Christmas Giving

simplest of gift giving philosophies

Start a Christmas Tradition - Want, Need, Wear, Read & Give

Stick to the basics regarding gift giving. What is Christmas REALLY about? This Gift Giving Philosophy really focuses on the meaning of the Christmas season:

  • something they WANT
  • something they NEED
  • something to WEAR
  • something to READ

This idea both focuses gift buying/making as well as limits the (often excessive) number of gifts kids receive when the holidays roll around. It's an opportunity to make the giving and receiving more meaningful, and help you stick to a budget.

I would add one more thing to this - and that is GIVE. Consider giving to a charity, the charity of your choice. There are literally thousands to choose from, but in the spirit of Christmas, consider giving to those in need. For our family, we choose KIVA, which allows us to bless a family somewhere in the world through microfinancing a project. If you would like to find a charity to donate to, use a site like Charity Navigator to help you evaluate and learn more about worthwhile organizations.

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Why do we even give gifts at Christmas?

In the Christian religion, the practice of giving gifts at Christmas is traced back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that were given to the Christ child by the three Magi. The magi were kings from the East, wise men who traveled a great distance following a star, to find the Christ child and to bring him gifts. The visit of the Magi to the Christ child was originally celebrated on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. Over time, the tradition of giving gifts came to be more associated with Christmas than with Epiphany. It is the time from Christmas to Epiphany in the Church calendar – from December 25th through January 6th – that is recognized as the “twelve days of Christmas” from the old Christmas carol.

Ultimately, a common Christmas culture developed in which gifts were given on Christmas. In the nineteenth century, the idea of gift giving took on new dimensions, as the works of O. Henry, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Nast all helped to shape our concepts of Santa Claus and other aspects of the holiday. Today, we all give gifts at Christmas for our own reasons. For some, it is a way to celebrate the Christian holy day. For others, it is a special time to let family and friends know that you care by giving gifts. At times, giving gifts at Christmas becomes almost mechanical, and a chore; when this happens, it is worth stepping aside for a few moments to consider why exactly you give gifts at Christmas.

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About me

I tweet (@Tracy_Jentzsch), blog and FB all year long, mainly about issues such as Digital Humanities and Technology in Museums. But at this time of year, especially, I like to help people focus on ways to give back. Please feel free to share this idea with your friends, and make it your very own. Pay it forward. And a very Merry Christmas to all.