Now that Christmas has vanished like melting snow I am rethinking my idea of the perfect Christmas gift. Every Christmas I look for the perfect gift for everyone but especially for the six little people I am crazy about.

Three of my grands live in Israel, so their gift was money.  It’s difficult and expensive to mail a box to Israel. I do love to give the perfect gift, so for the three little people who live near me I started early. First I picked up a few “new” garage sale gifts. Then I bought some glittery dresses for the girls and a snazzy outfit for the boy. Still nothing seemed exciting. I even headed to the sewing room and made doll clothes for my three youngest girls.  Eventually, I gave up; the perfect gift slipped away into the mist of knowing there had a perfect gift, but I just couldn’t find it.

For my piano students we purchased a gift of one goat and four chickens through World Vision. To my amazement it felt close to the perfect gift, and even my students were excited–especially when we received a thank you card with pictures.

We arrived in Kansas City a couple of days before Christmas, and my husband and I accompanied our little Kansas City family to the Plaza. The Plaza was all decked out with sparkling lights and much merry-making. There were several musicians playing on the street and my grands took great delight in dropping money in their baskets to thank them for playing for us. We saw a homeless man, and again the grands were jumping for joy to run and give him a few dollars. I thought, Is this what Christmas is all about? Giving to others? Could that be the perfect gift?

I know a family who practices “wisemen gifting,” a tradition that helps limit what they give to their own kids and leaves money for gifting others.

This idea was handed down from a wise friend and it works well. Each child receives three gifts. The gold gift is a “want” gift, the frankincense gift is a gift that draws the children closer to Jesus, and the myrrh gift is for their body (maybe a shirt, shoes or pants).

This seems to keep the search for the perfect gift to a minimum and leaves money to help others.

If “wiseman gifting” is something you’d like to try next year, here are some ideas that may help:

1.  Ask the kids to help decide who will receive gifts outside of your home.

2.  Think about giving through charities such as World Vision or ADRA.

3.  Donate food to the food bank

4.  Fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

5.  Buy anonymous gifts for local families.

It’s a struggle. I love watching the faces of the children when they open their gifts. But how do I keep my eyes on Jesus and help the children do the same?

I can tell you I didn’t find the perfect gift this season because there is not one to be purchased. We all know the perfect gift was given a long time ago and we don’t even have to buy it because it was purchased by the blood of the giver.

I have never missed any money I have used for others. I seem to never know the money is gone. Odd, insn’t it? God loves a cheerful giver and I am trusting Him to show me how to give like that.