Several years ago I heard about an easy way to narrow down Christmas gifts for children. Instead of buying a bunch of toys or other clutter, each child receives the following:
Something to Read
Something to Wear
Something to Play
Something to Share.
With four kids, that is already quite a few gifts. One thing I have tried to do is to knock these out in stages. For example, last weekend I went ahead and took care of the “Something to Read” while doing some other errands. Even though it is just October, I have 1/4 of our children’s gifts finished.
Another thought (if you have lots of kids and a limited budget) is to ask folks who plan to buy for your kids anyway to cover one of these categories. One set of grandparents can cover the “something to play” or “something to wear” category. If they want to spend more on your child, ask them to contribute to their savings accounts or college fund, or to buy savings bonds in your child’s name. This will help build up savings for college, or cars, or a first house.
This is also a great time to start reading some “Little House” books or other older literature when Christmas was not a marketers dream and a thrify mom’s nightmare. Keeping Christ in Christmas is so much easier when you are not having to battle overwhelming piles of stuff that will end up on the floor of the closet in a month.