I am overwhelmed and exhausted, yet tremendously happy. 

So very thankful for my family and friends and the many celebrations we have all shared.
We are trying to do our best to teach our girls 
simplicity in the midst of excess.

It is not always easy.

Before I had kids a dear friend shared with me what her family does for Christmas.
Each of their children receive 
three gifts.
Just like Jesus received three gifts from the wise men.

I knew that would be a tradition we would adopt in the future.
Halley and Lucy are excited about their three gifts (pajamas, a doll and these pettiskirts).  Excited to be like Jesus.  
I have been quietly brainwashing them since birth.  
But, I am sure they would be happy with just one.

Their favorite part of Christmas is making a birthday cake for Jesus.
(Don't underestimate the power of Betty Crocker.)

So as you are putting away the millionth toy that is soon to be forgotten, think of Jesus and and the wise men.  Bad economy or good, it is nice to take the focus off of the "stuff" and put it back upon the real and lasting gift that is our Savior.


  1. I LOVE the idea of three gifts just like the three wise men. I hadn't heard of that one before (well, I obviously I've heard the Christmas story, but never thought to apply it that way). My son is only three, but this year I incorporated an idea I had read about somewhere (in a magazine or on a blog, I have no idea) -- giving away as many toys as you receive. Before Christmas we went into the playroom and gave away 12 garbage bags full (no kidding, they were kitchen size, but still!) of toys my son barely played with, etc. I think the idea was if he got 12 gifts for Christmas, he would pick 12 to give away to kids that didn't have toys. But it worked much better and we gave away so much more by doing it before Christmas. And, of course, he doesn't miss any of them a bit. Regardless, I hope to teach my son early enough that giving is so much more rewarding than getting.

  2. Thanks, Julie for the beautifully written post. I have heard of that tradition before and am really going to give it some thought this year. Love the pettis, too!

  3. What a great idea. Three gifts really is plenty. I may do that next year.

  4. What a lovely idea :)
    Love those skirts too :)

    ps. your christmas cards were awesome!

  5. One of my girlfriends shared this idea with me a few days before Christmas. They not only do 3 gifts but the three gifts are categorized into; a want, a need, and something to share. I think we will be adopting the three gifts idea next year. I liked Valerie's idea of giving things away before Christmas also. Such good ideas!!!

  6. Julie, first of all, thank you and your husband for the beautiful Christmas message you posted on Christmas Day. You know how sometimes someone says something and it is just what you need. That was just what I needed that day. I cried when I read it. It was like it was written for me.
    Secondly, I am glad we aren't the only ones who make Jesus a Birthday Cake!

  7. I think my husband and I will have to make this a tradition too... No children yet, but I am so excited about all the beautiful traditions we will implement when God is so gracious to give us a family. Have you read Noel Piper's book: Treasuring God in our Traditions...?

    Highly recommended!

    Thank you for your encouraging blog!


  8. This is so unique. I do not know anyone else who does this and I got chills when I read it. I commend you so much for practicing this! Have a blessed new year!

  9. We do three gifts, too!! I was so excited to do this, my sil told me. Otherwise, where do you cut it off?? My other brother gave his girls 15 gifts each!! What are you trying to make up for??

  10. we also give three gifts for christmas. our kids are now 10,9, and 6, and they expect 3 gifts for christmas no more no less.
    we also make a b-day cake for jesus (good ol betty crocker), another thing we do on our christmas (our family christmas actually comes before actual christmas) is add balloons and crepe paper to jesus' b-day celebration. as we celebrate we share our favorite things about jesus.