Four Gift Rule for Christmas

Focus on family this Christmas, not on the gifts

Every year, the holidays become more and more hectic. Parents struggle deciding what to get their kids for Christmas. The focus soon becomes “how can I afford this?” vs “do they need this?” The answer is to simplify. Simplify everything this Christmas, from gifts to gatherings. Focus on spending time instead of money.

A good policy is the four-gift rule for Christmas. Think of it as a guide for keeping the focus on family instead of gifts.

  1. Buy something they want
  2. Buy something they need
  3. Buy them something to wear
  4. Buy them something to read

That’s it. That’s all they get.

If your children are small, you won’t get much pushback. However, if you are buying for older kids, who are used to more extravagant Christmases, you may see a puzzled look or two. Talk with them and explain what you are trying to accomplish as a family. Ask them to participate and help choose gifts for your spouse or their siblings. Show them it’s about spending time on the other person, not spending money.

You can use this as an opportunity to encourage thankfulness and help them understand the importance of living on a budget. The beauty of the four-gift rule for Christmas is that you can modify it to fit your family.

Plus, the four-gift rule makes shopping simpler. You won’t be running around after work trying to make impossible dreams come true. You can spend the extra time making the entire Christmas season something your family looks forward to. Institute game nights and movie nights in December. Make time to prepare meals as a family and actually eat together. Show your family the season is much more than what’s at the bottom of a gift bag.

And remember the “something they want” could be a gift for the entire family. Like money towards a vacation fund, a night out riding go-carts, trip to the zoo, or a camping trip. Focus your efforts on togetherness and you’ll find that’s all your children really want, time with you.