3 Gift Rule

Christmas Gift Giving

 

When our children were babies, we implemented the 3 gift rule that someone told us about. Just as Jesus received three gifts from the three wise men, you’ll remember from the Bible story, our children receive three gifts from us! This simple rule has simplified Christmas for us! Someone told me about it years ago, and how it gave Christmas deeper meaning to their little children and a chance to share the story of the birth of Jesus. There are still plenty of gifts around the tree, because you buy for others. Likewise, they receive plenty because of extended family Christmas gatherings. But the message that we share around the tree is the story of Jesus and the three gifts of the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

3 Gifts of the Wise Men

3 Gift Rule

What is the 3 Gift Rule?

So, what are these three gifts, and how do we implement that into our family Christmas tradition?

Gold: Something that they really want

Frankincense: Something that they need (like clothes)

Myrrh: Something to read or to help them grow (a book, devotional, or CD usually)

The message on Christmas morning is not one of extravagant material gifts, but of the most extravagant gift we could ever receive: eternal life because our Savior came and took the punishment we deserve. Our family is far from being holy or un-materialistic. These small steps, though, keep Christmas focused and keep our children from only caring about what they will receive under the tree Christmas morning! Our family time is meaningful and enjoyable. Christmas morning, along with Christmas Eve, is one of my most favorite days. We celebrate family and our Savior. I cannot remember who first told me about the 3 Gift Rule, but I am so thankful they did!

For more posts from Mom’s Priority about Christmas time giving:

Teach Your Kids to Give

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

 

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Filling Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is a Christmas tradition for our family.  In a simple gesture, the kids and I gather our gifts to go in the boxes typically starting on Fall Break.  We try to send out by early November, so the kids who receive them do so by Christmas time.  In these boxes, we include the following:

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Items to Include

  • Simple toys, like a jump rope or bouncy ball
  • Wooden games or puzzles from the dollar store
  • Basic hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or brush
  • Clothes, such as a T-shirt, underwear, socks, and possibly flip flops or another kind of shoe
  • School supplies, like notepads, pencils with sharpener, pen, or markers
  • Whatever our child enjoys at their age, such as matchbox cars or little dolls, gets included
  • A handwritten note
  • Books are always welcome

Prayer Suggestions

Most importantly, the kids and I pray for the child who will receive this gift.  We pray for the hearts of the children who receive the gifts, for the volunteers who serve by promoting, collecting, and distributing the boxes, and for this ministry to be effective in reaching people.

Shipping to Another Part of the World

We can pay $9 to have it shipped, and we can track where it goes online through Samaritan’s Purse.  These shoeboxes are an amazing start to the Christmas season because they turn our focus outward.  It’s an incredible learning opportunity for the kids.  Undoubtedly, the kids want to know more about the country and culture that this child is in.  It teaches our children empathy and an age-appropriate awareness of the world we live in, outside our community.  My prayer, like many other parents, is that it fosters in their hearts a love for other people who come from different backgrounds than us.  I pray that their love grows as they grow, and that they want to share the love of Jesus Christ with others.

Operation Christmas Child Legacy

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes bless others, but I think we are the ones who are truly blessed.  We coordinate these with our church’s mission opportunities, but you can give a shoebox regardless of church affiliation.  Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has distributed over 147 million boxes!  Learn more at the official website here.  

For more ideas of ways to teach your children about giving, see Christmas Giving with Kids.

 

Teach Your Kids to Give

Christmas Giving with Kids

Tis the Season…for giving, and sharing the Love of Christmas with others. Your kids are never too young to start- it’s up to you to teach your kids to give and look out for others. Even though we do some of these things,  I want our family to be more intentional at Christmas-time, and throughout the year.  Looking for needs, meeting them, and showing appreciation: these are habits I want to have and instill in our kids.  Here are 33 Ways Kids can Give this Christmas (without much money spent!):

Teach Your Kids to Give This Christmas

Teach Your Kids to Give

Christmas Giving for Kids

1. Give a warm blanket to the homeless
2. Leave a thank you note and small gift card for the mail carrier
3. Thank your bus driver with a note, gift card, and big hug!
4. Sing and play Christmas carols at the local assisted living center
5. Pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas child


Read More

How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude at Home

The Cure for Entitlement:  Gratitude

gratitude

My son has been excitedly asking about our gratitude jar for the past month.   Filling the jar with things we are thankful for is a tradition we do every November.  Every day in November (ideally… we often have to catch up!), we write down things we are thankful for on slips of paper and add them to the jar.  On Thanksgiving Day, we read all of our notes aloud.  It is a humbling and gratifying experience to say the least.  To hear aloud my family members say things that maybe I never think to be thankful for, this fills my heart!  This is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Get Our Hearts Right

It surprises me that he asks and even remembers! Our gratitude jar simply sits on our kitchen table for one month out of the year.  It precedes Christmas, which can become an extremely materialistic time of year if we’re not careful.  I love that it makes an impact on him, and I hope we keep this tradition for many years to come.  More than anything, in our entitled world, I want our kids to know the source of everything.  I want them to know that it comes from God, and not from any work they can do themselves.  Sure, hard work is often rewarded, but this gratitude is what separates the entitled from the humble and thankful.

