Sunday, August 31, 2008

Something to Think About...Precedents

Precedents.... What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on 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?


  1. Isn't it wonderful that you were able to find so many lovely little things to give to your children!! I love to shop at charity shops. You can find such wonderful things there. It is truth indeed that one man's junk is another man's treasure!!

  2. Laura, you know, funny you should mention precedents. When my husband lost his job, and I lost mine last summer, I was so distraught because the first thing on my mind was how will we survive Christmas. Well, one thing, it was our off year for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday as far as hosting the family meal. Then I decided that all adults would not receive gifts, only the children and that as adults we would just enjoy watching the little ones and savor the food and ambience of the holiday and be grateful that we were all together in celebration. It was by far the best stress over shopping, and if someone liked or disliked their gift. There are two of my siblings that are financially well off, and that always put stress on gift buying. I did not have Christmas "letdown", and I was so filled spiritually with gratefulness and peace, it was remarkable.
    Cudos to you for your simple approach on gifts.

  3. Planning ahead for Christmas is wonderful advice :)

  4. I think it's wonderful that your children know the real value of a "GIFT", Laura.... they appreciate that it comes from the heart and not from the wallet and I think that is pretty special. (Not to mention commendable on your part for raising them that way!!)

  5. Hello, Laura! I am stopping over from the 'Fellowship Fridays' blog hop. Boy, it's not easy to start thinking about Christmas yet, but sometimes thinking ahead is good. For years, our family did the gift-giving thing and it became just that - another activity to get more 'things'. So we slowly changed those 'precidents' that were set long ago. Now we focus more on giving to/helping those in need at Christmas. We also save the money we usually spent on things and plan activites that we do together over the holidays. Those memories are more precious than any 'thing' we could get as a present. Thanks for sharing!
    Ann @ Christ in the Clouds

  6. Hello Ann,

    What a lovely way to celebrate the Lord's birth, giving to the needy and spending time with loved ones. One year a family gave gifts to our children. We were so blessed.

    I'll be over in a bit for a blog visit.

    The Lord bless you,


  7. What a great thing you are doing. I do not believe in going into debt to give a gift. My children and now my Grandchild have all enjoyed used gifts!! Thanks for sharing at TTF!

  8. Hi Linda,
    I think when we look at our situation realistically, we can do a lot with what we have and the resources God gives us.

  9. Dearest Laura, you are always full of wisdom and I appreciate your tips. Think ahead... you have reminded me that it's very important to do so. Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs and blessings!


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