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As the Christmas season approaches, we begin to hear people talk about Christmas shopping and decorating and parties. One thing many people cannot agree on is to have a Big Christmas with lots of gifts or have a smaller more minimalist Christmas. For our family, we choose to have a more minimalist Christmas.

The Minimalist Christmas ...or why we only get our kids three gifts for Christmas.

We get our kids three gifts (plus a stocking). Why three gifts and what do we focus on?

We do three gifts because Jesus was brought three gifts from the wise men. Obviously, doing three gifts is not a rule from the Bible, but it works well for our family. We usually do a want, a need, and a book or something for art orcreativity. We also have stockings. Stockings are fair game without going overboard.

There are many benefits to limiting gifts.

*Allows for minimalism. There are less toys, less mess, less trash, less stuff to find space for in your house, not to mention usually less money spent. And because you are buying three gifts the money you budget will go towards three quality gifts that will last instead of ten gifts of lesser quality.

*Keeps Jesus at the center of the holiday. This helps our family to focus on the reason for celebrating instead of getting wrapped up in the busyness and greed that sometimes accompanies the season.

*Leaves more time for family. Instead of being focused on buying,  wrapping, unwrapping, and playing with gifts, there is more time to be with family.

*Kids appreciate what you get them instead of being overwhelmed by an abundance of stuff. This is not a guarantee, obviously, but many kids can get overwhelmed with getting too many gifts. They may not be able to appreciate it because there is too much to use.

One thing we like to do for our family, especially because we have a lot of toys already, is to focus on experience gifts like memberships to zoo or a museum. We ask for these and also budget for these gifts for Christmas. It is a gift that keeps on giving through the whole year. It is also an investment into that child's life especially if it is a gift like a museum pass or lessons for an instrument.

There are benefits to having a big Christmas or a smaller scale one, for our family we feel a smaller scale. Ultimately, it is up to your family to decide what is right for you. It doesn't matter if you choose big or little, what matters is what your focus is on.

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