The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

the four gift rule

on December 4, 2012

Christmas is fast approaching and there’s one thing that is on everyone’s minds. Gifts. So, what do you think of this four gift rule? Do you think that gifts and wish lists have gotten out of hand?

I don’t ever ask for much, nor have I ever, really. But I guess I do remember feeling jealous over other kids who had been completely spoiled for Christmas. I usually try to go the thoughtful or handmade route and this year will be almost exclusively due to the ol’ budget.

Schy is only 15 months old and doesn’t watch television, so we haven’t yet had to deal with the child who wants it all. But that time will come. And, man, kids want so much crap! I had no idea how much plastic bull$@*# my house would be filled with. Combine this with the ridiculous amount of packaging… ugh. It’s an aspiring green parent’s worst nightmare. So wasteful. All they really want is pots and empty paper towels tubes anyway.

So I read this four gift rule somewhere and I thought it was awesome! People go so overboard and totally miss the spirit if the holidays. Parents literally trample each other on black friday Thanksgiving for the hot toy of the minute, only to be tossed aside as soon as the next thing comes out. It’s madness. Shameful, really.

I’m really considering this rule for our family. I haven’t spoken to the husband about yet, so we’ll see what he thinks. I think it’s a good guide to keeping the gifts in check. And there’s still room for just a little spoiling since those wants can get pretty expensive. (Thanks Apple!) Christmas isn’t about how many gifts you get. It’s about giving, family, spending time with the ones you love. Oh, and cookies!

I’d love to hear some thoughts on this! Do you practice a ‘rule’ for gift giving? How do you help your children understand what the holidays are about without going overboard with gifts? Please share!


8 responses to “the four gift rule

  1. Mel S says:

    I think that this is a good idea. You are right, no matter how much plastic crap they get, they still want more. We always give pajamas each year as one of the gifts. We also like giving an experience—like piano lessons or tea at American Girl Place.

    • Alli Ferraro says:

      Oooh! I love that, Mel! We all threw in for my parents to have a paid Valentine’s Day weekend one year. Sometimes that is the perfect gift for people who don’t really need things. Thanks for sharing and commenting!

      Happy Holidays!


  2. I don’t really practice any rules for gift giving. I admit that I go overboard at Christmas and I’m always trying to find that one perfect gift no matter what the cost. I usually buy one large gift for each family member and then a few smaller ones. I really like this idea though. It seems like it would really help limit spending and make the gifts even more thoughtful.

    • Alli Ferraro says:

      Hi Vanessa!

      It is SO easy to go overboard when you’re buying for other people! Especially kids. But, really, it’s not like Christmas is the only time you buy for your kids right? They get stuff all year round. No reason to get carried away. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for the comment!


  3. Shelley says:

    I want to thank you for co-hosting and let you know I am following you on Twitter and Facebook!


  4. Shelley says:

    I also wanted to reply on your post! πŸ™‚ We implemented a 3 gift rule for what they can ask for. 3 gifts for what they could ask for because when Jesus was born he was brought 3 gifts. We have had years when they specifically received from Santa and us the 3 items they asked for. Of course the grandmas and grandpas send them gifts as well. Then we have had years where in addition to the 3 things they ask for we get them some things we think they NEED. πŸ™‚ We started out getting them this and that- basically spoiling them- but after some time they had accumulated so much and it really felt good to implement the 3 gift rule, and the reason also felt good. It helps to keep the real meaning of Christmas in mind and the kiddos actually liked it. We don’t even have to remind them about the rule either- they just know now! And you know what? We found out there are other parents at school who have the same rule, same reason. My daughter has come home a few occasions and told me other kids do the 3 gifts rule. It feels really good that some kiddos are happy to embrace this!

    • Alli Ferraro says:

      Hi Shelley!

      That sounds nice! It’s good to hear that other parents feel the same way. We are also planning to choose and donate toys to make room for the new ones so things don’t get too out of control. It seems to happen so quickly!

      Thanks so much for commenting! πŸ™‚


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