Simple Jar or Bucket

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your container has to be Pinterest-worthy to use!  A gratitude jar (or gratitude bucket!) can be as crafty as you want, or have time, to make it!  It’s the practice, the habit, of daily writing down things we’re thankful for that we’re after.  If you have time to make it super-cute, then by all means, do!  This year, my usual glass apothecary jar was being used for something else.  So, we are using a galvanized bucket with a ribbon tied at the top!  Times are busy right now, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to miss this opportunity!  Who knows how many more years our kids will want to do this?!  I do hope it sticks with them.  But regardless, it will be a fulfilling memory to store away for future thanksgivings.

Solutions to Raising Grateful Kids

Beyond this simple idea of a gratitude jar, here are other ways to raise grateful kids in this entitled world:

  1. Express thankfulness in prayers and blessings.  Thankfulness is a key element of prayer, and in blessings at meals, we bless the food and thank God for providing it.  Creating this habit reminds us daily to focus on God, and not on ourselves.
  2. Give gifts and serve in the community When you give generously, you think of the receiver and it forces you to look beyond yourself.  Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our situation, that we fail to look outward.  Giving good gifts to teachers and others in the community helps us to voice our appreciation of their work.
  3. Get into nature and experience the awe and beauty around us, given to us by God.  How can you look at a sunrise and not be thankful?!
  4. Live intentionally. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, focus on what your purpose is and do that well!
  5. Keep Christmas about the cross, and not just wanting more “stuff.”  We can challenge ourselves to give and not just want.  The 3 Gift rule helps our family keep away from all of the “I wants.”

Expressing Gratitude Creates Long Term Impact

the cure for entitlement is gratitudeUltimately as parents, when we “teach” our children, we’re really teaching ourselves, right?  This reminder every November is good medicine for me AND it’s great for our kids.  We’re raising up the next generation, and who wants a bunch of spoiled adults running around!  Long term, I believe practicing gratitude creates healthier families.  Think of how much better you sleep when you’re not overspent and overworked?  When you’re able to focus on living intentionally, grateful for each day.  There are even studies pointing to gratitude reducing anxiety and depression in adults.  The results of one study are preliminary, but it suggests practicing gratitude actually rewires the brain!  Knowing that the future ahead for our children is not going to be any easier, I want to give my kids all the tools to have long, productive and meaningful lives.  Gratitude is a simple answer.

 

 

 

 

For more posts related to family and living intentionally around the holidays, join our newsletter and click to read these posts:

Christmas Giving with Kids

Three Gift Rule

Living Intentionally as a Mom

Meals around the Table

family meals moms priority

Family Meals

As we get back to school and life gets busy, it is easy to let meals around the table slip in importance. Study after study shows, however, that on multiple factors, having family meals together is the single most important thing we can do for our kids’ health.

Benefits of Meals around the Table

  1. Physical Health– According to the American Association of Pediatrics, families who eat 3 or more family meals together per week, reduce their odds for being overweight by 12% and eating unhealthy foods by 20%.
  2. Academia– Family meals and the dinner conversations that accompany them increase children’s vocabulary and ability to produce and understand stories.
  3. Psychological– Family meals give children a place to be heard and understood.
  4. By the teenage years, teens who eat dinner together report lower teen pregnancy rates, depression, and eating disorders.

On the side of mom, however, it is difficult to get healthy meals on the table every night with overwhelmed schedules when it is much easier to pick up fast food!  One of the priorities of Mom’s Priority is healthy families, so here are some family meal ideas to help you when you get overwhelmed:

Read on…

Something to Work on… Being an Active Mom

Active Mom

Mom’s Priority ~ Active Mom

“The less physically active a mother is, the more likely her child will be sedentary early in life”

WOW!! This study from the American Academy of Pediatrics keeps coming back to haunt me, as I am not as active as I would like to be!

Mom’s Priority

“Mom’s Priority” means many things to many moms, and to me, it includes modeling good habits that they can one day call their own. Being an active mom, athletically, is something that I struggle with, but hope to improve upon. With limited hours in the day, exercising often gets cut, and even more so, exercising WITH my kids is a challenge. But, there are so many ways to incorporate physical activity into our daily routine.  Read on…

Healthy Kids Snacks

healthy kids snacksAs we start a new school year, it’s like we press the reset button on our habits.  Eating healthy, and particularly eating healthy snacks, is something we try to do and teach our kids!  Unfortunately and fortunately, kids’ habits are impressed upon them by their friends and peers.  I’ve seen it both good and bad for ours!  Our kids are picky eaters, so seeing their friends try new foods helps our cause some days!  On other days, our kids only seem to want junk food.  It’s a battle we constantly have to fight, as we raise up our children to become healthy and make good choices!  When the kids walk in the door at home after a long school day, we want to have healthy options for them!

