How the Gifts of the Magi Simplified Our Christmas

by Deb


Several years ago, I was inspired by my friend Mel,
@  Psycho with 6, to change our families gift giving traditions dramatically.

What?! Really?!

How do you get a family to change 20+ years of tradition without a major meltdown?

It was actually quite easy. Our children were grown and our grandchildren were young; so, it seemed like a perfect time for change. Now in its fourth year, this meaningful way of gifting has been embraced with even greater enthusiasm.

The Magi gave the Christ child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Each represented a significant part of Jesus life and ministry:

  • Gold – a gift given to royalty. Pure gold was considered to be a gift of virtue. For us gold reminds us that our holy Savior is the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
  • Frankincense – a gift of costly resin used in incense, to represent the prayers of the people ascending to God. For us frankincense reminds us that Jesus is our high priest, who sits at the right hand of the Father, and intercedes on our behalf as we lift our prayers in His precious name.
  • Myrrh – a gift which foreshadowed Jesus suffering and death. Myrrh was used medicinally as an anointing oil for wounds, and an embalming oil following death. The gift of myrrh reminds us of Jesus sacrifice. His very life for our salvation.

No, we don’t actually wrap up little packages of  gold, frankincense, and myrrh each year. We give each person three gifts with Magi meaning:

  • Gold – a gift the person has listed as their “treasure.” This doesn’t need to be costly . . . just have value for them.
  • Frankincense – a gift to bless their spiritual life. This might be a devotional book, an uplifting DVD, or new CD by their favorite Christian artist.
  • Myrrh – a gift for the body. This is usually cologne, a lotion, or potion . . . something which soothes or comforts them physically.

There you have it! Our, gift of the Magi, giving tradition. We love it! It has simplified our holiday preparations, changed our focus on gift giving, and blessed us more than you can imagine.

The star that they had seen in the east went before them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy. They came to the house where the child was and saw Him with His mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. They opened their gifts and gave Him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:9b-11

May your Christmas preparations be blessed as you set your hearts on Jesus, the greatest gift of all.

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Email Author    |    Website About Deb

Deb is a wife, mom, "gram," and busy blogger. Visit Counting My Blessings, where she "gazes with gratitude at God's amazing grace." You can also find her at HomeGoods Design Happy Blog and pick up tips and ideas for decorating on a budget. In 2010, she shared her personal happiness project in Woman's Day Magazine and WD Happiness Blog. Deb loves serving in ministry beside her husband, Blake, and invites you to visit their internet prayer ministry - Pray for You.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janet Muir December 4, 2012 at 2:08 am

What a marvellous and uncomplicated thought; very challenging because not only it is meaningful;the thought still requires thought and consideration of the person involved in receiving the gift. The blessing of Christmas brought to life in a new and meaningful way. Thank you for sharing.


2 Deb December 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

You’re welcome Janet. We have been greatly blessed by this. So thankful it blessed you, too.


3 Janet Muir December 4, 2012 at 2:10 am

What a marvellous and uncomplicated thought. The blessing of Christmas brought to life in a new and meaningful way. Thank you for sharing.


4 Dawn December 4, 2012 at 6:03 am

Oh that is beautiful and sweetly simplifies what can be so complicated and distracting! Thank you for sharing!


5 Deb December 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thanks Dawn. We love it. It even helps with the length of our Christmas lists, as each family member keeps the three gift tradition in mind. Blessings to you!


6 Deb December 4, 2012 at 10:52 am

Mel shared the following comment on FB. Some good additions to the gift possibilities:

Thanks so much, Deb! Of course, my idea was stolen both from The Lord and Christian Parenting Today years ago. I now include clothes/jewelry/food for the body and giving to charity as a spiritual gift.

Thank you, Mel!!


7 Nikki December 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Love this, Deb! just love it. Thanks for sharing!!!


8 Deb December 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Thank you Nikki! I’m so excited to learn about everyone’s traditions. Blessings to you!!


9 Barbie December 5, 2012 at 11:12 am

Over the last several years, I’ve been trying to keep it to four gifts, with “something you want”, “something you need”, “something to wear” and “something to read”. But I love this idea so much better and may have to begin to implement it!


10 Dawn December 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Barbie, I so love your idea as well!


11 Deb December 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Thanks Barbie, but I’m all for anything that simplifies gifting and helps to keep our focus on Christ. Either way would be a blessing.


12 Charis December 11, 2012 at 1:41 am

i think this is such a great idea. though i have never done it with our family, i love that others do! we do pretty simple gifts – usually fun little stuff in stockings (like gum, candy, new undies…), something i hand-make for my kids, and then something that is a joint gift that might be a little bigger (i have 5 kids, so it may be a pass to the pool for the summer time or last year it was a new sled). i love how you have it set up to point right back to Jesus.


13 Carol Hatcher December 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

What a great idea! Thank you for sharing this.


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