This is Day 8 of the 21 Days to a Stress Free & Debt Free Christmas.
I’m so excited that you are joining me for what I hope will be a really helpful series designed to walk with you step by step through the Christmas season in a way that ensures you keep your sanity and that you don’t overspend.
Today, we’re going to continue the conversation about gift giving. Gifts for your children probably take up the majority of your gift budget, so now is a good time to talk about gifts for them. I’ll share why you need a gift strategy for your kids as well as our gift giving strategy.
Why you need a strategy
If you are a parent, the bulk of your gift giving budget will likely go to your children’s gifts. Because of this, it’s really helpful to have a specific strategy for how to will handle their gifts. I want my kids to light up when they see the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning, but I also want them to appreciate what they receive. We can’t forget about the budget either.
If you don’t have any sort of plan for them, then how will you ever know when enough is enough? Your gift budget should ultimately be your guide, but keeping the gifts balanced and “fair” can be tricky when you have no method. Having some sort of strategy really does help simplify the process.
Our 4 Gift Guideline
Once our kids were old enough, I began to think about how we were going to tackle their gifts. I try hard to keep the focus on the real meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus, the Savior. I don’t want to throw a ton of gifts at them just because I feel like I should, but I also want to give them things that I think they will enjoy. My kids don’t get gifts from us during the year (except for on their birthday), so I want them to be special.
As I was thinking about how to tackle it, I talked with some friends and got some ideas from the internet. There are a lot of different options that sound very sensible. Some families go strictly by dollar value, while others use the 3 gift concept (based on the three wise men). I’m sure there are more ideas out there, but those are the ones that I’ve heard the most.
I really liked the 4 gift guideline – a WANT, a NEED, SOMETHING TO WEAR, and SOMETHING TO READ.
I like giving them a specific number of gifts. Four is enough to get excited about but not excessive. Our children get plenty of presents from their relatives too, so they are never lacking for enough toys.
I also like giving our kids gifts within different categories. This guideline gives us some focus when we’re selecting items and ensures they are getting a good balance of gifts. Your kids will get some items they really want as well as some educational items and other things they need.
No matter the strategy you choose, selecting gifts is more focused and efficient.
I love Lauren’s post on this topic. She outlines some different ideas for how to tackle giving gifts to your children, but also goes into some of the number crunching when you are trying to determine how much money to spend on each child at their different ages. It’s a great tool in case you need some guidance to get started.