The Three Gift Christmas


Limiting present count with a Three Gift Christmas is a novel idea for maximizing holiday meaning while minimizing the financial budget.

When Christ was born in Bethlehem, three wise men traveled from afar to bring him a three gift Christmas:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.; so ... when Santa Claus travels from the North Pole for his annual visit to your house, why should your children expect any more than baby Jesus' 3 gifts?

My Present Proposal

To be clear, I’m not suggesting a complete literal interpretation of this suggestion (though apparently Amazon does sell a Three Kings Gifts Box Set).  What I am proposing is a more figurative construct of the sentiment.  Let me expand on the symbolism and definition as well as provide a few modern-day three gift Christmas examples.


This signifies something for the spirit – a chance to spoil your child’s soul by giving them something they truly want and value. By definition, gold is a lavish precious metal fit for the “king of kings”. Typical presents that might show up in this category are what you’d expect to find on your tot’s Santa wish list or what you’d expect retailers to be highlighting within Top Gifting Lists.


Here is connoted something for the mind – a way to cater to the intellect your kid possesses. In meaning, frankincense is a fragrant perfume pleasing to the gods used during worship.  Ideal gifts for this classification might be toys, books, or games that are built for learning, such as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).  Alternatively, some parents might want to consider a religious present.


Implied with this offering is something for the body – a means for nurturing your youngster’s physicality. Traditionally, myrrh is an aromatic resin with medicinal and preservative qualities.   Offerings in this genre cater to our body’s basic needs:  sleep, diet, environment, or exercise.   Respectively, examples may be spa packages, a tasty treat, home accessories, or sporting equipment/apparel.

A Santa "Clause"

With any plan, there can be a loop hole. Just because Mr. Claus brings 3 presents, doesn’t mean that Xmas has to be over in 3 minutes.  Parents who are able or choose to may fill stockings and leave presents under the tree too (though they are certainly wrapped in different paper than Santa’s gifts).  What I like about this factor is that it levels the playing field across friendship circles as not every kid is lucky enough to get lots of Santa loot on Xmas morning.

Spreading Holiday Cheer

With that, I hope that this concept of the three gift Christmas resonates with you and becomes a part of your family’s traditions.  It has been a blessing to our family in many ways – reflecting the true reason for the season and bounding our approach on many practical fronts:  planning, spending, storing, wrapping, etc.  In closing, I wish you luck on your own journey of dematerializing Christmas and hope that (presents aside) St. Nicholas brings all of you the 3 most precious gifts of all:  faith, hope, and love.
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Ugly Christmas Sweaters from Tipsy Elves
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6 thoughts on “The Three Gift Christmas

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    1. Thanks, mi amiga! On a gifting note … I read that Goodnight San Diego kid book you gave us to my kids all the time!

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