4 Christmas gift rule – something you want something you need – download and use the free printable and start a new family tradition.
I love Christmas – don’t get me wrong – but is anyone else sick of buying too much stuff that doesn’t get touched?
Sure, our kids love tearing the wrapping paper off, and it’s exciting, but they don’t really like (or need) everything they get.
Instead, we’ve been looking to focus on quality gifts over quantity.
Do you think this could work for your family?
4 Christmas Gift Rule: want, need, wear, read
You can use the four gift Christmas rule to help set an idea of what people wish for.
When I was a kid, I have to admit that I loved looking through the toy pages in the Argos catalogue and listing out stuff from every single page.
Did I actually want it? Probably not!
Did I get it all? I don’t remember (although likely not).
What I do remember are individual stand out gifts – the one thing I actually wanted and treasured.
This is where the four presents Christmas gift rule might work:
Something you want
The first item on the wish list is the big-ticket item, the hot toy, and the one gift they’d like more than anything.
It’s the thing they are really desperate for and would absolutely love (although it doesn’t have to be the most costly, just the most wanted).
What one thing have they been asking for and really, really want?
Ideas could include:
- Action figures
- Favourite character toy
- Video game
- Games console
- Electronic device
- Soft toy
- Board games
Something you need
For a need gift, they’re looking to get something necessary to help them along in some way.
Maybe an item to support a hobby, something for school or learning.
Ideas could include:
- School supplies
- Musical instrument/sheet music
- Sports equipment
- Art supplies
Something to wear
I think this is self-explanatory.
Shoes, tops, trousers – what would they like to wear?
It’s doesn’t need to be an item of total necessity, but something that suits their style and that they like.
You could look to get them:
- Dressing gown
- Football kit
Something to read
You’re not just looking to get a fiction book.
There are lots of different kinds of ways to get kids into reading.
- Magazine subscription
- Comic book/graphic novel
- Poetry book
Sample Christmas wish list
Here’s a sample of the free printable wish list with gift ideas children could ask for.
You can download a blank copy from below.
Will it save you money?
It’s an expensive time of the year, with the average Brit spending £1,116 on Christmas.
According to a YouGov poll, £381.60 of that is on presents alone.
While we talk about saving money on this website, the four gift rule may save you cash, but it’s not necessarily about being ultra-tight.
It’s more about setting criteria for gifts and enabling you to be more controlled and thoughtful with spending.
I have been THE WORST in the past.
I know what the kids kinda want as they draw up lists. But, to try and spread the cost, I would buy random extra stuff throughout the year because I saw it as a bargain.
The gifts turn into another thing that’ll sit under the Christmas tree and make it look festive.
Essentially, for years, I ended up buying stuff that the kids never really touched.
It was a true waste of money.
Using a principle like this for Christmas presents can ensure we don’t waste money, have unnecessary clutter at home, and it saves us from overconsuming.
Benefits of a four gift rule
For the children, it can teach them about being more thoughtful with what they’d want, reducing the idea of consumerism.
Kids (and adults if they want to make a list) spend time thinking about what they would like to get.
It can also help people buy fewer gifts, such as smellies or random gift sets, that aren’t necessarily wanted.
Do you struggle with this: child 1 has 20 gifts and child 2 has 22, so I need to get more to even it out?
Following a set Christmas wish list rule ensures that everyone gets all the gifts equally.
You might find using a gifting rule reduces stress in the build-up to Christmas as you don’t need to shop as much.
It’s a greener, more eco-conscious way of doing Christmas.
You will cut down on clutter and random things that build up in the home over the year, potentially ending up in the landfill.
(As an added benefit, you’ll save your back from being bent over wrapping up too much stuff!)
Are there any issues with this type of gift giving?
Is the four Christmas gift rule a new tradition that will make the kids happy?
Is it a smart move or outright penny pinching gone too far?
Free want, need, wear, read printable
Want to try out the four gift rule?
Here’s a free printable you can use to help create Christmas lists for your family.
Right-click and save to your computer, or hold and save to your phone.
Free want, need, wear, read Christmas wish list PDF download
That’s up to you. We give some gifts from us, and smaller, stocking ones from Father Christmas.
With 5 gifts for Christmas, it follows the same principle as the 4 gift rule. The list is:
The usual something I want, need, read, wear and “something to do” added.
This allows for a gift specific to a day out or some kind of family activity.
The 7 gift rule for Christmas extends things further:
Something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read, something to do, something for me, something for the family.
You could adapt and make your own criteria.
In a simpler way to do minimalised gifting, you’re focussing on something they want, something they need, and something to read.
The idea for the three gift rule potentially came about as a way to mirror the three gifts the wise men gave in the bible story.
I suppose that all depends on you. However, I’ve found that childrens’ wants (and needs) get a lot more expensive as they get older.
As a 4-year-old, my daughter wanted a present that looked massive but was relatively cheap vs the teenager whose want was tiny but cost a lot. You may want to factor in some kind of budget per child, based on their age.
A Christmas Eve box is different to presents under the tree on Christmas morning and could complement/add more gifts, although it’s essential.
It’s given on 24th December and is a box with things such as PJs (you could always get matching Christmas pyjamas to be more fun), fluffy socks, a festive film (or credit token, if you don’t want to get a DVD), a Christmassy book, hot chocolate/marshmallows.
The box gets the family snuggled and relaxed in the evening before Christmas.
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