you may remember (from three CHRISTmas’s ago) we have a CHRISTmas tradition we call the power of 3. in short, we only give each family member 3 gifts – in honor of the 3 gifts Jesus was given (gold, frankincense & myrrh). in all honesty, since sterling and liberty have joined our family sticking to only 3 gifts has been quite difficult as i lovingly want to lavish gifts on them. however, this tradition is not so much about my wants, or even my desires (or for those of you who know us really well – a way to save money!), as it is about keeping CHRIST the focus of our CHRISTmas celebrations – primarily by focusing on the ultimate gift and the greatest gift giver… and not on ‘stuff.’
this tradition has other less obvious benefits as well. for one, it disciplines me/us to be mindful of the recipients needs/wants as well as helps me to shop strategically for each person. it’s a shopping discipline i desperately required.
the basic concept is to follow the simple rules of g-f-m. gold now stands for garment. frankincense now stands for fun. and myrrh now stands for mental. personally, i like to make one of those gifts a book.
buying for liberty was truly challenging as there is only so much a newborn wants. and besides milk, cuddles and a safe place to sleep, nothing they really need. so i tried to think ahead and ended up getting her some things i’m sure she’ll enjoy if not sometime this year, then in the coming years!
garmet = teddy bear bunting, size 6 – 12 months. hopefully this will get us through the first part of next year’s winter!
fun = eric carle butterfly musical toy. though it’s not a toy she or sterling can activate themselves (because of the pull string) it works as e a fun way to wake up. besides, it’s cute and i love that it fits the theme of “blue butterfly” which is the local translation of liberty’s name.
mental = this should have been E for EMOTIONAL. either way, it’s a sweet book that reminds me to slow down and enjoy her TODAY and that she’ll grow up way too quickly… and hopefully as she gets older it’ll remind her just how much i love her.
sterling was a little easier to shop for this year, though not completely stress free. for the first time ever we cheated and substituted a letter. i guess it’s okay as long as we don’t make a habit of it, right?
garment was replace with gou – the local word for dog. seriously we couldn’t resist. after several trips to ikea and subsequent test runs that always produced a happy toddler jarod suggested we get sterling this as-big-as-sterling doggy. so, after many, many times of borrowing the doggy (during our visits) and watching him play excitedly with one at a friend’s house we took him on CHRISTmas day to buy it. a bonus was that it was on sale! yappy! i mean, yippy!
on a side note the cutest part of getting the doggy sterling now refers to as “clifford” was when we were at the checkout. according to our custom we always deposit the dog on some comfy piece of furniture before reaching the checkout line so holding to this pretense sterling kept trying to give the dog to us and saying, “doggy go to bed.” bless his heart, he just couldn’t comprehend that doggy could leave with us!
fun = thanks to jarod, sterling is well stocked in the train/track department! the nifty turn table came courtesy of nai nai and ye ye. and to think our ‘stash’ will last us a couple of more celebrations is positively crazy!
mental = yep, a book. i thought this book would be fun for sterling especially since he loves this book and because his name in the local language is translated “dragon.” unfortunately i had never seen this book in person and so that part about “& other creatures that never were” turned out to be disappointing and offensive. i ended up taping ½ the pages together. not only were some of the pictures way too scary, it categorized leviathan as a myth… and worse yet, it quoted the bible – alluding to the idea that the bible itself is a myth. jarod wanted me to throw the book away, but i figured some of the artwork was at least interesting… so after self-editing it i put it away. maybe one day we can enjoy some of the unicorn/mermaid/dragon illustrations together. that is, if jarod doesn’t find it and toss it before then!
historically i’m a huge eric carle fan… so i’m saddened by the fact that i can no longer assume his work is something “safe” or “appropriate.”
as you know, buying for adults is often much harder than buying for little ones. so many of us have everything we could ever need and want… and then some. for us, it seems that most gifts these days are some form of electronic – after all, there’s always something newer, better or with bigger memory fresh on the market. and the best part: we were even able to categorize this year’s mostly electronic gifts under the g-f-m guidelines. here they are:
for jennifer: garment = cell phone; fun = year subscription for a vpn (which allows me to maintain this blog); mental = itouch (this was my very big surprise which not only allows me to carry pictures of our adorable sprouts everywhere i go but also functions as a dictionary. niiiiiiice.)
for jarod: garment = leather belt which i customized with “belt of truth” written on the inside; fun = cell phone (they’re matching, his white, mine aqua. ahhh.); mental = the book (yep, another one!) “think” by john piper