The 4 Gift Rule Keeps Christmas Simple
You Don't Have To Spend A Lot To Have Fun
It's that time of year again! If you are like me, this time of year can be pretty stressful trying to budget gifts for your family. Sometimes that stress can make the holiday a little less fun. But it doesn't have to be that way!
A few years ago, money was really, really, REALLY tight. I had no idea how I was going to pull off a holiday for my kids. I wasn’t able to afford much, maybe $50 per kid and even that was stretching it.
I’m good at finding bargains and I am good at making my money go far. The problem was, I really had no money. Hard to stretch money when it isn’t there.
This year will be similar. I lost my job this year so that income is gone. I will have to work hard doing freelance writing to pull off yet another fun filled holiday. Yay.
This is why I am glad I started a gift giving tradition that makes it so my kids know what to expect and don’t hand me a list of major demands of gifts I could never afford.
The 4 Christmas Gifts
- Something you want.
- Something you need.
- Something to wear.
- Something to read.
That’s it. That’s what they get for Christmas. Well that plus one gift from Santa and new jammies on Christmas Eve.
They also know that Santa has a budget so no asking for the new Play Station 4. Santa can’t afford that.
My parents and sisters also give them presents. Way too many in my opinion. I could probably get them nothing and they’d still have more than enough presents to open on Christmas morning.
They know they can ask for things that go on that list. I’ll give some examples of what I get for them in each category.
Something You Want
This is where they can pick one thing they really want. Their “big” present from me. Depending on the year, I have to set a price limit for this.
Last year my oldest wanted a smart watch and I found one for a good price so he got that. This year he wants some video game console. That’s not happening. I am thinking a $20 limit for this year might have to happen.
Something You Need
Do my kids NEED anything? No, they absolutely do not. But if your kid has been needing a new backpack or something like that, this might be a good time to get them that.
I normally give them bath sets with bubble bath and new scrubbies. That’s about all they really need. You know you have a good life when all you really NEED is soap.
Something To Wear
Last year my son wanted new rain boots. That’s all he asked for when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas. Rain boots. I can do that. Though I don’t think he ever actually wore the boots but whatever.
Another year, my other son asked for a robe. Easy enough. I found one for $10 and that was his “something to wear”.
If they don’t have something specific they want that falls into this category, I normally buy them a new hoodie to wear to school. Who doesn’t love a new hoodie?
Something To Read
I might go a bit crazy with buying books. There is no such thing as having too many books in our house. If you want a book, I will never say no to buying it.
I never spend a lot on books though. Buying used is the way to go. My oldest really likes the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and I was able to buy him the full set for very little at AbeBooks, an online used book shop.
I also check out rummage sales and look at the kids’ Scholastic book orders they get from school. I don’t think you even have to have a kid in school to order from there and they have really good deals!
Instead of books, you can also sign them up for a magazine subscription. My mom did that one year and it was fun to get a new magazine each month.
If you can afford more for you kids, go for it. However, I find that having a few, well thought out gifts on Christmas morning seems to be a bit more special that having heaps of gifts to unwrap.
It all just gets lost and forgotten a few days after Christmas. You can get them every little thing they want off of their lists but are they really going to use it all?
Why not get them one thing they really, really want so they appreciate it more? Four things might not seem like a lot but with all the stuff from Santa and stockings, they have more than they really need.
Christmas really isn’t about the gifts around here. We love the tradition of getting up early, eating some cinnamon rolls, and listening to Christmas music as we open up our gifts.
We then spend the day reading our new books and the kids play with their new toy. We still have things to open but that isn’t what our day is centered around.
If you are tight on money this year, why not start implementing this gift giving tradition?