“Coupon Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 1987, 66
Because our Heavenly Father gave the world his best—his Son—our family tries to follow this example by giving the best of ourselves at Christmas. These gifts of self have become the most precious and eagerly awaited part of our Christmas-morning festivities.
To prepare for this tradition, several weeks before Christmas we hold a family home evening on giving of ourselves. Then family members start thinking about what they can give. Naturally, the type of gift varies with the age, skills, and time of the giver.
By Christmas Eve, each person has written his or her gifts on 3″ by 5″ index cards or construction paper, decorated them with original artwork or stickers, then slipped each one into an envelope and into the appropriate Christmas stocking.
After the packages under the tree have been opened on Christmas morning, it’s time to open the “gifts of self.” One family member at a time opens an envelope and reads the gift aloud.
Some examples of gifts we have given are: our youngest child has sorted a drawer full of unmatched socks for her dad, folded laundry for a certain number of days for me, and helped clean siblings’ rooms. Older children have made each other’s beds for two weeks, helped with homework, played ten games of the recipient’s choice, done morning chores for someone for a week, provided one special treat a month, brought in firewood on weekends during the winter, and taken a bike hike with a picnic lunch. A daughter worked on a stitchery picture all year for me, and my husband did some household repairs. Gifts we have given our children have included making a Scout album, taking a child on cross-country skiing or camping trips, going on lunch dates, and typing term papers.
These gifts have caused us to think more of others throughout the year as we give of our time and skills and make memories together. They have let us stretch the Christmas spirit in our home to more than a few weeks in December. Best of all, they have encouraged us to grow in love for one another.—Sheryl S. White, Sherwood, Oregon