I came across this idea a few years ago, and loved it as it’s something we use with our children I thought I’d share it.
First off I will say, how you choose to do Christmas and gift giving is entirely up to you, this is just an idea and you also don’t need to stick to the list exactly.
The premise of the “4 Present rule” is simple:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
These aren’t set in stone, we mix it up and swap out say “something they need” for “something to do” instead, the idea is that you give four gifts instead of lots and lots. Children will often gain more gifts from family members and friends, so I can assure you my children aren’t missing out on not having hundreds of gifts sat under the tree, and aren’t hard done by because we haven’t personally bought them lots and lots.
They know that the gifts under the tree are from us, other family members and friends, stockings are from Santa.
We have three children, twins and a singleton, using the four present rule means we can budget easier for gifts and also aren’t stressing over if one of them has more than the others and now we need to go shopping again! Because let’s face it we all could easily just keep buying, I see so many lovely things I’d like to get mine, but having this in place means I can be more thoughtful in the gifts I do buy, rather than getting them absolutely everything that catches my eye.
This can be done on any budget, whether you have a £1,000 to spend per child or £50 to spend it can suit everyone’s budget, and maybe it isn’t for you at all that is totally fine too.
Other ideas you could swap these for are:
- Something to do
- Something to watch
- Something to play
- Something to experience
The four present rule is purely to take the pressure off parents, feeling they need to spend a lot at Christmas, and also that they need to keep up with social media and filling under the tree to the absolute brim with gifts. I have seen so many times where this has been a thing only for the children to become so overwhelmed and have so many gifts they don’t know what to do first, along with gifts still not being used or played with by the time Christmas comes round again.
Christmas should be a time for family so take the pressure off, and focus on presence not presents.
Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful.