Chip Gaines opened up about a Christmas gift-giving idea he shared with his family, and while the idea didn’t hold water with wife Joanna at first, she later opened up to it.
As Yahoo News reports, in addition to his TV shows and merchandise, part of Chip’s “brand” includes a lifestyle magazine, The Magnolia Journal. And in the most recent edition, he shares how he came upon the gift-giving idea and how it went over with his family.
First, some background. It’s not known when in Chip & Joanna’s life this story took place. Chip refers to “the kids” in the story and only mentions that it took place “when they were younger.” Right now, the kids are 12-year-old Drake; Ella, 11; Duke, 9; and Emmie Kay, 7 — so, some time within the last six or seven years, maybe? Second, Chip and Joanna haven’t hurt for money for quite some time, maybe even never. So knowing that this story takes place from the perspective of a man of wealth helps put it in context.
Anyway, Chip opened his story by writing about a frustration that many parents are all too familiar with: the piles upon piles of gifts, many of which the kids will play with only once and then forget about. It’s a waste of money, it could spoil the children, and most of all, there has to be a better way.
“[The kids] were still young, but we’d been through enough Christmases as a family of six to know how quickly presents can get out of hand.”
Chip says he and his brother-in-law were driving around, when the idea hit him: rather than give piles of gifts to the kids, the two men would set aside some money, ask each kid what they thought would be an age- and sex-appropriate gift for another child, and then they’d drive around and find a house that looked like it could use a little Christmas, and gift the family with those gifts.
Driving randomly around town, the family was frustrated at first — they simply couldn’t find a place that even looked like people were inside. Eventually, though, they found a house that jumped out at them.
“All of a sudden one of the kids yells from the back, ‘What about that house?’ and points to a few blocks ahead to this itty-bitty house up on a hill.”
As it turned out, the universe put Chip and his crew exactly where they were needed at exactly the right time. The house was occupied by three single women and four kids.
“They had scraped up everything they could to buy Christmas presents for their kids, but it hadn’t been enough for anything more than maybe a few pencils and coloring books.”
Chip says that rather than reluctantly parting with the gifts they’d recommended, they were thrilled to share in the season with the less-fortunate family.
“My kids never cease to amaze me. But when I think back to that night I marvel at their kindness, their generosity, and their ability to love those kids as if they were family.”
Joanna, for her part, wasn’t exactly into the idea at first. However, as Chip explains, once she saw the smile on the kids’ faces, she realized that Chip’s idea was spot-on.
For more about what’s going on in Chip and Joanna Gaines’ lives, check out the winter issue of Magnolia Journal.
[Featured Image by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images]