8 Healthy Snacks Kids Love

  1. Smoothies – Our kids love the texture of smoothies!  Add anything to strawberries and bananas!  This is by far our favorite recipe

For more recipes and kid-friendly snack ideas…

We’ve listed some great healthy kids snacks HERE .  These are just a few; we would love to hear your ideas too!


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Every Kid in a Park

Have you heard about “Every Kid in a Park?”  This is a government program that provides each child in their fourth grade year of school AND their families to have free parking admission into U.S. Parks and Historic Sites.  The government website says that everyone is within 2 hours of a park to visit, so start planning a trip today!

Every Kid in a Park Details

Your rising fourth grader can get his pass beginning September 1, 2016.  Official rules can be found on the government website here.  According to the website, fourth graders are chosen because the public school curriculum aligns with U.S. history and culture.  This seems like such a great opportunity, and the age is perfect to take kids to explore these places.

Every Kid in a Park ~ Free Admission for Fourth Graders

Every Kid in Park

 

 

For More Information

To obtain your child’s pass or for more information, check out the official site.  Mom’s Priority is committed to sharing the best deals and tips as we learn.  When you go, send us an email to momspriority@gmail.com with your tips so we can share them with the Mom’s Priority community!

Perfect Baby Shower Gifts

Top 5 Adorable Baby Shower Gifts

Summer seems to be baby shower season! So many opportunities to shower those we love with gifts for their baby!  Here are some cute brands to watch out for when you shop for baby shower gifts.

Adorable Baby Shower Gifts

Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Welcoming a baby into the world is one of the most special moments of life! The excitement and anticipation a mom-to-be feels before the baby is born is just beyond words. Everyone around her can sense that excitement, and the opportunity to shower her with gifts for the baby is special!  Baby Showers are incredible opportunities to love on the mom-to-be.  We’ve shared some of our favorite ideas HERE.  For the baby gifts, however, we have put together a fantastic list of perfectly adorable gifts.

Kickee pants

Kickee pants

    • Kickee pants – These footies are incredibly soft and fleece-lined on the inside, with rubber grippers on the feet to prevent slipping.  Almost organic, Kickee pants are made mostly of viscose from bamboo, with a little spandex for comfortable movement.  Available in a variety of colors and patterns, these footies are perfect for naps and play.  

 

 

  • RuffleButts

    RuffleButts

     RuffleButts – Adorable swim suits, diaper covers, pants, and outfits that are made of comfortable, quality materials.  The bathing suits, like this one, are UPF 50+, and the material stretches .

 

 

 

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

 

    •  Baltic Amber Teething Necklace – Anti-inflammatory, naturally soothing for teething and fussiness, these necklaces would make a great shower gift.  Babies love necklaces to help their gums.  This should be used only under supervision.
    • Baby Bandana Drool Bibs– These bibs are made of organic cotton so there are no harsh chemicals on the baby’s skin, particularly helpful for babies with eczema.  They also have adjustable snaps, so the baby cannot pull them off themselves.  The fabrics available for these bibs are adorable also!

  • Aden and Anais Swaddle

    Aden and Anais Swaddle

    Aden and Anais Silky Soft Swaddle 3 count – These 100% cotton muslin swaddle blankets have so many uses!  Never leave home without them!  They are so soft next to your baby’s skin, and can be used as a swaddle blanket, stroller cover, burp cloth, nursing cover, and much more.

 

 


Advertising Disclosure: Some tips include links where Mom’s Priority receives a small incentive per click or per purchase (at no cost to you). For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Disclosure.

Summer Ideas for Kids

Summer Ideas for kids

How to Keep Boredom Away

It’s the middle of the summer now, and it seems no matter how busy we are, inevitably I will occasionally hear, “I’m bored!” In case you have heard these words before too, here’s one idea that worked for me.

Summer Ideas for Young Kids

When the kids were Preschool age, the best sanity-keeping idea I had was to have the kids decorate large popsicle sticks and then I numbered them and listed an activity on them that matched up with some project/activity/craft around the house that was pre-packaged and ready to do.  This gave me something to direct them to if they ever said, “I’m bored” or “what can I do”?  Having the whole project kit ready to go made it easier as well, eliminating the frustration of trying to find the items for a certain project!

Summer Ideas for Older Kids

As the kids have grown, no one wanted to paint popsicle sticks anymore, so I kept a list.  If they got bored, I’d say, Check the list for ideas!  Now, our kids are even older and when they find a minute without anything to do, they savor it!  Truthfully, at this age, we stay so busy that boredom doesn’t happen often!  But, it is nice to have options and ideas, because there are so many things we want to do in summer!  Sometimes kids just need a little direction.

For more ideas, check out Mom’s Priority’s pinterest page.