The White Box
One December we gathered our family together for a family meeting. We asked our 11-year-old how it would be if on his birthday the family members gave presents to everyone but him. He didn’t like that idea at all. We went on to ask if there was a holiday when we gave gifts to others but not to the person whose birthday we were celebrating. It didn’t take the children long to realize we were talking about Christmas. That year, however, we wanted to make Christmas more meaningful by giving gifts to the Savior, whose birthday we were celebrating.
Three-year-old Laralyn headed to her room and returned carrying her favorite doll. “Daddy, could I give my dolly to Jesus?” she asked. We explained that the Savior knew of her willingness to give her most prized possession and that he would want her to take care of the dolly for him. She was delighted and said, “I love giving gifts to Jesus!”
By now our older children had become more reflective. What could they give to the Savior? We discussed what he would want. We talked about how he had paid for our sins and wanted us to give them up. We talked about how he would want us to give of ourselves through service and sharing our talents. Gifts could also include being more obedient in such areas as journal writing, scripture reading, and keeping the commandments.
We put a little white box on the fireplace mantle and asked our family members to write their gifts on slips of paper and place the slips in the box. Then we explained that on Christmas morning, before all of the gifts were opened, we would have family prayer and then share with each other the gifts we were giving to the Savior for the coming year.
As the years have come and gone, the tradition of the white box has helped our family focus on the real meaning of Christmas and on our love and gratitude for the Savior.
(Ensign, December 1997, pages 58-59)
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