How We’re Doing a 3 Gift Christmas

Welcome to the eighth day of Blogmas with Sara Laughed, where I’m blogging every day ’til Christmas Day. Head over to my Blogmas calendar to see the full collection, or click on the gift tag below!

As I’ve mentioned before, this year is the first time that Ken and I are celebrating Christmas together in our own home. Back in the fall, before the winter holidays and observances starting hitting is quick (Thanksgiving and Sinterklaas and Advent, oh my!), Ken and I sat down (okay, I made him sit down with me) to talk about how we wanted to celebrate this year.

One of the things we both thought was important was focusing on experiences, rather than presents. In the past, I’d seen the cute guideline for children’s Christmas gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. But Ken and I don’t have kids, and I wanted to put some thought into exactly what we wanted our guideline to be — especially since we’d prioritized the things we really “needed” earlier in the year, and there’s no way Ken could choose something I’d actually want to wear.

After some reflection (and reading), I came up with this guideline for our own three-gift Christmas: something for the heart, something for the body, and something for the spirit, inspired by the three gifts of the magi. Bear in mind that most of what we know about the actual gifts of the magi comes from tradition and inference, not the original biblical text. But I still really liked the idea of tying in the ‘first Christmas gifts,’ if you will, to the way we’re celebrating today.

Here’s the thought behind our tradition; you can read about it below or take a look at the graphic I made. If you’re inspired by the idea, please share this on Pinterest! I’d love to familiarize others with it, too.

How We're Doing a 3 Gift Christmas

The First Gift: Something for the Heart

One of the three gifts that was given to Jesus was gold, traditionally thought to have been given by Caspar. Gold symbolized Jesus’ kingship on earth. On another level, of course, it’s a material good — something beautiful and desirable that is today often used for jewelry and adornment.

To symbolize this, Ken and I are giving each other one gift for the heart: something the other one wants. Examples of this could be games, toys, or jewelry.

The Second Gift: Something for the Body

The second of the three gifts given by the magi was myrrh. Myrrh was used for embalming, so some people think that it was meant to symbolize Jesus later overcoming death. But myrrh also had medicinal uses, so in addition to being used to embalm the body, it was also used to heal or alleviate certain ailments.

For this gift, Ken and I are giving each other one gift for the body: something like clothing, fitness equipment, or self-care products.

The Third Gift: Something for the Spirit

The third of the gifts of the three wise men was frankincense, which was used in temple rituals as part of worship.

For this reason, we’re using this gift to symbolize mental and spiritual growth. An example of gifts for this category could be books, courses, or spiritual resources like Bible studies.

What do you think of a three gift Christmas? Could you do it? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to let me know about the gift-giving traditions in your family!

Author: Sara Laughed

I'm Sara, a blogger, aspiring programmer, and American abroad. I live in the Netherlands my boyfriend and our 11 plants, and in this space blog about my life, discoveries, and mistakes. Follow along here or on social media!

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  • I’m reading this way late, but I love this idea! My finance’s and I have spent the last two Christmases apart and so we’ve just gotten each other a big gift each year. This Christmas will be our first living together and so I’ll be sure to remember this. I love it and that it’s based on the first Christmas gifts!