When I was growing up, I absolutely loved Christmas! On Christmas Eve, we would read the Bible about the birth of Jesus, and then we would be able to open up one special present – our Christmas pajamas.
This was the only night that we were excited to go to bed early because we knew that by morning, our house would be transformed!
We would wake up early and go into our living room to find mountains of presents below our beautifully decorated tree.
We spent most of the morning opening up each gift one at a time and most of the afternoon playing with our new toys and trying on our new clothes.
I was blessed to grow up in a home with parents that were able to provide us with everything we could ever want – and more!
But when I had my own children, I began to think about which traditions I wanted to start, stop, and continue.
One tradition we decided to continue was the Christmas Eve pajamas. This tradition has been in my family for generations, and I was excited to pass that tradition along to my children.
However, as a new mom and mini-minimalist, I knew that I wanted to stop the tradition of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on more stuff (most of which we did not need).
Now that I knew what I wanted to stop, I needed to figure out what tradition I was going to start with my children.
I began to ask all the moms that I knew about their family traditions to see if there were any that I wanted to adopt with my own little family. A dear friend of mine shared with me this beautiful tradition, and I knew that it was perfect for us – the three-gift Christmas.
The First Christmas Present
According to John 3:16, the very first Christmas present was Jesus Himself. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus is the greatest gift that mankind has ever and will ever receive.
And when Jesus was born, wise man traveled from the far east to present him with three important gifts.
And going into the house, [the wise men] saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.Matthew 2:11 ESV
If three gifts were good enough for the King of Kings, then three gifts are certainly good enough for my kids.
Gold is something that is very valuable and highly desirable. A gold gift represents something that my children really want or desire. I always make sure to buy some beautiful gold wrapping paper to wrap their “gold gift.”
Frankincense is sap that was made from the Boswellia sacra tree in Bible times. It was used as a powerful fragrant incense to worship God in the temple. Likewise, our frankincense gift is something that will inspire my children in their worship of God and help their relationship with Him. I like to wrap the frankincense gift in green and add a drop or two of frankincense essential oil to the gift so that my children are able to smell the same thing that Jesus would have smelled.
Some of the Frankincense gifts that have been a real hit in the past with my kids are shown below. I absolutely love our bilingual nativity set! The little pieces are made of durable plastic so that they will not break. My kids loved acting out the story of the birth of Jesus with all the different characters and animals.
Growing up, I really enjoyed watching Veggie Tales, and now I get to enjoy watching Veggie Tales with my children! We love cuddling up on the couch in our comfy Christmas Eve pajamas and watching some Veggie Tales Christmas movies with some hot chocolate and marshmallows.
We also really love our Melissa and Doug reusable sticker book of Bible stories. Stickers are such a fun activity to do with children, and I love that my kids can play with these stickers, and I do not need to worry if they will end up on a wall or piece of furniture.
Of course, I also had to buy this bilingual toddler Bible one year. Whether you are bilingual or not, we absolutely adore the beautiful pictures and stories in this toddler Bible. And who knows? Maybe you and your kids can pick up on some Spanish too!
This year, I’m planning to get my 2-year-old son this Bible stories water-reveal pad. If you have not bought your kids a water-reveal pad yet, you absolutely must! It’s like painting minus the mess! Even my 6-year-old enjoys “painting” over each blank page and watching the beautiful colors appear like magic. I love that we can easily bring this book in the car too so that they can have something fun to do while we are driving around.
Share your suggestions for an awesome frankincense gift in the comments below!
Myrrh is from the sap of the Commiphora tree. It had medicinal, healing properties, but it was also one of the oils used to cover a body in preparation for burial. So myrrh was not only a gift for Jesus when He was born, but it was also a gift for Him when He died.
Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.John 19:39
So a myrrh gift is something that can be used to cover the body. It could be a new (or new-to-you) outfit, a special soap, a fuzzy blanket, or even a favorite perfume!
I wrap all the myrrh gifts in red and include a few drops of myrrh essential oils on each package.
Smell is one of our greatest triggers for our memory, and I love to imagine that we are able to smell the same oils that Jesus would have had.
On Christmas morning, you can also put a few drops of both frankincense and myrrh in your favorite diffuser so that the aroma will fill the air!
While my children may not get as much stuff as I did growing up, I like to think that I am giving them something even greater than more “stuff” – a focus on the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ.
What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?