Something You’ll Use, Something You’ll Muse, Something You’ll Choose, Something You’ll Lose.

2014-12-24 22.01.27Just before Christmas I read a blog post in which the author talked about the way they give gifts to their children in the form of

“Something you want,
Something you need,
And something to read.”

I’ve scoured the internet trying to find that particular blog post, but it seems to have got lost somewhere in cyber world! However, it looks to be a pretty standard concept (though not one I’d come across before stocking up on piles of gifts for my boys!!), and sometimes includes ‘Something to wear’ as well.

This really got me thinking about how I buy gifts for our boys: I know they have so much, and I struggle to think about what it might be good to get them – and then we still end up with piles of gifts waiting for them on Christmas morning. Now, I’m absolutely not averse to giving gifts – I think it’s a wonderful thing to do. And there’s so much teaching that can come out of it: at Christmas we give gifts because Jesus is God’s gift to us; at Easter because we remember the gift of Grace freely given to us; and at birthdays because we remember children are a gift from God. But I want to be more intentional about how I’m giving gifts to my children, and so, based on the above idea, this is what I’ve come up with (one gift for each category):

Something you’ll use,
Something you’ll muse,
Something you’ll choose,
And something you’ll lose.

As you’ll see from the descriptions below, I may have stretched the semantics of the words slightly – but it’s all in the name of rhyming! So I think that makes it justifiable…

Something you’ll use

I couldn’t bring myself to use the word ‘need’. In a sense, my children do ‘need’ things – Boaz and Josiah are outgrowing their clothes and ‘need’ some more and Samuel ‘needs’ nappies. But, in another sense, they absolutely need for nothing material. If a holiday or birthday came and went with no gifts at all, they certainly wouldn’t be without. ‘Need’ seems to me to be a word that is overused and does not apply to my child’s material requirements at all.

So, I’ve gone with ‘use’ – and this can cover anything like clothes, toothbrushes, shampoo, nappies: anything practical that we’d probably end up buying in day to day life anyway.

Something you’ll muse

This is born of the ‘something you’ll read idea’ and absolutely includes books. I love books. My boys love books. But they have LOADS! So it also includes anything ‘educational’ or for home-schooling. In time it might start to include educational computer games or DVDs, but we’ll see.

Something you’ll choose

So, this is the ‘something you want’ idea. Grammatically, it’s not quite right as they’ll have already chosen some ‘wants’ for a list – but poetical (or not so poetical) needs must! This is a wild card – anything goes. The boys can make suggestions as to things they might like, but it’ll still be a surprise on the day.

Something you’ll lose

This is a gift, but not for them. It’s something they’ll open, but won’t have. I think it’s important that they don’t get swept up into a culture of wanting more and neglecting to consider and serve those who truly do ‘need’ something. I’m amazed at the capacity of small children to empathise and show compassion. Last Christmas, Boaz really understood that a little boy who wouldn’t otherwise get any presents would get some through the ‘Operation Christmas Child’ shoe box appeal and he was very concerned for that little boy. He took great care in picking what to give him, and wanted to know more about him and, even after the shoe box was done and sent away, still asked about the little boy who he had sent presents to. There are many places you can get a gift for someone else – Tearfund and World Vision are two possible ideas.

So, this is my plan for giving gifts. And I’ve blogged it now, before going shopping, so I can’t just cave in and buy all the nice things I see in the shops! Wish me luck!



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