Christmas Gift for Yourself
It’s the question my kids look forward to all year long: “What do you want for Christmas?”
This year when I asked that question, I did it a little differently.
During family home evening, I gave each family member a pencil and a sheet of paper. I set my timer for one minute and then asked them to write down as many answers to the question “What do you want for Christmas?” in the allotted 60 seconds.
My kids listed the typical answers—toys, clothes, shoes, books, and so on. My seven-year-old daughter even complained that one minute wasn’t long enough to write everything down.
Then I reset the timer and asked this question, “What do you want to give for Christmas?”
My sweet kids surprised me with this one and actually listed more things that they wanted to give rather than receive. But again, their responses were based on items—things they would buy from a store.
The best response, the one I had to write down, came from my four-year-old son, who said for Christmas he wants to give “good stuff that people would like. Or stuff that could make you have a lot of powers. Real powers.”
At first glance this answer from my boy who is big into superheroes might sound silly. But it got our family discussion going in a deeper direction. What is “stuff” that we can give at Christmas that gives us power—real power?
My kids got where I was going with this after we watched the Mormon Message “The Reason behind Christmas.”
The video talks about the commercialization of Christmas and how we put Christ back into Christmas when we give the gifts He wants us to give: the gift of ourselves.
I set the timer for another minute and asked my kids to make another list. “What can you give of yourself this Christmas?”
“I can serve others.”
“I can help my friends when they are sad.”
And their lists went on and on.
My goal is always to teach my kids that Christmas is more than gifts and Santa. It’s about a Savior who was born—a Savior who changed the world. But sometimes it’s hard to drive that lesson home, especially when it’s easy to become consumed with wish lists, shopping lists, and guest lists.
We center our Christmas on Christ when we give as He gave and when we teach our children to do the same.
Borrowing words from my four-year-old, His gifts were the “good stuff that people would like.” His gifts were the “stuff” that gives real power because His gifts were all based on love. Love is the gift that keeps on giving.
“This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”
Can you imagine how different the world would be if each of us gave at least one of these gifts of love? With all of the hate, turmoil, and sadness in the world, my little family decided it’s a goal worth setting.
After writing our lists of how we could give of ourselves this Christmas season, my 10-year-old led the next family home evening, where we made paper ornaments and wrote our ideas on them. We set up a small Christmas tree and hung these homemade ornaments on our “tree of love.”
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