Wednesday, December 10, 2014

want, need, wear, read gift guide for kids

in 2010 when our children were 4 and 1, we started the tradition of giving them just four gifts at Christmas. something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

Gift Guide for Kids

it has been one of the best decisions we've made. paring down the gift craze at Christmas has made it easier for our family to focus on the real reason for the season. when Christmastime starts to show up in stores and in our mailbox, our kids get that little inkling that it's time to (and okay to) start asking for presents and making wish lists. because it seems like that's what everyone else is doing. our four gift tradition, however, reigns that in. our four gift tradition has stopped the "wantsies" in their tracks. the boundaries of the gifts - want, need, wear, read - help our kids carefully consider every shiny new thing that catches their eye. is it a want? is it something i need? they know the things on their wish lists need to fit into those categories.

my kids love Christmas. they aren't pouting about gifts they aren't getting. their four gifts under the tree don't make my kids feel like they're getting less than everyone else. they have not complained once about this tradition. quite the opposite, actually. they are more grateful for each of their four gifts than i remember them being when there were dozens of presents under the tree. we teach Jesus and giving all year, and this tradition carries the attitude of gratitude into Christmas, and helps them fight off the temptation of greed or comparison or discontent. 

the four gifts Christmas tradition definitely helps us create the Christmas we want: simplified, meaningful, and memorable. no more excess. no more indulgence. no more greed. we can make much of little and keep Jesus at the center when our focus isn't on more things.

my kids have a lot of fun making their wish list and putting the things into the want-need-wear-read categories, crossing things off if they don't fit, or creatively moving things around so they do fit a category. and! since we give just four gifts, the grandparents can go gift-crazy unapologetically.  

another great thing about the four gifts tradition? it makes Christmas shopping SO MUCH EASIER! and when it's easy, Christmas shopping is much more fun. i'm not wandering the toy store looking for ideas or wondering if this toy will be abandoned a few weeks after Christmas. i can shop with the confidence that the gifts are something they need, want, will wear, and will read. i've put together some ideas for WANT NEED WEAR READ gifts for kids... 

Gift Guide for Kids

American Girl doll, clothes, accessories // Lego Mixels // 
Barbie Dream House // drum set // iHome

Gift Guide for Kids
backpack, lunch box // art supplies // jewelry box // 
helmet and pads set // winter scarf, gloves, hat

Gift Guide for Kids
boots // ear phones // uniform - with a membership or free trial class // 
jewelry // dress-up costumes 

Gift Guide for Kids
Kindle // magazine subscription // classic books box set // 
recordable storybooks // first Bible // family year-long devotional

these are just a few ideas. (the READ gifts are always my favorite!) and when the four gifts are selected, if i come across other ideas that would make great gifts for my kids, i'll use it as a stocking stuffer or ask one of the Grandmas to get it for them.

my husband and i exchange want-need-wear-read gifts, too. maybe i'll put together some grown-up gift ideas?

happy shopping, merry Christmas, and make the most of it!