This time of year, my front porch collects boxes from Amazon, Toys R Us, American Girl and Target. I love to hear the doorbell ring and spy the UPS truck pulling away, leaving behind super saver deals scored with coupon codes plus free shipping, oh yeah. When I slice into that packing tape and uncover the Calico Critters, the Matchbox tower, Bitty Twins in the flesh—happy squeals erupt from my throat. Eeeek! The girls are going to LOVE this!
And I love my girls. Tremendously. So compared to my usual frugal self, I go a little crazy at Christmas time. Momma Claus buys a sleigh full of presents.
Is that so wrong?
I’ve grappled with this question. And I’ve decided—no.
Of course Christmas isn’t about material things. Jesus was born to redeem the world, not Kohl’s cash. Our family celebrates the season with praise music and nativity sets and a birthday cake for Jesus. I donate old toys to charity in order to make room for new ones and set my daughters on my lap for heart-to-heart discussions about selflessness and generosity. We put those words into action when we give to Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.
And then, in the early morning of December 25, I spoil my kids silly with stacks of shiny gifts. Why? Because they’re my children, the special people God entrusted to my care. They’re the ones I scold and discipline, nurture and instruct; whose tears I wipe dry, whose hands I squeeze, and whose hearts I protect and know better than my own. Once a year I delight in showering them with presents unearned, because gifts are an act of love, and love is in itself a gift to and from God.
He is no stranger to gift giving.
“For God so loved the word that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).
This Christmas, let’s shed the guilt associated with presents—no matter how many you can afford or choose to give—and focus on the purpose of giving in the first place. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Our birthday gift to Jesus is love. One of the ways we show love is by giving gifts. So I will not apologize for giving in abundance, nor will I feel ashamed when my budget is slim. Because the point of Christmas is not the quantity of gifts. What matters is the unconditional love wrapped inside them.
Which brings me back to all those boxes on my porch. Competition will be stiff this year for the favorite toy in the pile—will it be the doll desks, the Nerf guns, the big bin of dinosaurs? I’m excited to find out. Yet I know the greatest gift of all is one I cannot buy, and it’s not mine to give—it’s God’s.
He gives us the gift of Jesus.
If our children accept that gift, all of our sparkling packages are just icing on the birthday cake. Which, by the way, my family eats for breakfast Christmas morning. Like I said, spoiled silly. And I love it.
You Go Mama!Wonderful truth and an excellent way to help keep our hearts centered and off of the legalistic questions and guilt.
Merry Christmas (shopping) season, Nykiah! Blessings to you and your family.
Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home says
” Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Comes to mind as I read this post.
He loads us daily. Why not load the kids on a special day? Great viewpoint, thanks for sharing this.
I like your thoughts, too, Sharon! Truly it’s not about the gifts; it’s about the love we load on the kids through the act of giving. Enjoy your Christmas season!
Lisa Littlewood says
Hi Becky- great post! I know I’ve struggled with a lot of guilt in this area of my life as well. I appreciate your joy and thoughts and honesty around this topic!!!
So funny that I found you here today…I originally found your blog as I was reading through the bios in the back of the Chicken Soup for the Soul devotional (I also have a story in the book!) and then tonight I found you at Emily Freeman’s link up (I’ve been reading her new book!).
I love your site and your mommy voice…your posts are fun and encouraging!
Hi, Lisa! I’m so glad you popped over again! It’s fun to be in the Chicken Soup book together and to connect online, sort of face to face. 🙂 I just bought Emily Freeman’s new book, too! I’m planning to read through it with a friend this winter. Thank you for visiting and I look forward to staying connected!
I think it’s all up to each family to decide what is right for them. A small pile of gifts, a large pile- it’s an individual decision.
So true, Shell. The size of the pile does not matter. Let’s all just encourage one another to shower our kids with the love that the pile-of-whatever-size carries.
He is no stranger to gift giving.
I just love this! I used to be “who of you if you child asked for bread would give him a stone”…..me, me, me. Grace has gushed over the stones in my own heart and this year, I couldn’t be more excited for Christmas morning.
Beautiful post – thank you!
Christmas is such a beautiful season, at the heart of it. I’m excited to celebrate, too, regardless of the presents. Thanks for reading, Marcy!
You go, girl! I’ve always loved being able to give special gifts to my kids throughout the years too, Becky. My husband once suggested that we not give gifts at Christmas, so that we could really focus on the gift of Jesus. Well, that suggestion never made it past, “Honey, what do you think about …” 🙂 Now, I can tell that you’re teaching those sweet little darlings many great lessons on giving to others and remembering Christ is the reason for the season! That’s what it came down to for us–making sure that Christ was glorified in it all. Enjoy your Mrs. Claus adventure, sweet friend and thanks for being brave enough to take the-not-so-politically-correct route.
Beth, I’m not sure why, but I have renewed confidence in my stance on gift-giving knowing that you’re in support of it. 🙂 I hope you are finding some joy in the Christmas preparation weeks, too. It’s the greatest birthday party of the year! And we do love a good birthday party!
I totally agree with this. I don’t think people should feel bad about what they are giving or how much they are giving this time of year. I tend to go over board on those I love, because I love them. So well put.
Me, too, Julia. Gifts are an expression of love, no matter how large or small the gifts!
Richella Parham says
I love this post, Becky! I, too, love to shower my children with gifts at Christmastime (even though the gifts aren’t quite so much fun now that my boys are big!). I don’t want my kids to be spoiled–but I DO want them to think of their parents as people who love to give them good gifts, even as their Father in heaven loves to give them good gifts! 🙂
Amen, Richella! That’s exactly how I look at it. We think alike! All the glory goes to our Father in heaven who loves to give good gifts to his children.