The other day I read an article that challenges parents to save their money and give only 4 gifts to their kids for Christmas. The author talked about how, in the past, she was accustomed to showering her children with dozens and dozens of presents, until she decided that it wasn’t necessary and was going to limit it to just 4. Each gift would be from a set of categories; something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. After reading this article the first thought that popped into my head was “wow, it never occurred to me to give anyone 4 gifts for Christmas.” It seems like a lot to me, why do you need to give several gifts to anyone?
The more I thought about it the more I realized, it really depends on how extravagant each gift is. Something to read is an easy gift to agree with, books aren’t expensive and reading is always a great thing to encourage, plus they make great stocking stuffers. But the other 3 categories can be tricky because each one could easily be something expensive and over the top. For something they need and something to wear you can certainly make an effort to not go overboard, but how do you limit something they want? What if what they want is a really expensive item? I don’t know how the author of the article goes about selecting the want item, and I’m not saying don’t get your kids things that they want, I just think that it’s a potentially tricky line to walk if you set the expectation for your kids that they will receive several gift each year.
When I was growing up my parents always provided us with a great Christmas experience that included receiving a great gift. In general, each year we would receive one main gift and several small stocking stuffer items. And no we did not have huge oversized stockings, we had the standard size (actually they’re small based on today’s average) stockings that my mom would fill with candy and small items (this could be socks, a scarf, pj’s, etc.). Of course, when we were really little, we had a gift from mom and dad as well as a gift from Santa, as we grew up the Santa gift naturally went away but the gift from my parents always remains.
Now that my husband and I have embarked down the road of parenthood we are faced with the question, how much is too much? I’ll most likely take the example from my parents; my son will get one gift from us, one from Santa, and a few stocking stuffer items. Of course the key will be not to go overboard on those two gifts. And I’m pretty sure that this year he will only get one gift, no stocking stuffers or gift from Santa, I mean he’s only one so he doesn’t even know who Santa is yet.
So my question to you is how much is too much? It’s easy to go overboard because we all want to spoil our kids, but how do you decide where to draw the line?