A Simple Gift Giving Guide for Preschoolers: 4–Gift Rule

by Cindi Pennington on December 19, 2016

Gift Giving for Children

Buying Frenzy Takeover?

Have you ever gone shopping at Christmas and almost felt an urgency to buy more presents than you intended and spend way more than you planned? 

Why is it that a “buying frenzy” can overtake you in a moment? Well, first of all, it’s good marketing! Stores are packed with an amazing variety of “you-must-buy-me-now” items, especially at Christmas.

Take a deep breathe and before you ever step foot in a store or online shopping site, do some serious planning. Just a few moments of careful thought can make the holidays a lot more enjoyable for you and your prechooler.

A Simple Guide

This simple idea has popped up many places recently—and it’s a good one. Consider being more strategic in your gifting this year.

Buy them:
  1. Something they want

  2. Something they need

  3. Something to wear

  4. Something to read

That’s it? What? That doesn’t seem like much, does it? Well, that really is the beauty of it. It is a way to control spending. It also may make each of those gifts more meaningful. If you have been in the habit of giving way too many gifts, you will need to prepare your child for this new approach. 

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Using a Wish List for the 4-Gift Rule

Give them a wish list of these four categories and let them give you ideas.

I like what one family did: they gave each of their children four gifts at Christmas following the plan above. But on Christmas Eve each child had a special present to open containing new pajamas, a new movie to watch, hot cocoa and popcorn packets. What fun!

Or maybe you may want to use the 4-gift plan above but add a special Christmas stocking filled with little fun gifts like chap stick, lip balm, hair ribbons, jewelry, small Lego packs, or matchbox cars. Or consider adding some family gifts: a new game, a new movie, or a new piece of athletic equipment. 

This year, give thoughtfully so that the only gifts you give are not the ones sitting under the tree. As one mom has put it, “It’s not giving less, it’s making room for things that really matter.”