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Want, Need, Wear, Read: Why I Have Decided to Adopt the Four Gift Christmas Rule

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

If you have made it to this post today, you might be in my same position and are looking at your calendar and wondering how Christmas has arrived so soon? Can you believe that we will be trying to figure out where to put all of the things we acquire in just one short week?

Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? Are you all done OR are you like me and will start this Sunday, the 22nd? (LOL).

How Many Gifts Should A Kid Get For Christmas?

Christmas has definitely snuck up on me this year and with all of the things I have on my plate, I can't say that it's been a huge priority. As I have begun to give Christmas more thought and really honed in on our values (as a family) around life, needs vs. want, and how I want to raise my children on thankfulness and gratitude, I am starting to realize that I have been doing holidays (namely birthday's and Christmas) all wrong.

Every year, likely out of my own lack from childhood, I have piled present upon present under the Christmas tree for Wisdom, so proud of myself for all of the amazing gifts we were able to provide for her ONLY to see her rip through the gifts, toss them to the side and move on. Don't get me wrong, Wisdom is one of the most grateful children I know, but she is still a child and her attention span is about that of a gnat.

As she and I have spent the year in a tug o war over her room and all of the stuff she has accumulated over the years, I am finding that her struggle to keep her room clean isn't out of a lack of respect or care for her things, but mainly because she has SO much stuff there's no where for it to go.

Being well loved is a wonderful feeling, but that love doesn't always have to be attached to material possessions, so this year, we've decided to take a different approach. One that is focused on giving and provided meaningful moments with those we love and one that scales things WAY back so that we can practice gratitude in a more realistic way.

With a new family member this year, I have really been more mindful about how to approach holidays and traditions in a way that celebrate the girls but puts the focus on the actual holiday and less on what they receive because of it, which is why I fell in love with this idea of the four present approach for Christmas.

The Four Gift Christmas Rule

The Four Present Approach is the minimalistic approach to buying gifts for kids for Christmas, but can really be used for anyone in the family, especially if you have a large one.

The idea is that you buy a gift(s) in four main categories:

  1. Something your children want and have been asking for off of their Christmas list (a big present they can get excited about (and if you practice this, it could be from Santa).

  2. Something your children need and have needed over time. This could be the less traditional exciting gifts like socks and underwear or school supply re-ups of pencils and notebooks, but something they have been asking for that you know would be beneficial to their day to day lives.

  3. Something to wear. This would be clothes of all sorts, maybe a few outfits from head to toe and a pair of shoes ( we didn't go school shopping for Wisdom, so we plan to go a little heavier in this department).

  4. Something to read. Exciting books or magazines that interest them, a book title they have always wanted OR books that you think will help grow them in specific areas.

I am looking forward to putting this new way of seeing Christmas into practice this year. I think what will come out of it is an increase thankfulness for what is in front of us, very intentional gift giving and mindfulness around those gifts and a greater appreciation and respect for the effort and work that goes into providing these gifts!

I will report back after Christmas and update this blog post and let you know how it goes. Thank goodness the one who is most aware of Christmas is only seven, so if it totally flops I have many years in the future to make it up to her!

(and a few pics above of sweet Courage girl admiring our Christmas tree the morning after we put it up).

with strength, courage and wisdom,


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