Christmas is almost here!
Man, it is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here! I feel like I was just trying to figure out what summer camps to send the kids too.
Recently I have been trying to purge things in our house that we no longer use or need. I try to do this a bit every year before Christmas to make room for all the things my kids will get for Christmas and their birthdays (we have 4 out of 5 kids birthdays between November and March). It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate with 5 kids.
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I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas.
My husband and I both suffer from the “we didn’t get this as kids” syndrome. So we have had a tendency over the years to overdo things when it comes to buying things for our kids. Downright spoil them sometimes.
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Don’t overspend on your kid’s Christmas gifts again this year!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and wish I could give them anything and everything they ask for.
“What’s that honey, you want a pony, of course!”
“A new $1,000 BMX bike, SURE!”
But let’s be realistic here, giving them whatever they want is impractical for a few reasons.
- I can’t always afford to buy them everything they want. Ponies can get pretty pricey.
- Their behavior doesn’t always warrant expensive gifts (ok, it rarely does).
- It also doesn’t teach them the value of anything!
Plus, they don’t just get gifts from us. They get things from grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc…, and of course, SANTA.
That adds up to A LOT of gifts!
So last year, my husband and I decided to do things a little differently when it comes to gift giving. Instead of the preset amount and buying them a bunch of useless crap they will probably play with for a whole week (or 5 minutes) and then forget about or break, they get 4 things!
You heard me right.
- Something they want, based on a preset and reasonable amount.
- Something they need, like something they actually need that I probably would have gotten them anyways.
- Something to wear, maybe something they have wanted for a while that I have been putting off buying them.
- Something to read, a book, magazine subscription, whatever, as long as it keeps their attention, and is educational of course.
With 5 kids, we have accumulated SO MUCH STUFF over the years between Christmas, Birthdays, and hand me downs from friends and family members. It makes me want to cry sometimes when I go through toys and try to clean and realize how much stuff we have bought over the years that never gets used!
I have been pleasantly surprised as to how much they seem to appreciate our new form of gift giving. I know I personally remember what we have gotten them rather than forgetting about it 5 seconds later.
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And if you ask them what they got for Christmas, they can actually tell you rather than just shrug and say “I dunno…”
Not only do I feel like this keeps our spending in check, but it also shows our kids that Christmas is not JUST about getting a butt-load of gifts. It’s about being thankful and appreciating what you do have.
This can be used for gifting for Birthdays also, or really any kind of gifting occasion.
We also try to instill this in our extended family as well.
“What do the kids want for Christmas?” is a question I used to dread every year. But doing the whole, need, want, read, and wear thing has made it a whole lot easier.
I simply make Amazon gift lists based on this concept and send away to the purchasing parties. Or advise them to purchase gift certificates or help to pay for their extracurricular activities (dance, gymnastics, BMX, theatre, Scouts, etc…). Their activities are something they are passionate about and love doing, so why not ask family members to support that?
Have you tried the 4 gift method? How did it go over in your household?
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