Would You Consider the 4 Gift Rule for Christmas?

Jill Holtz

November 29, 2020

4 gift rule for Christmas

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Are you looking for ways to cut down on the amount of Christmas gifts you give your kids? Maybe you have been thinking about sustainability and being more selective about what you buy. Or perhaps budgets are tight and you need to find ways to keep costs down. Either way, the 4 gift rule for Christmas is an option you might be interested in – see what Mykidstime parents had to say!

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I don’t know about you but Christmas has definitely changed since we were children. The amount of presents seems to have grown exponentially and I definitely have felt the pressure to buy as my daughters have grown up. Which is silly really because the volume of presents isn’t what Christmas is about.

So I was interested to read about the 4 Gift Rule and to think about applying that in our house.

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What is The 4 Gift Rule?

The aim of The 4 Gift rule is to simplify shopping and to keep you from over buying and over spending. You won’t be buying unnecessary gifts just for the sake of it either.

“I do this every year, it works really well. You spend less and it’s not just a bunch of toys they’re going to play with once and then throw in the corner” – Cassie, Mykidstime parent

#1. Something They Want

This is the big ticket item, the thing they really covet. One of this year’s hot toys or game or device.

#2. Something They Need

They might need some equipment for a sport or a hobby they enjoy, or some Spotify credit, or a new musical instrument.

#3. Something to Wear

New trainers, a new coat, some sports gear, or perhaps this is something a bit different that you wouldn’t normally buy.

#4. Something to Read

Books are such great presents for children and teens. Reading opens them up to new worlds and ways of thinking.

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4 Gift Rule at Christmas

If you feel this is a bit too limiting, or you want to go beyond four gifts, you could expand the list with an extended guide.

“We do something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read, something to do, something to me, and something for the family.” – Kate, Mykidstime parent

Something to Do

Experiences are the real memories. This could be a membership to somewhere fun, a “voucher” to use on an experience of their choice. Or give them a Yes Day voucher.

Something for Me

You could gift your child a keepsake. something personal like a letter or a personalised photo book, or a little ornament for the Christmas tree to enjoy each year.

Something for the Family

This could be a new board game, something fun for the garden, a movie to watch together, or an outing you will all go on.

Something Sweet

After all, it is nice to give some chocolate or a selection box at Christmas time. Or you could go with a homemade treat like a cookie mix jar to have fun baking together.

Something to Share

Maybe budgets won’t stretch to lots of individual gifts, but you can buy something all the kids will enjoy together and share.

“I do something to watch, read, wear, make, do and eat. At least if I’ve done three or four, I know there’s a variety.” – Tina, Mykidstime parent

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Some of the Many Benefits of the 4 Gift Rule

teaching your child gratitude

  • It keeps costs down
  • It teaches thankfulness and gratitude.
  • It really focuses everyone on what’s important about Christmas rather than just on presents.
  • It’s greener, you aren’t buying a whole bunch of gifts that won’t be used properly.
  • It teaches the value of thoughtfulness behind presents, rather than gifting for the sake of it.
  • You’ll have less clutter in your house!
  • It definitely makes present shopping simpler!
  • Everyone in the family gets the same amount of presents.
  • Your child will probably think harder about the things they really want.
  • A simpler Christmas morning, it’ll be more enjoyable without a big frenzied opening.
  • You’ll have less to clean up when you’ve finished opening presents.
  • Your child will appreciate what they have more.

Alternatives to the 4 Gift Rule

If money is tight but you don’t want to do the 4 Gift Rule, you could do these instead:

Kris Kringle / Secret Santa

This is where each family member buys one present for one other person for a set budget.

Put together a Holiday Bucket List

Everyone contributes to a list of low-cost things you are going to do together during the holidays, e.g. visit a museum, check out all the Christmas lights, bake gingerbread cookies, etc.

Go to the Movies

Many good films come out around this time of year so make an outing out of seeing the latest big film and enjoy time together.

Set Aside Some Gifts

Set aside some gifts to come out later during Christmas Day so they aren’t all opened at once. This can be quite a nice way of extending the celebrations and gift opening without the frenzy at the start of the day.

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Have your say! Have you done the 4 Gift Rule in your house? How has it worked for you? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

4 gift rule for Christmas

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Published On: November 29th, 2020 / Categories: Lifestyle / Last Updated: April 1st, 2021 / Tags: /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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