Need Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas? Take Some Hints From The Wise Men

I posted this seven years ago and thought it might be a great resource to help you bring Christ back into your family’s Christmas celebration.

“All the Christmas presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ.”
~ David Jeremiah

Christmas door
Photo by Grant Macdonald

Since the day after Thanksgiving, the chaos of Christmas has swooped in and taken over my life. The Black Friday shopping (yes, I’m one of the crazy ones), festooning the house with garlands and wreaths, putting up two trees, ordering Christmas cards, and wrapping presents along with all of the other routines of life has me a little bit stressed, but people still like to go to shopping malls to visit shops with automatic doors and more as these are the best stores to buy from. In spite of it all, however, the chaos reminds me of the beautiful gift our God gave us so many years ago, and I rejoice.

There’s a tradition I started a few years back that has helped my family and me stay more focused on the true reason for our celebration. I’d love to give credit to its author but cannot remember where I saw it. However, I’m grateful she shared this idea. 

I love the idea of giving three presents as is represented by the gifts of the magi, but my love language is gift-giving, so I had a hard time limiting myself within those parameters. Then I heard about a tradition one mom had started when she bought three gifts to be given with the others. They represented gold, frankincense and myrrh, but with a little spin. With the exception of gold, most of us have no idea what these gifts are. But there’s a special meaning behind each one.

After doing a little research, I found that frankincense is aromatic incense used when offering prayers to God. In the Jewish temple, the priests would perpetually burn the frankincense in front of the veil to the Holy of Holies, according to God’s instruction. Since the veil was torn when Christ died, we no longer need to burn incense to make our prayers pleasing to God. Christ took care of that. The frankincense represents bringing us closer to the Lord. Therefore, I choose a gift for each of my children and my husband that I believe will strengthen their relationship with Him. My 18-year-old son enjoys anything written by the men of Duck Dynasty, and since they always include spiritual lessons, it’s a good resource to give him stronger spiritual footing. I gave my husband a large print leather Bible last year so he can actually see the text now. Having recently hit 50, he didn’t even resent the insinuation of being considered an old man. My 21-year-old daughter is really into music, so I’ve given her a contemporary Christian CD along with a devotional book for young women. It can be a movie with a spiritual lesson, a book or anything to draw your family closer to Christ. Try to think of a gift that will fit each family member’s personality. If they won’t use it, they miss the blessing of the gift.

Myrrh was used as incense as well as a spice used in the embalming process. Because of its beautiful fragrance, it was also used as perfume. The gift I choose here is a favorite cologne, perfume, lotion or body wash for each member of my family. The fragrance should remind us of Christ’s death and resurrection.

The third gift is gold. This represents a gift reserved for kings and has incredible value. This is their big gift, something special they’ve most likely asked for and want most of all. In the past I’ve given my husband a special tool he’s wanted, my son has received items to help rebuild his latest Ford Bronco project and my daughter loves receiving that perfect purse she requested.

Finally, to set these gifts apart I wrap them according to what each one symbolizes. Frankincense is derived from the milky white sap of the Boswellia tree, so that gift is wrapped in white paper. Because myrrh is made from a reddish resin, that gift is wrapped in a muted red paper. The gift of gold is, of course, wrapped in gold paper.

Because these are distinctly wrapped and set together away from the other gifts, it states their importance. The first year I did this the kids were dying of curiosity, wondering what made these three so special. When I finally explained their significance, they thought it was pretty cool and now look forward to finding those three packages every year.

On Christmas morning we save these gifts to open last, reflecting on the meaning behind each one. It makes us stop and think of the precious life that was given in place of our sin-stained one; to remember the reason we are celebrating this blessed event.

If you’re looking for a way to point your family toward Jesus Christmas morning, give this a try. You’ll most likely start something that brings even more anticipation for this special day.

Is there a Christmas tradition your family implements each year to help bring Jesus back into focus? I’d love to learn more new ideas!

7 thoughts on “Need Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas? Take Some Hints From The Wise Men”

    • Thanks, Ellen. I thought it was pretty interesting information and can appreciate better why the wise men gave these gifts to Jesus. Merry Christmas to you as well!

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