As much as you love your children, as much as you want to give them everything in the world you know that doing so will be damaging to their growth. Many parents don’t face this challenge during early childhood, however, as their children grow older the prevailing question that they all have floating in the air is exactly how many gifts to give on Christmas.
It is recommended to give your children between 3 to 5 gifts for Christmas as this balances out the quality of the gifts but ensures that you aren’t spoiling them. Usually, parents prefer to stick to the rule of four as this makes it consistent and as your children grow up you can change how the gifts work. When children are still young each gift can be on their own, however, as they grow older the gifts should work towards completing one larger gift.
Some many rules and guides have been made for the parent to easily and comfortably control how their children are receiving gifts. Many times parents learn when and how to give their children gifts that will ensure they are happy and enjoying the Christmas holidays. It is always vital to remember that the larger your family Christmas is the more likely it is that your children will receive more gifts.
What is the 4-gift rule?
The four is a rule many parents follow to ensure that the gifts their children receive are not so overwhelming that they become bored of opening gifts. Some time as your children grow up there will be a Christmas morning where they have received so many gifts that the mere act of having to open everything becomes too much. (source: Happy You Happy Family)
This is where the four gifts are planned out to complete something specific, usually being something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. This limits the number of presents that each child at the Christmas party gets but also ensures that the gifts they are receiving will be greatly loved and used.
A lot of children are overwhelmed with the sheer number of gifts that they receive on Christmas, with many unable to even process all the gifts they have received on the day. These will be the moments where you see your child opening the 10th gifts and robotically saying thanks to whoever was on the card. Ruining the day not only for your children but taking the joy out of giving gifts.
How do you limit how many gifts you buy?
There are several challenges you will face when starting to implement limitations on how many gifts you are going to gift your children. Making sure that everyone does get what they need, and that the other parents, grandparents, and friends aren’t going to get something that might outdo your gifts or be so far out of what is wanted that the gift is forgotten. Usually, you will find that these techniques are naturally implemented by other parents.
Having a good strategy for how gifts are chosen, when gifts are chosen, and what the best way will be to choose gifts can go a long way. A lot of people meet a few weeks with all the other parents that will be at the party to ensure that everyone understands what needs to happen. With phones and the internet ensuring that every child is completely happy with their gifts is a lot more important than getting as many gifts as possible. (Source: Market Watch, Mother)
Make a list
Possibly the easiest thing to do before Christmas start is to create a list of all the gits that you know your children either need or want. As you create the list it may be a good idea to test the waters, asking and poking around until you learn what your children want, and learning what they need. Once Christmas draws closer you can simply share this list with family and friends, coordinating who buys what gift.
This ensures that everyone in the family, and friends group, exactly what is needed without buying too much. Further, you can help out those in the group that may not be able to afford expensive gifts for every child and have them buy something smaller that is just as much wanted as the most expensive item on the list.
Usually, this is the part of gift-giving that people want to forget about, but financial planning over the Christmas holiday is one of the most important parts of the season. Having a good set of plans and limits is possibly the most creative thing you can do, simply because limitations breed creativity. Most groups of parents come together before Christmas parties and agree to gift price limits.
Doing so ensures that everyone can afford to buy gifts for everyone and as the children grow older it limits the more expensive gifts that can appear. A blanket rule that is usually applied is having the most expensive gifts be given at the parent’s homes when at a get-together only the planned gifts are given. Everyone remembers the one Christmas where they got a nice sweatshirt and their cousin got the new battery-powered, remote control ultra-truck that can drive through a brick wall.
Consider Quality over quantity
This is something that most parents start learning as their children exit toddlerhood and enters being pre-teen and teenager. The quality of the gifts shifts from something that may only last a year of being played with into something that will easily last several years. Usually in the pre-teen ages for modern children will be when they receive their first consoles, computer, or even a smartphone.
This impacts the gifts that are given greatly as even four low-quality gifts should be forgotten about if you can only provide one high-quality gift. If others are buying gifts during the holiday period you must communicate the shift as well. This usually alleviates that pressure of gift-giving as well, simply because the field of what to buy narrows so much.
Fewer toys encourage stronger growth
It is against everything we know as parents, but too much of something can discourage healthy growth. Having fewer toys available, say around 4, will encourage healthier growth for your children as this limits the excitement and allows them to enjoy the gifts they are receiving.
Many times you will see that children that are constantly flooded with gifts are unable to enjoy what they are getting. Each gift becomes a chore to open, whereas fewer gifts mean excitement and joy with each unwrapping. Having the perfect set of gifts will always be a million times more powerful than having thousands of gifts that are all hit or miss.
What if you can’t afford Christmas gifts?
Don’t be ashamed if you cannot get your children gifts this year, or any other year, it happens, and challenges mean that there are more important items that you need to buy for your house over the holiday season. Instead offer time to be spent with your children or create alternative plans than the gift-giving exchange. Usually, when families know someone is struggling they will plan around the gifting event to ensure no one feels left out. (Source: A Few Shortcuts)
As your children grow older it will be extremely beneficial, to be honest with them, not in an angry way, but telling them why you cannot afford to give gifts this year will go a long way. Not only will they learn to appreciate the gifts that they do receive, but they won’t be confused. Many times children will easily understand what is happening and will not be phased by the event.
Once you have an understanding with your children taking them to places that are exciting or thrilling may be more rewarding than anything else. Free events are always held during the Christmas season, and can sometimes be more exciting than almost anything else. If you do feel pressured to get a gift though, selling off older toys and unused items to buy something might be a good channel into buying new gifts for your children.
Your children will always be happy with whatever they are getting, as long as they are taught to love what they have. Fewer gifts, that are of a higher quality will always be better over the Christmas season than anything else. Working towards having the perfect holiday season will mean that you are not sacrificing or cutting corners.
Whatever you do, having a clear line of communication with your children will mean a great deal more than anything you can buy that will be forgotten in a year.