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Why Choose 4 Gifts for Christmas?

You may have heard of the Four Gift Rule for Christmas, but I want to share a new way to give Four Gifts for Christmas that might be a little more meaningful & special this Christmas season.

4 gift rule for Christmas

This post, Four Christmas Gift Rule (with a Meaningful Twist), was originally posted here in 2014.

Meaningful Gifts Matter

I love meaningful gifts – it’s the reason for my list of meaningful gift ideas for YOUR parents.  I feel the same way about our children.  We all want to give memorable, meaningful, good Christmas gifts that are thoughtful & sincere.

I don’t want to go Christmas shopping and buy toys and gifts “just to buy” them, which you probably already know if you’ve read my list of non-toy ideas. 

Sometimes, things need to scale back a bit in order to be appreciated more, and that is what today’s post is all about.

Set a Four Gift Rule for Christmas.

As parents, 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”?  

Child holding one of the 4 christmas gift idea

The kids get Santa gifts, plus gifts from their parents, their grandparents, aunts, uncles, extended family, friends, etc.   We love holiday shopping and gift-giving, but it often ends up with children receiving SO many gifts. Lots of gifts and presents under the tree aren’t always a good idea.  Sometimes, kids can get so much that they stop appreciating any of it.  It almost becomes expected.  

It seems that it can easily turn from “I’m so excited” to “What else has my name on it?”   The appreciation seems to get buried under the pile of presents under the tree. 

So, for that reason, I wanted to share an alternative idea of 4 gifts for Christmas.

I had always heard of the
three-gift rule, but I wanted to add one more that could cover everything.

Why the 4 Christmas gift idea works so well…

It covers the things to get kids for Christmas without spending simply for the reason of spending.

This idea could work for you if you are looking for a way to cut back on the ‘mine, mine, mine’ that can sometimes accompany Christmas morning, if you are saving money, or even if you simply want to find a way to set a boundary or limit on the gift-giving.   

You can give a great gift (or four) that brings so much joy and creates amazing memories! 

Four Christmas Gift Rule (with a meaningful twist)

The (old) Four Christmas Gift Rule

I’m sure you’ve heard of the ‘four gifts for Christmas.’  Here’s the basic idea of that gift guide: 

  1. Something they want
  2. Something they need
  3. Something to wear (we changed this one… see the new list below)
  4. Something to read

However, we changed it just a bit. I took out the “wear” part. (When our kids need new clothes, we usually buy them when they need them. Kids grow so fast, sometimes growing a whole shoe size in less than two months, so they can’t wait for a holiday to get longer pants or bigger shoes.)

Plus, we had something else in mind. We wanted to give them an experience.  Experiences make the best gifts for kids. 

We decided to give the four-gift rule a little “makeover,” and we changed the WEAR to GO.

I wanted our kids to have an experience, a memory.  Science proves that experiences are more beneficial than gifts or toys for children, and I couldn’t agree more. 
A memory from experience is worth more money than toys will ever be worth… 

The (New) Four Gift Rule:

There are many things to get for Christmas, so I’ve narrowed it down to 4 things for Christmas with this list. This 4 gift rule for Christmas has a twist with the number three…

What are 4 gifts for Christmas?

The four gifts for Christmas should fit into the following categories (one gift per category).

  1. Something they want
  2. Something they need
  3. Somewhere to go (our favorite!)
  4. Something to read

Something they want:

If they already 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, until we finished opening our gifts in the living room. It was a Christmas Day ‘Morning Tradition’.

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 the next three categories, I’m going to share some 4 Gift Rule for Christmas Ideas. Hopefully, the list of Christmas gift ideas for kids below will give you a place to start or spark new ideas for you & your family!

Ideas for ‘Something They Want’…

Here are some ideas for the “Something They Want” category in the

Something they need:

  • Something for a sport that they are playing
  • A new desk or desk chair for their bedroom
  • New basketball shoes
  • A new baseball bat
  • A gymnastics mat to practice
  • A new bedding set
  • A small laptop for schoolwork
  • A new backpack.
Child opening the 4 gifts for Christmas

Somewhere to go:

I love the idea of buying gifts that create memories.  Did you know that studies prove that it’s better for your kids & family if you can spend your money on a vacation than on toys?

I’d rather spend money on “adventures” instead of “things,” therefore the new rule of “somewhere to go” is our favorite.  It may not be one of the things kids put on their wish list for Christmas, but it is one that they will love more than the gift.   They just didn’t realize it at the time.

As the children 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 thrown in a toy box in a month.

  • Camping
  • Tickets to an amusement park
  • A note that says, “We are going to the beach!” or a picture of your destination. 
  • Tickets to the movies
  • Season passes to a sporting event
  • Tickets to a play
  • Roller skates with a “We’re going skating!” note

Something to read:

Our kids love to read, so I never mind spending money on books throughout the year. The holiday season is an excellent time for “extras.”

Another idea, as I mentioned before, is to do three gifts, like the three wise men.

My friend gives three Christmas presents to each of her kids (for the Three Wise Men), and she said it’s worked wonderfully for them for years. They also buy a family gift, which is usually one large gift for the family.

In the past, the family gift has been things like a trampoline, a camera, a new TV, or a game system.  These were gifts that the entire family could enjoy.

I think it’s a great idea.

No matter which gift option you pick… 3, 4, or 20, it’s what is best for your family.

I want Christmas morning to always be special to our kids, and I know that it isn’t the presents that make it special…

Christmas Morning Traditions:

  • Baking Christmas Cookies
  • Going to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas day
  • Eating my mom’s breakfast casserole
  • Watching Christmas Story over & over while the kids play
  • Playing in the snow (building an igloo in the snow!)
  • Making hot chocolate several times that day
  • Listening to Christmas songs
  • Letting the kids stay in their PJ’s all day long
  • Visiting with their grandparents when they come over to see the kids
  • Calling their cousins to talk about their favorite thing
  • Playing cards and board games

Those things matter to us, and I want those to be the memories the kids carry with them.   

Ps- On top of the four gifts for Christmas, we will also be filling stockings.  These will be small gifts – you can check out our 50+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas here.

More Christmas Ideas…

50+ non-toy ideas 

non toy gifts

Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas:50 stocking stuffers the kids will LOVE!
Meaningful Gifts for YOUR Parents: Meaningful Christmas gifts for YOUR parents who already have everything 1

More Christmas Ideas…

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. This is a great idea for the kids for Christmas! I also love that car and the fact that you can play Pandora on it, seems so realistic.

    Giving them somewhere to go is such a neat way of giving them a gift but not receiving it until a later time. Makes the giving season seem even longer still. Thank you for this post and idea!