Tuesday, December 3, 2013

4 reasons we give our kids 4 Christmas gifts


  

Let me set the scene for you.

The year is two-thousand-something.  It's the end of January/beginning of February.  I'm trying to walk through the front room and I step on something.  It was something our son had gotten for Christmas...probably a little activity book or action figure or something.
I looked down and realized our living room was littered with little things leftover from Christmas.  Things that were appreciated certainly but it really felt like a scent out of a Berentstain Bears book.
*ahem*

Anyway, seeing all the excess made me realize that I had bought stuff for Christmas just so there would be MORE UNDER THE TREE.
Let that sink in.
I bet some of you have fallen into that trap too, it is easy to do.

You pick up this and one of those and a few of these so there are more things under the tree. So it looks fuller.  So Johnny has a nice Christmas.

And yet, I don't think that's what the original intention for Christmas was.



A poem came to mind that I'd seen before about giving gifts. Give four things.  "Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read."  I decided to implement this gift-giving standard for Christmas and we could not be happier!


Here are 4 reasons we chose to do it this way
1. I am much more intentional about the gifts I give.  Instead of grabbing a half dozen things my kids will "like," I am getting ONE thing for their "want" gift so we put a lot more thought and consideration into it.
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2. The kids are less stressed.  This simplified gift giving seems to ease any holiday anxiety.  They know what to expect on Christmas morning.

3. Giving 4 gifts is a rejection of the American idea of commercialized Christmas in which we overload on products likely made in sweat-shops, or attempt to one-up each other by having the latest and greatest.

4. 4 gifts can fit almost any budget.  If you need to buy each item from the dollar store or yard sales so that you spend $4 or less per child, you can.  If you have a bigger budget and do $5 items or $50 items, you can.  If you are so inclined to spend thousands, you can certainly do that too.  But having just 4 items to purchase helps you stay inside your predetermined budget, whatever it is.
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Updated 2015: This blog, Thirty Handmade Days, has free printable tags you can use on the 4 gifts.  Head to her site to download them. They are super cute!  See?

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From: Thirty Handmade Days
I share this with you so you can see how we do Christmas in our house.  I by no means think everyone should do it this way and neither my husband nor myself grew up like this.  It's just what works for us right now. I'd love to hear about YOUR family's gift-giving philosophy in the comments. :o)

25 comments:

  1. I probably should do it that way because we always have too many items to find places for after xmas.

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    1. We are the same way! It was just too much with us doing lots of gifts too in addition to all the grandparents and stuff.

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  2. We are implementing this gift giving strategy at our house this Christmas as well. We live in a small house so more stuff is not needed. Plus all the grandparents an aunts and uncles spoil my boys. I'm thinking we might only get the baby one thing, if we get him anything at all. Today I was talking to Seth about Christmas and Jesus' birth and he was super excited just hearing about Jesus, so the gifts will be an extra suprise for him this year.

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  3. Love Love Love this idea! I haven't bought anything for my kiddos yet, so we may just do this! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you and you are welcome! I was a bit nervous to do it the first year----would my older son like it? Would he feel short changed? But it was perfect and just makes us all more at ease and less anxious. Good luck!

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  4. I love this idea--I don't do it, but a lot of the stuff we give is something they need (I'm making quilts to match my daughters' room,) and I always give books. I get a lot at garage sales--the only thing I bought new is for my youngest who I did just buy a toy because I didn't know what else to buy for her as she gets so many hand-me downs!

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    1. Yes--I love to shop yard sales! Last year my son's "Something to wear" was a box with several shirts I'd found at a yard sale that were the brand he likes. Perfect gift and budget friendly.

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    2. Thanks for linking up with the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board!

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  5. This is really neat. I am pinning it as I have never heard of this particular way of choosing gifts! I just realized I have 3 for my kiddo and stocking stuffers. I, too, do NOT want to get into drowning in gifts. Plus his birthday is Nov. 6 so he just has gotten a lot anyway! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oooh a birthday close to Christmas, yeah that would be rough! My kids are May and June so we get a bit of a break before the Mountain Of Toys arrives again. :)

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  6. Living with a toy collector and his 3 "mini-me"s, we are certainly overrun by toys. I know I should use this approach, let's see if I can get hubby on board at least for the kids!

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    1. haha! The 4 gifts may not work for you and that is okay. Maybe you limit it to 4 toys AND the need/wear/read categories. You'll figure something out that will accommodate your family. :)

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  7. I know this feeling! That is one huge reason I love Hanukkah. 8 gifts. That's it. I spend less and put more thought into each gift than just buying out the whole toy section. We also try to give experiences. One night is jammies and a movie. The next night is a puzzle and we spend the night doing that together. It also helps them appreciate their gifts because they have the whole night to play with one gift.

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    1. Love your Hanukkah gifts, it sounds like great family time. <3

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  8. Funny you write about this. This is my post for next Monday. We also completely agree with the 4 gift rule. We love it and it does make it a lot less stressful! Glad others are doing this as well.

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    1. You know what they say about great minds.... *wink*
      LOVE the 4 gifts, you are right, much less stress!

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  9. I love this idea! My parents always did pretty much the same thing. The number differs, but it's always something I need, something I really want, and a random surprise. Never anything excess and never anything too expensive, the exception being last year when I graduated in December and my parents bought me an expensive college ring as a combination graduation/Christmas present.

    Christmas shouldn't be about materialistic things like you mentioned either. You're right in saying that. I grew up in a Christian household and we've always celebrated the religious side of Christmas. We do exchange gifts, but it's never excessive. The main thing I'm asking for this year is a pair of New England Patriots NFL sneaker slippers to replace the pair I wore out last year. Simple, practical, non-expensive, and useful.

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    1. Thanks for leaving me a comment. I hope you get the slippers you want (even if you are a Patriots fan. LOL) :)

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  10. I tend to lean the way my parents did which was to use Christmas as a time go give things that were needed, plus a little something that we'd like to have. But it has to be worked out with the other half, too.

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    1. Sounds like you've got it figured out for your family! Merry Christmas!

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  11. I'm awful about overbuying - this year, I've made an effort to scale back. My guess is the kids won't even notice (and if they do...well, there's a lesson there, I suppose!).

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  12. I have to admit that I went way over on Nick this year. He's so easy to buy for! LOL I actually got him a big Chuggington train set and it just had a lot of different pieces to wrap, and then he got a couple other things. My MIL always goes way over and buys lots of junky things. I hate it, and it is terribly overwhelming.

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  13. I really like this idea, but do these 4 gifts include Santa's gift and gifts from siblings or are those in addition?

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    1. Good question. We don't actually do Santa so these gifts are just from Mom and Dad. I think this year we will have the kids buy each other a little gift and that will be separate from the other 4 from us.

      If you wanted to do the 4 gifts you could always do these 4 and then have Santa bring 1 extra "something you want" gift. It's adaptable for however your family celebrates. :)

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