Looking to Scale Back Your Family's Christmas? Follow This Simple 4 Gift Rule

4 Gift Rule for Christmas

When the holidays roll around each year, we all feel the pressure to give our children a magical, memorable Christmas. Sometimes, that means we end up putting a ridiculous number of gifts under the tree. I mean, we all want to see those little faces light up, right? But if you think back to previous Christmases, how many of those gifts were played with for a day or two and then cast aside? How many were broken within the first week? (I’ve lost count with our youngest!) So, wouldn’t it be better to give our children fewer, but more thoughtful, gifts that they’ll REALLY love and appreciate?

After chatting with many friends and family members, I noticed we’re all looking for ways to scale back the number of gifts we buy for our kids. Whether for financial reasons, to reduce clutter in the house, or just simply because they don’t NEED all that STUFF!

My sister-in-law showed me “The 4 Gift Rule" for kids at Christmas that she saw online. I had come across it as well and we both agreed, it's pretty awesome! The concept is simple: 

One thing they WANT.

One thing they NEED.

One thing they’ll WEAR.

One thing they’ll READ.

I like this idea because not only does it have a fun rhyme (I’m a sucker for all things catchy!), but it helps to keep spending under control and teaches our kids that Christmas isn’t all about presents.

Stuck on what you would buy in each category? Here are some ideas for each to help you get started!

WANT – Think of this as the BIG item. Maybe they’ve been asking for a new bike or a giant doll house. Or maybe they want that big Jurassic World Lego Set and you’ve been patiently waiting for it to go on sale, but it hasn’t yet (hypothetically speaking of course…). This item is that ONE thing they really want. The one item that will make their face light up!

NEED – Giving kids something they need can also translate to, well, a 'boring' gift. But it doesn’t have to be! Think sports equipment they need, like cool hockey socks, tape or a new stick! Or maybe something related to a hobby, like a new art set for a budding artist, an apron for your little baker, or maybe some picks for a guitar lover.

WEAR – Clothes can also be considered a boring gift, so make this one something you wouldn’t normally buy them. Maybe it's a new hoodie or a pair of jeans from their favourite brand name. A jersey of their favourite sports team or player. Funky socks, sweet slippers, or cozy jammies!

READ – We love encouraging reading in our home, so our boys always unwrap something to read at Christmas. Our oldest loves reading and has a book wish list – Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter etc. Our youngest isn’t as in love with reading as his brother, but he’s shown interest in graphic novels. So, we keep this in mind when picking out books. If they aren’t ready for books yet, try a fun magazine subscription! Or maybe a Kindle if they’re a little bit older. Whatever gets them reading!

Four gifts this Christmas. That’s it! With just four gifts to buy for each child, it gives you more time to enjoy all the things that matter most this holiday season.


Picture of Linsey De Ruysscher

Author: Linsey De Ruysscher

Linsey is a happily married mother of two living in Plainfield, ON. When she’s not busy chasing her two crazy boys, she’s running her own freelance writing company, Little Miss Creative. In her downtime, she enjoys tea, backyard BBQs, watching Friends reruns, and hanging out with her family and friends. Oh, and candy.

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