them.  Especially if they were at Mrs. Claus' (I mean Grandma's) house.

My kids get more toys between their birthdays and Christmas than they know what to do with.  That doesn't include hand-me-downs.  We could open up a thrift store and live on the profits for as much as has come through the door.  How would they really react if they only got three gifts each?  I'm sure they would be comparing to the others to make sure I spent the same amount on each of them and they didn't get cheated.  Perhaps pull out the list and check off to make sure they got what they asked for.  Start crawling up the chimney to see if Santa got stuck?

My family is by no means well off.  We have enough to survive plus a little.  The kids' classmates tend to have big houses in expensive subdivisions.  We probably buy their donated clothes at Goodwill.  But they have never really know what true need is.  We have always been blessed to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies with some left over for extras.  Add in grandparents that love to spoil and that makes for some satisfied children.

One of my old co-workers (and yes Terry, I meant old LOL) always asked me "do you need it or do you want it?"  His country drawl winds through my head when I debate on buying something I am probably wasting my money on.  I especially hear it more now when I am going through the stores at this time of year.  Yeah, that outfit is really cute and the girls would love it, but do they need it?  Is there something more necessary that I could be spending that money on?  College for my three kids, pay down a bill or perhaps even put it in savings?

So, three presents is more than enough.  We may put Toys"R"Us out of business or cause the Dow Jones to drop a few points but it won't be the end of the world.  There will be some pouting and a bit of huffing and puffing (but not from Santa because his load will be a little lighter this year).  They will survive.  They'll grow a little stronger because they have to "do without" all of the extra stuff they won't play with anyways.  They will learn how to appreciate and perhaps even cherish what they do get.  And at the end of the day I can put my feet up a little less stressed and a little more grateful.  Besides, three gifts were good enough for Jesus...

As a side note, I also propose that there be a price limit to what we ask Santa for.  I told my kids that we need to ask Santa for fewer and smaller items because he has so many more kids to buy for.  It's really difficult to explain to them why Johnny got a four-wheeler and they got a doll.  What do you think?

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