The Three Gift Rule

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 by 2 Comments
The Three Gift Rule

I grew up as an only child. People usually think that means I was spoiled terribly – and I was in some ways. My parents had lived through the Depression as teenagers and they were concerned that I would put too much emphasis on things.

So they started a couple of traditions when I was so young that I don’t ever remember anything else.

Beginning at the same time the Salvation Army Santa began cheerily ringing his bell outside the store, my dad handed me a dollar every time we went into a store, even if it was twice in one day.

He told me that putting the money in the red kettle was magic that made the world a better place whenever you did it. More importantly if you didn’t miss even one opportunity all the way through until Christmas then you changed a life. A WHOLE life?

I was impressed and empowered.

The other tradition was the three gift rule. It is exactly what it sounds like. No matter how many presents Santa left my friends, he only put three under the tree for me. Three Wise Men brought gifts to baby Jesus and if it was good enough for Him, it was good enough for me.

Do you know I never even thought about it? It was the way it was and we have the three gift rule at my house, now.

I can’t say whether or not that these gestures impacted my life and caused me to be more compassionate and more generous than I would have been, but I can say that two of my greatest strengths are generosity and compassion.

And I put at least a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket every time I go by. I just wish they would go back to having Santa ring the bell.

What are the traditions you had growing up?

photo credit: Matti Mattila via photopin cc

Posted in: Parenting
Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a homeschooling mom with a large family. She is the author of one cook book and the creator of Restless Chipotle Media, a network consisting of two food based blogs, a blog for “women of a certain age”, a video site on Youtube, and upcoming blog on kitchen decor, and downloadable eBooks. Marye also is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer.

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  • Living The Scream

    I love these ideas. I also like to hand my kids a handful of change to give to the bell ringer. I need to do it more though and i LOVE the three gift idea.


    For the past few years we have done the Toys for Tots program, and I have my boys pick out presents for someone else, and always have them pick something they want themselves, and they also hand it over themselves at the dropoff location. I am looking for more things like this, though, because I want them to understand the deeper meaning of Christmas. I like the ideas in the article as well, as well as an earlier poster’s idea of giving change to the Salvation Army bell ringer.