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Need advice on the "Something you want,something you need" 4 gift Christmas- Does anyone do this???

My husband was just laid off so Christmas will be super tight this year. In years past we have spent WAY too much on the two kids (each would have 20-30 gifts probably) and I ran across this idea online this morning about 4 gifts- something you want, need, can wear and read.

LOVE this idea. But need some advice. Do we tell the kids (ages 5 and 12) ahead of time so there is no let down at 4 gifts? Does anyone do this and how well does it go over? I assume Santa can still come and bring them each one gift too?

I know this is crazy but I like to give gifts, a lot, so this will be harder for me maybe than them.... And the 12 year old is my stepson and he is VERY spoiled by his mother so yes there is a sad element of competition and trying to keep up with all she can afford to give that we cannot.... Just wonder if this will be a decent strategy to try to save our budget and still enjoy the holidays.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 2:22 PM on Nov. 20, 2013 in General Parenting

Answers (10)
  • Great idea! Yes, I'd tell the kids Santa is doing that this year so make a list of what you want for those 4 things.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 2:26 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • Definately give a heads up to the kids this year. Personally I have found that if I am buying my kids 20 gifts that 10-15 of them are actually junk gifts and only a few are good. After the first 6-7 they get bored opening them and want to sit and play. I've really concentrated on cutting back in the last few years. We're now down to around 10 gifts for the kids, 4-5 for grandkids and 2-3 for adult kids.

    Answer by baconbits at 2:31 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • We have always done this, though at times there has been more. Stocking are the exception to the rule because I have always stuffed a pair of socks in the stocking and they knew they would have brand new undies and socks in their drawer for Christmas.

    I would jest tell them that money is pretty tight and there will be less for Christmas but you can make cookies and go see the lights etc.
    The older one will not like it but will understand, The younger one may not notice as much as you think.

    Answer by Dardenella at 2:42 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • It's an excellent idea. I hadn't heard of it, but I love it. I already told my five-year-old and my stepson both that Christmas would be scaled back this year. I thought they would be disappointed, but they weren't. Both of them just said, "It's okay, Mom" very nicely and went on with their day. My little one did ask me if Santa would still come. I said yes, but he probably wouldn't bring as much as he did last year, and she said that was okay because there were a lot of flood victims who had lost their homes, so they probably needed more things than she did, but she had been good, so she still wanted him to come to her house. I was touched. As long as they're remembered, it really isn't about how many gifts the kids get. Anyway, we'll see how it actually works on Christmas, but I think you're right on track, Mama.

    Answer by Ballad at 2:45 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • I love the idea. And if you can afford a separate Santa gift, awesome.

    I also love lavishing the kids with gifts on their birthday and Christmas. I don't buy them much the rest of the year, but those days I go a little nuts. We have had some tough years. Especially when the boys were very young, and I learned that I had to stick to a budget.

    One of the toughest years for us the kids really didn't have much to open & their Santa gift was snow tubes that I had gotten on clearance for $5 each. We lived in the Southern California high desert & didn't get snow very often, but we could drive to it. That year however, it snowed on Christmas morning & the boys thought Santa had brought the snow as part of their gifts. They had an amazing day.

    The weeks leading up to Christmas day were wonderful too. We baked lots of cookies & made gifts together, we read Christmas stories and watched our favorite movies. They had a happy holiday.

    Answer by ohwrite at 2:47 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • This is why the whole Santa thing is a bad idea....LOL! I was guilty too, so I am not knocking it. I think my kids figured it all about before 5. Thank God! We taught them very early on that Christmas was celebrated differently by everyone, so some give more and some give less. My ex would only allow 1-2 toys from "Santa".

    Answer by m-avi at 3:20 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • I guess lucky for us Santa would only bring one gift for each kiddo and the rest were from us. We have such a small house that we could not hide all the gifts. So really the adjustment will be what we give and Santa will still visit with one a piece as well.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 4:25 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • You know, it sounds sappy. But some of my best Christmas memories from childhood are from a year we didn't have much at all because my dad was laid off from his construction job--I didn't know that at the time--and Santa left us socks and jammies and toothbrushes, and candy bars. My mom loved Pepsi, and she got one can, with a big red bow on top. And my dad got this 35-pound chunk of coal! He's still got that thing, and he drags it out and displays it in his living room every year. So it's not always the big, expensive stuff that leaves the lasting impression on kids.

    Answer by Ballad at 5:12 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • I think it's a great idea too. Tell them ahead of time & I'm betting they will really think it thru so they will be extremely happy about what they do get. :)

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 5:28 PM on Nov. 20, 2013

  • IF you go with this- I'd say still have a Santa gift AND let them know that this is what you are doing this year so they are not let down, especially after the ones they have had before

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 12:00 AM on Nov. 21, 2013

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