When I was twelve years old, my mom gave me her charm bracelet. It was one she had worn as a child and was full of charms she had collected. There was a little silver man carrying buckets on a yoke on his back–a charm from my great Aunt to my mom when she lived in Thailand. There’s a graduation cap charm to commemorate her 8th grade graduation. There’s even a Bible that opens and closes that she earned at church after memorizing several Scriptures as a girl.
Those charms were like little windows to my mom’s life. They all celebrated important events and places and people in her life. Now, those stories were around my wrist, connecting me to her.
I began collecting my own charms–states from our family road trips, a puffin, a little Ecuadorian man from my first missions trip out of the country, skis on my first ski trip, a ferry boat after a trip to Mississippi, Mickey Mouse (of course) and even a little log cabin from Laura Ingalls’ home.
I love looking at each charm, remembering the event, the laughs and happiness that goes with them. Each one is a tie to those special family memories. I treasure each one of them. Am proud of the stories they represent.
This year, we gave Lydia her first charm and bracelet. It was a beautiful little ballet shoe from James Avery as a gift after her ballet recital. Just a few weeks ago, we gave her another James Avery charm of a Nutcracker after she performed in her studio’s Nutcracker shows (4 of ’em!) as a flower bud.
As the years go by, I’ve got it in my heart and mind to collect charms as we go. As she grows, graduates, travels and experiences life, I want to find the little charms that will tie her memory back to our family.
I love gifts that last forever. Games and toys and even books may come and go, but jewelry and long-lasting gifts are the kind that can be given with meaning and with a message.
Several years ago I read The Three Gifts of Christmas by Jennie Bishop. In it, a King and Queen wish to teach their selfish, spoiled daughter about contentment and real giving. So, instead of showering her with gifts at Christmas, they pick three precious gifts that show their love for their daughter. Each one represented a part of her life or something they wanted her to know and remember.
I loved the idea so much, my husband and I decided our Christmas gifts to our kids would be three significant gifts instead of 20 little or passing gifts. Of course, we don’t always stick with it like we want and I love funny little toy gifts, too. It’s a lesson to us as much as it is to my children. We want to be purposeful in every area of our parenting, even gift-giving.
If you’re still looking for a gift for your children, consider something that will last forever. Think of your children’s talents and giftings, their dreams and desires, the things that make them THEM.
Maybe this year, if you’ve been celebrating Advent (with Truth in the Tinsel!), you could slip a charm from James Avery into the last day of the Advent Calendar as a gift. I’ve got this new Christmas tree charm and when I look at it, I think of all the fun, magic and glitter and JOY that surrounds Christmas–Truth in the Tinsel fun, school parties, decorating the tree, Christmas puzzles and making hot chocolate with the kids. It’s a tiny charm, but I treasure it as Mary treasured her memories of Jesus’ birth in her own heart.
Thanks to James Avery for sending me this charm as a way to reflect on #aCharmedChristmas of my own.