A Full Stocking - Our Gift-Giving Tradition

by - December 18, 2018

Hello everyone!

Really excited about today's blog post, because it's about something I feel I've been trying to figure out for a while.

Christmas is about Christ, yet we as a society have created a whole slew of traditions that go along with the season, the main one being GIFTS. Since Jesus was the perfect gift and sacrifice, and Christianity is marked by servitude and giving, this all makes sense!

BUT - how do we raise children to not become greedy during Christmastime? How do we limit ourselves, as parents, from over indulging and spoiling our babies?

These were the questions I wrestled with, until I finally came up with an idea I pieced together from multiple inspirations.

You know the concept of "stocking stuffers" and how they are supposed to be small extra gifts? Well, I decided to flip the perspective around, and made stocking stuffers as the MAIN focus. I created a list of 5 items we will have in our stockings every year that are symbolic and will be woven into our family traditions.

Keep scrolling to see how these Stockings will be put together!

What Goes in the Stocking

First we will start with what I've outlined as "the must-haves" that will be the traditional items we plan to have every year:

- A candy cane (to be eaten right away or with Christmas morning hot chocolate!)
- An orange (typical, I know, but we love oranges!)
- A chocolate/sweet treat (because...I really love getting chocolate for Christmas!)
- A verse bookmark (would do something a little different for younger babies that can't read yet)

Next is a list of gifts from which there must at least ONE each year:
- A practical gift (hair accessories, bath things, maybe art supplies)
- Something cozy (socks, mitts, a hat, slippers, etc)
- A book,which may or may not fit in the stocking, and can be put under the tree instead.
- A desire gift (something the child desires or the parents desires to give to a young child) This is the one thing that will likely not fit in the actual stocking, so it can go under the tree.

Why This Works

For one, it really helps simplify Christmas planning because most of these gifts are going to repeat every year. Simplicity is one of the main things we strive for as we fight against the consumerist tide of today. It is one way to make sure Christmas continues to focus on Christ.

Another reason my husband and I are loving this idea, is it help limit how far we can go in terms of amount of gifts and spending. Nearly all of these items are actually all very affordable, which means that from year to year and season to season, we can make it fit our budget. The only place we can really go crazy is the Desire gift, but we will always set out a budget each year to determine how much will go towards this gift. As we grow in finances and kids, it will fluctuate accordingly.

Any family can take this idea and simply change the elements around to suit their family tastes and situation. Maybe you want Christmas cookies instead of a chocolate, or you think a book should be on the must-list every year. Your list might even change a bit or simplify as you family grows and gets older, but the idea of the tradition is still there.

How to Bring it To Jesus

So how do we get the focus back on Jesus?

Well, the four main components of the stocking gifts can represent something related to God and the Christmas Story.

The Candy Cane: This represents the Shepard's staff, and you can remind your family every year how Jesus is the Good Shepard and how we are his sheep. There are many beautiful passages that describe this relationship, and it would be good to have your bible out to read one of them as you open up your stockings or in our case, put our candy canes in our hot chocolate!

The Orange: To us, this represents God's Goodness. Because oranges are good not only in taste but good for your health. While people eat their oranges, you can read or recite a verse about God's goodness and maybe even reflect on how He has shown his goodness to the family that year.

The Chocolate/ Sweet: There's a scene from "Charlie in the Chocolate Factory" (Johnny Depp version) where Willy Wonka has gone through introductions and comes to Charlie, who is beaming with joy, and he says to him: "You, you're just lucky to be here aren't you?". The chocolate represents the sweet salvation and inheritance we receive through Christ, and the joy we will feel when we reach heaven through the golden gates.

The Verse Bookmark: This directly points to God's Word, and you can choose a special verse for which you pray your child will focus on and memorize that year. Each child can have the same verse or different personalized ones. And every year they can not only recite the verse, but maybe share how they learned to apply it to their lives.

As parents it is our job to teach our children about God, the gospel and the bible, and Christmas time provides ample opportunities to do so! This is just one more way we want to take advantage of that.
I'm really looking forward to this new family tradition!

What are some traditions your family has? Do you do something similar? Is yours cultural or do you have something passed down for several generations? I'd love to know! Share below!

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