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Annie’s 2011 Christmas Gifts

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Last year I laid out for you how we approach Christmas with Annie. We’re not your typical family when it comes to Christmas. First off, we celebrate Advent with activities instead of gifts and we don’t “do Santa Claus.” Does Annie know about Santa? Sure….we read her fiction stories. This year we also read her the story of the real St. Nicholas and that’s a tradition that we hope to continue each year.

Every year Annie will get three gifts from us and her Christmas stocking filled with fun by useful goodies (insert link). The three gifts symbolize the three gifts that Christ received from the Three Wise Men – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I think most kids get WAY TOO MUCH STUFF for Christmas – stuff they don’t need. We try to cut down on the amount of “stuff” that finds its way into this house. So, here’s a look at what we got Annie this year for Christmas. When she’s older and can read, I’ll have to do these posts AFTER Christmas…..because if she’s anything like her Daddy, she’s REALLY NOSEY (I hope you’re reading this Barry).

The first gift is one of gold. This gift represents something of great worth….a toy at this stage in life. It’s a gift of great importance….something fit for a king – or in our case, Queen Annie. Dottie would say she was the queen of the house – but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s usually the most expensive gift – something the child really wants.

This year we chose a bike for Annie. She’s getting a little too big for her other one and we KNOW she loves her bike. I hid the bike at my mom’s hoping Annie wouldn’t find it. However, during our yard sale she saw it and went hog wild and pig crazy. Thankfully her Aunt Jamey was there and took the situation under control with the Tickle Bugs. I thought Annie wouldn’t forget…..but thankfully, she did. Whew. Next year I’ll have to find a better hiding spot. We found this bike USED at Wee-Cycle It for only $15. It looks almost like brand new. I came home and cleaned it up….I’m tickled pink with it and I know she will be too. Some people would be astonished that Barry and I buy used gifts for Annie for Christmas….but those same astonished people are probably broke.

The second gift is one of Frankincense. This gift represents something sacred. Frankincense was used in the Temple as part of worship. For this gift we like to give something of spiritual significance.  It should be something that helps Annie “meet with God.” Last year we gave her The Veggie Tales Bible (which was a HUGE hit). It could be any number of things – worship music, books, bibles, devotional, or journal.

This year we chose a nativity play set. She has been VERY interested in my Willow Tree Nativity ever since she could walk (I leave my nativity out all year long)…..but I’m not very interested in letting her play with it. Occasionally I find Elmo living right among the sheep and Joseph. We thought it would be good to give her a set of her very own. We can put it out each Christmas as a tradition and let it be something she can play with….and we can also teach her the story of Christmas using it. We ordered this nativity from Christian Book Distributors for $20.

The final gift is one of myrrh. The gift of myrrh represents something for the body – it was used in ancient times to prepare bodies for burial.  I don’t think it’s a good idea to give your child something to prepare them for burial….a casket is not a fitting Christmas present if you catch my drift. Instead, substitute an item that is used to take care of the body. It could be clothing, shoes, lotions, or anything toiletry related.

If you Google Hootenanny, you’ll find that it’s some kind of band who plays weddings somewhere in West Bend, WI. However, my mom has always called head kerchiefs “hootenannys.” This year Barry chose Annie’s myrrh gift – two head kerchiefs. They are very useful at keeping Annie’s hair out of her face as I let it grow out. Plus, she looks stinking cute in them…I wonder how I’d look? Probably just like I was TRYING to look stinking cute. We spent a total of $15 on both of them.

So, for a total of $50 (and around $20 for her stocking), we have Annie’s Christmas done….and I’m very tickled with it. I realize I could have been more frugal, but I knew these were useful items that would get years of use.  😮

So, how were YOU frugal this Christmas?

*This post is linked at Finer Things Friday on Amy’s Finer Things and at Gratituesday on Heavenly Homemakers.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. Well, we did $100 for a family of four with shipping, because I don’t like malls or driving around to stores. 😉

  2. That is an AWESOME idea – so meaningful and and excellent way to keep a handle on the holiday shopping craziness. And I’m sure it will be a tradition Annie will keep with her family one day so it’s a gift in other ways as well. You go girl!

  3. Willie Mitchell says:

    Stacy, I like your thinking!

  4. This is great, Stacy! We’re doing three gifts as well (for the same reasons you listed). I got some funny looks from my family when I mentioned the “big gift” Samuel is getting. It’s not all that big, but what in the world does a 1 year old need? A box…but we knew better than to just give him a box, right? Anyhow … beside the point. You said it best, “Some people would be astonished that Barry and I buy used gifts for Annie for Christmas….but those same astonished people are probably broke.” Yea … those people buying all those gifts are broke too. 😛 We let the grandparents go hog wild if they want. We’ll stick to 3 gifts.

