A Biblical Guide to Buying Gift For Your Kids

by - November 22, 2019

Whether it's Christmas or birthdays, children love to receive gifts! As a parent, we typically find a lot of joy in buying and giving gifts to our children, much like how God loves to give us good things. But unlike God, we can cause more harm than good with gift-giving.

It can result in greedy, ungrateful or entitled children. It can also result in creating or feeding addictive behavior, especially with technology. And, possibly worst of all, it can create a very self-centered child.

We should be, as parents, extremely discerning when it comes to gifts, especially for Christmas. Since the commercial idea of gift-giving is not at all what the season is about, we want to be very careful not to model after the heart and attitude of the world when it comes to the presents we buy for our children.

So how can Christian parents navigate through the endless aisles and online shops that are packed with more kinds of toys, gadgets and nick-knacks that one can imagine? How can we, as parents, still enjoy the process of selecting, buying and giving gifts to our kids without fear or regret? 

We can use a simple approach, which is to ask questions to reveal the heart and intention behind any gift we intend to buy. These questions are pulled from Biblical truths, which is the tool given to us by God to analyze our heart and guide our actions. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying a Gift

Is It Wise?

Wisdom is from God, and the Bible rebukes foolish behaviour consistently. So when you buy a gift, is it a wise or foolish choice? Another way to phrase the question is: what is its purpose? A gift will suit different categories in terms of purpose. They are best looked at in the following categories: Educational/Developmental, Hobby/Artistry, Bonding & Interactive, Entertainment, Luxury.

Right off the bat, I would say that the first four categories are very safe overall. Toys, books and gadgets that help your child develop, learn and grow in intelligence is good! Encouraging them to grow in an area of interest or gain skills for life, this is good! Games, books or toys that allow them to bond with others and interact socially, is good!

Most books, puzzles, family friendly board games, arts and crafts, etc, fall under these categories.

As for the last two, this is where you will definitely need to approach with prayerful caution and wisdom. Entertainment, such as a game boy (are those still a thing??) or a luxury item, such as an Apple watch, should be given to your children if you feel they are spiritually mature and responsible enough. If you have a reason to believe that a certain gift could cause spiritual harm to your child, DON'T BUY IT! Do not be the reason your child stumbles in their spiritual walk.

"but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." - Matthew 18:6 (ESV)

Is It Affordable?

Be careful not to place your children or their happiness above God's word and wisdom. Be financially wise and good stewards. There is nothing godly about getting into debt or falling behind on bills for the sake of your children's gifts. This is very contrary to the heart and attitude a Christ follower who is carrying their cross. It not only hurts the testimony of Christ by elevating giving your kids gifts above God's Word, but it also hurts your children by spoiling them. So budget and have conversations with your children about money, value, and finances so they can have the right attitude towards money and gifts.

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”—Hebrews 13:5

Is it Godly?

Is the gift you're buying exalting God, or does it glorify darkness? A fun board game may seem like a good idea, but if it is about killing grotesque and obscene zombies, it is proper for a Christian family to own? A card game that encourages crude words and foul language or causes you to be entertained by the very things God hates, should never be in a godly home, much less a gift.

"Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" - Philippians 1:27

Is it of Eternal Value?

If you want to instill your child with a focus and high regard for God and their faith, what better way than to use something like a gift, which could totally feed a selfish and self-centered desire, and use it to point your child to Christ? There are many, many, many shops that focus on creating books, activities and toys that are Kingdom-minded. Many of them are family-owned small businesses, which are great to support. So ask if the gift you are buying will somehow contribute to long-term values, or even eternal values?

While learning the alphabet or colours may not seem of eternal value, they are important in order to learn how to read the Bible and understand traffic laws, so there is great value there. But silly video games, most comic books, and the latest fad don't. If you find you never buy gifts that have an eternal value, then you and your children might be focusing too much on the here and now.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them....The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” - 1 John 2:15-17

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.“ - Colossians 3:1-2

All of these questions ultimately culminate to this over-arching question: Does this gift show my child that I love them the way God does? Because ultimately, our greatest command (besides loving God) is to love others in a pure, selfless, caring way.

If you are answering these questions consistently with "no", then you shouldn't buy that gift! If the answer is a resounding "YES!", then you know you are making a wise, healthy, and godly choice.

What I love about these 4 questions is that you can apply them for any gift you buy anyone for other occasions too! Let me know if you've applied them while Christmas shopping or what process you use to determine gifts!

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