It seems crazy, right? We give and give and give until they get so much that no one even knows what they got. Do they even care what it is or do they just “want presents”? The kids would get gifts from Santa, us, my parents, my husband’s parents, aunts, uncles, friends, etc… SO many gifts. Sometimes, by the time they go back to school, they don’t even know that they’ve gotten, because they have received so much.
In fact, it turns from “I’m so excited” to “What else has my name on it?” The appreciation seems to get buried under the pile of presents, unfortunately.
So, for that reason, we had decided that we needed a change. I had always heard of the 3 gift rule (and we’ve done it in the past), but I had wanted to add one more (to cover everything) 🙂 So, we came up with a 4 gift rule. It was actually something that I had always heard (give them something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read…) but we changed it just a bit. I took out the “wear” part, because, well, we had something that we wanted to give them do more than clothes… we wanted to give them an experience. A memory.
The four things they would get:
1- Something they wanted (a toy or bike, etc…)
2- Something they need (a new coat, new shoes, sports equipment)
3- Somewhere to go (a camping trip, out for ice cream, tickets to a movie)
4- Something to read (a great new book or subscription to a kids magazine).
Something they want: If they have something in mind, perfect. If not, it is always fun to surprise them. When my brother and I were little, my parents would buy us one big gift that stayed in the family room. On Christmas morning, we would open our gifts and then they would say “I saw one more for you in the other room.” We would run into the other room to find our big gift and it was always so exciting!
For our kids, we LOVE these Tesla Model S for Kids by Radio Flyer (made with authentic Tesla paint colors for kids 3-8). How adorable are they?! Mickey had them together in about 10 minutes (complete with car covers!). The reason that we like them isn’t so much for the look, but for the function & fun that they will give our kids. Allie had a blast riding around in hers while her brothers were at school. (The lights are LED lights & they turn on!) She would go down the driveway, ride around the cul-de-sac and then put it into reverse and come back up to the top. haha! It held up to her endless energy because it has longest run and fastest recharge time thanks to Flight Speed™ Lithium Ion battery technology.
I love these kinds of gifts because they add such an element of shock & surprise for your kids!
For something they need, we usually go with something for a sport that they are playing, or something like a new blanket, new shoes, new baseball hat or a new backpack.
Somewhere to go could be camping (we are planning on taking these cars to our local (giant) park because they have a ton of trails that are paved and perfect for these! You could pick an amusement park or even to the movies (Giving movie tickets)
Something to read could be a new chapter book, subscription to a kid’s magazine, picture book or even a set of chapter books. Books are always a welcomed gift!
Another idea, like I mentioned before, is to do three gifts, like the three wise men. My friend does this and she loves it.
I’m going to be transparent here to say that it will be hard for me NOT buy. I love to find a sale. I love seeing something that they will love and pick it up. It will be hard for me to restrain from buying. It won’t be hard for me to focus on the WHY instead of the WHAT, so that is my goal.
Baking cookies, eating my mom’s breakfast casserole, watching Christmas Story over & over, playing in the snow, making hot chocolate so the kids can have one sip & be done… listening to Pandora Christmas songs, letting the kids stay in their PJ’s all day long… all the things that make up the Mansfield Christmas Morning… that’s the WHY. 🙂
Either way, I love the idea of spending our money on “adventures” instead of “things” so to do the “somewhere to go” is always my favorite. As they get older, these places might become more expensive, but they are creating memories that will last a lifetime, instead of spending money on something that will be lost, broken or throwing in a toy box in a month.
Ps- We will still plan on doing stockings. 🙂 That’s just so much fun!!
If you are looking for non-toy ideas, this post might be helpful:
And if you want stocking stuffer ideas, try this one: