I don’t know about you, but as my children grow older, they’re harder and harder to shop for. While my two oldest (14 and 12) will always just say, “Give me money!”, I’m not a huge fan of that. We try hard to keep our hearts focused on Christ through the advent season. I like to make sure the gifts my kids receive Christmas morning are exceptionally good.
Good does not have to mean expensive. What “good” means is that the gifts are good FOR them AND good in a way that demonstrates I know their hearts, their interests, and their needs. It’s my intention that the gifts that we give them (as their parents) demonstrate in a tangible way the GOOD gifts from God, and the good gift of Christ. God knows what they want AND what they need, and he fulfills those needs fully, through Christ. I hope that our Christmas gifts to them will reflect the heart of our Heavenly Father.
That’s a lofty goal, right? Keep in mind, as I share these 5 items to consider this Christmas, that both my older children are girls. I’m shooting for gender neutral as much as possible!
1- GAME: Have you ever heard of Portals and Prophets? I received this game free for my HONEST review, which I share in full over at HomeschoolGiveaways.com. I really encourage you to go check it out. Portals and Prophets is a game that you will enjoy immensely with your teens. Not only is it just FUN, but it’s an insane value for the learning opportunities available for understanding scripture with greater depth.
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2- BOOKS: Your book-loving teen is sure to enjoy the series by Donita K. Paul, Dragon Keepers Chronicles. I have not read these books personally, but have found a slew of excellent 5-star reviews online. These are definitely on my shortlist as I believe my oldest daughter will enjoy the plot, and my boys can enjoy them later on as well. One word of caution from PluggedIn.com: “Though the Christian author clearly points her readers to God at every turn, parents concerned by the use of magical elements should be aware that enchantments and wizardry play key roles in the Dragonspell plot.” We read Harry Potter in our home and have excellent dialogues about dark magic/evil purposes from them. So this isn’t an issue for us, but could be for you. Alternative Series: Kingdom Series by Chuck Black that avoids magic throughout (from what I’ve read).
3- DATES: It’s becoming more commonplace to replace gifts under the tree with a memorable experience of some kind. Almost all of us have more than we could ever need or want. However, we are all pressed for time and sometimes the hustle and bustle of daily life can crowd out relationship. One way we save money at Christmas (and spread the expense out a bit) is to give our girls “vouchers” for dates with Mom and Dad throughout the year. They can use one each month (or whatever you determine) and just give us a little heads-up when they want to cash in. A few ideas from our vouchers are: a coffee dates, dinner and a movie, or a special game night (which is why you need Portals and Prophets!). We wrap these up like a normal gift as they hold true value and have always been well-received!
4- GIFTS FOR OTHERS: Sometimes the “gimmes” can get a little out of hand in our home. I don’t know if you might struggle with that as well? Two Christmases ago, when things were not ideal attitude-wise at Christmas, we had a heart check. We explained to our girls what we were seeing that we were unhappy with. We then dedicated a portion of funds that had been planned for their Christmas toward giving to others. We pulled out the Compassion Gift Catalog and had them agree upon a gift. We then shopped together for a child from the Angel Tree at our church. I think this was a fantastic opportunity to teach sacrificial giving, and we were all blessed by it.
5- CLOTHES WITH PURPOSE: For years, we were big-box/discount clothing shoppers. My main focus was on getting what we needed at the lowest cost. I wasn’t a fan of thrifts stores (clutter!) and didn’t give much thought to the corporations and workers behind what we wore. Then Proverbs 31: 8-9 hit me like a ton of bricks:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
I’m on a journey in this regards, and one company I’ve found on the way is Sevenly.org. We’ve purchased multiple t-shirts from them and love their mission: leading a generation toward generosity. For each shirt purchased, they give $7 to their charity of the week. We’ve found some really good ones! These are good quality shirts that’s promise to be made ethically (of course!).
That it, friends! I hope some of this may have helped you think a little “outside of the box” in regards to Christmas for your family this year. For your younger kids and an alternative to the “Elf on the Shelf”, you’ll like this post.