The 4 Gift Rule For Christmas – The Secret To Give The Best Gifts

Christmas Gift Rules

The four gift rule for Christmas is an awesome idea for so many reasons. It really changed and improved the way we shopped for Christmas gifts in our family. It also really reduced the stress of wondering if we got enough and if what we got will make the kids happy. After all, one of every parent’s Christmas joys is to see their kids super happy on Christmas day!

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How Many Gifts Should You Get At Christmas

The number of gifts you and your family members receive on Christmas is unique to your family. I really don’t believe there is a correct universal number.

When my kids are young, quantity seems to trump quality. So, we wrap many small gifts because their joy is simply in opening stuff. We even let them open our gifts because it seemed to be the best part of the day for them.

As they get older, quality now becomes more important than quantity and so the four gift rule really helps to get them the best.

How Many Gifts Should Santa Give?

Again, this would ultimately be your family’s choice. Here are some ideas from other families of how many gifts Santa can give your child:

  • One gift – usually the one they write to Santa asking for
  • One gift wrapped and other small gifts in their stockings
  • All of the gifts come from Santa
  • Three gifts
  • Varies every year

In our home, from our kids’ first Christmas, Santa gives one gift. We didn’t have a plan or discussion about this and it just happened like that and it has worked out well. They know that Santa has lots of kids to visit and they think it’s pretty practical to receive one gift each from Santa. Our kids are 6, 4, and 1 so right now they’re all still more excited about tracking Santa, leaving cookies and the mystery of how he visits all these kids.

What Is The Four Gift Rule

The four gift rule is basically 4 rules or categories that each person would receive a gift from. It helps to guide your shopping and also manages everyone’s expectations.

The four categories to focus on:

  1. Something you want
  2. Something you need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read

Something You Want

I’m sure your kids will have no problems with this category! If you have young kids, most likely they’ll choose a toy. Help them decide by letting them know that instead of getting lots of toys, they can ask for a good quality toy that they’ve been wanting for a while. Some ideas:

  • Toys
  • Electronics
  • Games
  • Bike

Something You Need

For younger kids, this may be a little tricker. But this can also be a great time to explain the difference between wants and needs. You can give some ideas and let your kids choose. Some ideas:

  • Toiletries
  • Start or add to a savings fund
  • Stationary
  • Art Supplies
  • School Supplies

Something To Wear

Who doesn’t always need or want something to wear? It can be a need, like underwear or a want, like a fancy dress or jacket. Some ideas:

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pajamas
  • Dress
  • T Shirt
  • Shirt
  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Shoes

Something To Read

This is a great one! From young to old, this is such a great gift to give to keep their minds active and keep them inquisitive. Some ideas:

  • Picture books
  • Sound books
  • Story books
  • Facts books
  • Comic books
  • Novels
  • Subscriptions
The 4 Gift Rule For Christmas

benefits of The Four Gift Rule For Christmas

The four gift rule or any variation of it, provide families and loved ones with some great benefits. Just to mention a few:

  • Simplify gift search
  • Can help you set and stick to a budget
  • Make gifts more meaningful, thoughtful, and intentional
  • Helps set the foundation of ‘less is more’
  • Eliminates the expectations of having a certain number or more than a certain number of gifts. Once you’ve opened 4 gifts, you know that’s the end of opening gifts and it’s time to enjoy what you’ve received.

These rules can be also be extended to other occasions:

Variations To The Four Gift Rule

Many families have used the four gift rule as inspiration and have tailored it to best suit them. Variations range from the three gift rule to the 10 gift rule. In addition to the four gift rule some families add rules like:

  1. Something to do or experience
  2. Something to make
  3. Something to give to others
  4. Something to do for others
  5. Something to play as a family

What To Do When Your Kids Expect More Gifts?

If you want to start using the four gift rule and your child is already accustomed to receiving more than four gifts for Christmas each year, then speaking to them about the change is probably best. You can explain the rules and benefits to them and chat some more with them about the meaning of Christmas and what’s important.

When our kids transitioned from just wanting to open gifts to wanting to play and enjoy the gifts, it was not difficult to implement the four gift rule. We chose to get the kids involved in the rules. We explained it to them and they were really excited to choose something from each category.

Wrapping Up The Four Gift Rule

The 4 gift Christmas rule or any variation of it, is likely to become a family Christmas tradition. You don’t have to follow it closely every single year or for every occasion but it gives you a nice guide to follow. It really removes so much stress from the gift buy process and can free up so much time for you to enjoy more Christmas activities with your family.

Before you go, check out these other Christmas posts:

What about you? Have you tried the four gift rule? Or will you try it out this year ?

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