I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it's a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:
"An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances."
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don't give many big gifts; we never have.
During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don't give big gifts, they don't expect them. Because I don't give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.
We are smack dab in the middle of birthday season at our house. All three of my little ones were born within three weeks of each other.
Last week, my daughter turned 7, I spent a grand total of about $8.00 at yard sales, over the last few months, for her gifts. She likes Winnie the Pooh. I was blessed to find a Pooh jewelry box, a Pooh plate, and Pooh pencils, along with some other things. Her big wish was for a jump rope. God so graciously provided a new one for her. She was so happy and so thankful.
This week, my son turned 9. I spent a total of about $5 on his birthday gifts. We were blessed with a big box of Hot Wheel tracks that we gave to the kids about a week ago. Michael is enjoying it so much. He asked for Hot Wheels, he actually requested that brand, for his birthday. So, off to Dollar General for a shopping trip. His sister and I found five of the coolest Hot Wheels cars and wrapped them up. Each of our family chose one to give to him. I also had a top and a beanie baby hedgehog for him. To make it extra special, my oldest daughter hid the gifts. She and my oldest son then made clues for Michael to follow to find his gifts. Periodically throughout the day, I would say, "It's time!"; and, we would wait as he hunted for a gift. He had so much fun!
The point to all this is that we must be careful of the precedents we set. Christmas is coming. It may be time to set a new precedent for gifts. If we talk with our children and relatives ahead of time, maybe we can make better choices that will allow us to enjoy the season, and the Savior, more this year.
See my sidebar for a countdown to the Christmas season. I find that after December 1st, we're too busy or rushed to really think out the preparations; that's when things just happen.
Let's think ahead, plan ahead, and do ahead this year.
God bless you!
May I suggest?