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1st Day of Christmas Giveaways with Karen Ehman

Our family's 3 gift tradtion. On the 1st Day of Christmas Giveaways at karenehman.com

Welcome to the 1st Day of Christmas Giveaways!!!

For the next 12 days, I will be featuring a special guest sharing a Christmas idea, recipe, or favorite memory with you. They will also offer a giveaway of the day and toss out a simple question about the topic of the post. To join in on the fun and be entered to win the various prizes, simply leave a comment on the post answering the question of the day. ALSO—one grand prize will be given to one person who comments on all 12 days. Are you ready? Here we go.

I am going to kick things off today a favorite idea what we have done for our children over the years, especially when they were small. But first, today’s giveaway AND the grand prize.

Today’s giveaway is this darling Christmas apron and wooden spoon from ALynn’s Aprons Etsy shop and a $25 Target gift card.

Day 1 Giveaway! 12 Days of Christmas at karenehman.com

The Grand Prize is a $50 gift certificate to Proverbs 31 Ministries store and a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com!!!

Now, for today’s post….

The 3 Gift Tradition

While my husband and I have made many mistakes and missteps in the rearing of our brood resulting in some “I wish we could go back and do that all over again” feelings, there is one decision we have never regretted. That was our decision as brand new parents to simplify the Christmas gift giving and NOT spoil and splurge and give into their every whim going into debt in the process.

When we became parents over 20 years ago we began the tradition of giving these items at Christmas:

  • One thing to open on Christmas Eve –usually pj’s, slippers, a soft throw blanket, a stuffed animal to sleep with—something they can use right then as they try to fall asleep with all the excitement.

  • In the morning, there is a stocking full of treasures and treats. (This is where I am tempted to overspend!)

  • And then, they open their three gifts from us.

Yep…. that is not a typo. I said three. That is all baby Jesus received- remember gold, frankincense and myrrh? When they were younger, the categories were: one thing to play with, one thing to read, and one item to wear.

Over the years, we morphed this tradition into a gold gift, a frankincense present, and a myrrh package. Here is the concept:


This, like gold,  is a highly desired item; precious; maybe even pricey. An electronic gadget, tickets to a professional sporting event, a new hunting rifle, a fancy coffee maker for our adult daughter.


Because the real frankincense was burned during prayer and arose heavenward, the gift in this category is something that will draw them closer to God. Perhaps a new Bible, a book series, a CD, or tickets to an event or concert.


This is a burial spice used to cover the whole body. So the myrrh gift does the same thing. It goes on the body. In past years this has been leather boots and a new coat for Kenz, a hunting jumpsuit and camo boots for Mitch, or Spence’s favorite Detroit Tigers player jersey and pair of tennis shoes he really wanted.

Since our kids knew the number of items was limited, they didn’t expect oodles of gifts, just three. And we also included them when we shopped for a less-fortunate family we adopted each year.  We also took them along when we delivered the gifts to the family. It was good for them to see that we used some of the money we would have spent on more gifts for them to purchase for a family who might not be able to afford any gifts.

The three gift tradition. Try it out this year!

Okay….today’s question. What is your practice when it comes to gift-giving? Any traditional gift you get your kids or friends each year? Any clever gift idea you’d like to share?

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  1. We’ve never had a traditions around presents. Some years there is a lot under the tree, sometimes very little. Up I love all the ideas.

  2. We keep things simple. They receive a few things that we think would excite them – science kids, art supplies, an admired book. We start with what they need – this year socks, shoes, a belt – and then round out their gifts with a few of the above things. We shoot for practical gifts that can keep giving throughout the year.

  3. My kids tend to outgrow their clothes right around Christmas time so every year they get a pair of pajamas, socks, and underwear. They also usually each get at least one more outfit as well.

    I do tend to overspend at Christmas (especially on my own children) since I do my shopping year-round. I love the idea of only 3 presents. The only thing that holds me back from doing it, is that I’d then have to have the Santa talk with my kids. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely focus on Christ and his birth at Christmas, but my kids still believe in the magic of Christmas (Santa, Elf on the Shelf moving around the house on his own, etc.)

  4. I LOVE your three gift idea!!!!

    Every year our girls get Christmas PJs. I love it-it was my husband’s idea. They are 16 & 18 years old. I bought them this year!

  5. My husband and I get each other one gift, then have a date day that counts as the gift of time and memories given to both of us. :)

  6. My girls always receive 3 gifts under the tree as well. While there isn’t necessarily any rhyme or reason to it, I like to give a similar gift to each girl as well as an ornament that connects with that year.

  7. In tears of how you correlate Jesus’ gifts to today. THANK YOU!! I’m printing and sharing with my husband. Fantastic idea to not overspend and keep the focus where it belongs. Yes!

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