Four Gifts ~ A gift giving rule for the holidays | The Life of K: Four Gifts ~ A gift giving rule for the holidays

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Four Gifts ~ A gift giving rule for the holidays


You may have heard of the Four Gifts rule or seen images on Pinterest, but what is it exactly and how do you buy ONLY 4 things? We've been doing this for years now and I'm going to share how we make it work for our family.

The premise is to limit giving to 4 things and follow the rhyme of giving the kids something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. When I was growing up we didn't always have a lot of money and so the commercialization of Christmas really irks me. And it breaks my heart thinking of the kids whose parents can't afford to get them all sorts of things and them wondering why Santa hates them. For the love of Christmas, please get your child ONE thing from Santa. Can we please all agree on that?

My kids are typical and want ALL THE THINGS! It bugs me but I get it. I want to get them all the things too. So this rule helps me from spending too much, but it also will teach them (hopefully!) to value the things they do get.

So how does it actually work? Well, every fall I start a list and I put down everyone's name that we need a gift for. Under the kids' names I put the words WANT NEED WEAR READ and I brainstorm ideas that fall under each category. I actually keep these lists in Google Drive and share with J so we can both put in ideas and update them.

The BOOK is normally the easiest present to buy. This year I chose The Day the Crayons Came Home (not an affiliate link) and just need to decide on a second book. In past years, the something to WEAR has been fun winter hats or socks. The WANT is the funnest - trying to figure out what toy the kids want most is tough, but we've done well so far. And the NEED ranges from a new toothbrush to underwear to bedding. This year I think it might be a lamp so they can read in bed.

We end up buying a few more things for each kid because they each get a gift from Santa and from each other, pjs on Christmas Eve, and stuff in their stockings. Don't worry, they aren't hard done by.

How do you decide how many gifts to buy? Have you used this rule before?

8 comments:

  1. I love this idea! Good explanation too, even if you end up buying more, it's a great rule of thumb. Now I need to start shopping...

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    1. I figured if we started this when the kids were small they'd know what to expect (and what not to expect!) on Christmas. Happy shopping!

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  2. I learned this rule from you and love it! Although I think my kids are too young. My personal quirk is that I feel weird that Santa brings abig present, if they ask for something magical or too big or whatever he's not gonna do it...so in our house Santa fills the stockings and people bring the presents. my eldest kid is only 3.5 and she doesn't want particular things yet (I'm expecting school will change that). So she'll get some things we know she'll love, loosely on the 4 things but maybe not all 4 as extended family will send lots. Last year it was too much and she didn't enjoy unwrapping so we want to avoid that this year. Keep it fun and low key, any gifts will be exciting and a big deal!

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    1. For us, starting early was a way of making it our tradition and not something sprung on the kids when they're older. AND keeping our spending in line over the years!

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  3. I'm interested in this rule too but I do find it's hard to separate the "want" from the "need" category. Still, it's a good guideline and helps keep things on the minimal side. My weakness is stockings - I will often think to myself, oh, I already have the four things for such-and-such child, but this cute necklace can go in her stocking! This year I'm trying to really keep stockings to candy, socks, and maybe one or two small toys. We'll see if that holds up :).

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    1. Ah! Yes the stockings can get a little crazy then! For us, the need sometimes blends with the want, but we try and make it something useful. A reading lamp for example isn't exactly on the kids' radar but they'll like it.

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  4. I think I almost have Adam convinced to do this, too!

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