    Oh, and we bought Samuel the little people nativity set. We’ll pull it out each year. This year Baby Jesus has been disrespected a bit, and a hurricane goes through Bethlehem often, but it’s so very fun to watch Samuel playing and knowing that one day this will be a cherished tradition!

    • We looked at the Little People one….but this one seemed a bit more up our alley and cheaper too. :-) But, you knew that was coming.

  5. Fabulous! I love the way you think!

  6. We don’t “do” Santa either. My husband is Dutch and many people celebrate Sinterklass – St. Nicholas. That is when we give our children their gifts, but none are from Santa just family.

    We got used toys for a few of our kids gifts this year too. The big kids (6 and 4) got a secondhand wooden kitchen/food (actually from the grandparents), a secondhand train table and the other toys they got new were on sale. :) My 6 year old wanted a sewing machine so she took up most of the budget since I bought one new with the understanding that it belongs to both of us. :) I was stumped for the 2 year old! She ended up getting a train set that my son can use if she doesn’t take an interest in it. I like the three gifts idea, something to consider for next year.

  7. Not much new to add that hasn’t already been said… but I would be interested in hearing what people purchase as gifts for pre-teen/junior high & high schoolers?

    The clothes are a given (especially for girls) – the spiritual one seems a bit more challenging as does the “big” gift?

    • The big gift at that age should be one they could choose – with a given budget in mind. A devotional would be a great choice, or a worship CD…..maybe a pre-paid certificate to church camp in the summer?

  8. This Christmas, we were frugal by making my mother-in-laws gift from an idea we saw on Pinterest: Less than $15 in supplies and one of the gifts we are most excited about giving this year.

  9. Jennifer Kinsler says:

    I would love to have your story of “Saint Nicholas”..would you share that as well? I have read some things here and there, but not sure what to believe. Thanks!

    • Here’s the funny thing – I printed one off the internet that was linked via another blogger….and now I can’t find it! I’m hoping to buy a book off Amazon to add to our collection. I’m looking at this one.

  10. I love it! We do not have kids yet, but I’m getting wonderful ideas. Maybe I can find ways to incorporate these ideas into our little family for now. Its so easy to get sucked into all the materialism. Merry Christmas!!

  11. I LOVE this idea! We dont have children, but this is good idea for our nephews and little cousins!

  12. LOVE this intentional giving. Our kids get SO many gifts from the in-laws it makes it a bit hard. I know that sounds terrible. It overwhelms me and makes me feel like we shouldn’t get them anything, but that is not in mama and papa’s hearts.
    So I have been thinking about how to remedy this. Our WHOLE year next year is going to be more intentional. We’ll let the family give the superfluous and we will do the meaningful and family traditions.

    • Sara, I also struggle with the “stuff” that we get from inlaws……it’s something we’re trying to rectify.

      • May I ask how? I would LOVE to rectify it! Every year around Halloween I get asked for a Christmas list. Perhaps I need to be more explicit? But with it being the in-laws it makes it even more complicated. Usually my answer is “Nothing. Seriously, nothing.”
        I know we are going to talk with the older one about giving some to those who don’t have (she already understands this when we purge). I actually considered opening them myself and removing some before Christmas morning.
        We get a big “food” basket every year – which of course this year because I am trying to limit our processed food – most of it went in a bag to take to the food bank at church.

  13. Patty Eller says:

    Where were you when I was raising my son? oh, probably not born yet! I love your way of parenting…kids do have waaaay too much “stuff” and I love second hand anything!

  14. I love your idea of the 3 gifts – will have to tuck that away for next year. This year, I think we spent about $25 for both of them (not including stockings). They got SO MUCH stuff from aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas that they hardly even noticed that we gave them only little things. Plus, they love the little things:)

    • I know, right? Annie always loves her littlest, cheapest gifts the best. This year it was a light up toothbrush that I got for $1.07. LOL

  15. Stacy We do the 3 gifts also. We have gotten many a look from other people when we tell them about it. Our children (9,11,and 17) love getting the 3 gifts. They get too much from the grandparents and family. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  16. Love the idea of the 3 gifts. I have done 3 gifts for my kids for a long time, not for any particular reason, I just think 3 is enough. However, I do try to get things that are beneficial to them. Like this year, I got my 21 yr old clothes and a wallet as part of his gifts. I got my 18 yr old clothes and purity ring. I’ve never thought about why 3 gifits, but I like the idea.

  17. This is a great idea! What do you put in Annie’s stocking?

  18. We also do 3 gifts at Christmas for the same reason, one of which is always a book. Thanks so much for sharing, Stacy. I’m visiting from your uber helpful parenting post at Intentional by Grace about managing your kids’ $. Loved it!

  19. :-) I love IBG…great friends over there.

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