4 gift rule: want, need, wear, read

4 gift rule: want, need, wear, read
Photo courtesy of http://simplekids.net/.

4 gifts: one he wants, one she needs, one to wear, one to read. Why Clement C. Moore couldn’t have fit this rule into “The Night Before Christmas” is beyond me.

Here are four reasons why I like the four gift rule:


  1. It teaches gratitude. The fewer things you have, the more appreciative you are. I wouldn’t suggest that you let your kid go all winter with one pair of socks, but it is okay to leave them wanting.
  2. It gives clear expectations. If you adopt this as family tradition, then your children will be used to it. When they’re old enough, they can write their list accordingly. The dorky bookworm in me loves that they must request a book.
  3. It keeps spending in check. Any routine or rule that you want to impose impart onto your children also has an effect on you. In this case, a positive effect on your pocketbook. You know you buy four gifts per kid. Your kids know they receive four gifts. You and your partner discuss the budget. Done and done. Just remember…
  4. We already have too much crap. Having just moved from the city to the ‘burbs, we have a lot more room now. In fact, a whole playroom! Ask me how many days of the week that playroom (and all of it’s contents) are ignored for the same two toys that reside in the living room cabinet.

Less is more.

I will always remember a friend’s Facebook status: she posted a picture of her daughter, playing with the silverware drawer. “I swear, we buy her toys” was the caption.

Yesterday, we spent $45 for my husband, son, and me to see a children’s version of “The Nutcracker.” No wrapped parcel that I put beneath that tree will give him the same thrill, or warm our hearts, as that experience gift did.

Want. Need. Wear. Read. Happy shopping 🙂

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