I love the Christmas season. I look forward to the twinkling lights and beautifully decorated Christmas trees, the smell of cookies baking, and the sounds of Christmas music playing on the radio. Gift giving is a huge part of the season, but it’s not our focus. Over the years we have learned to simplify the holiday season with the 3 gift rule. This helps us give more meaningful gifts from the heart.
Growing up, we had HUGE Christmases. I remember the yearly mountain of brightly wrapped presents waiting under the tree. My brother and I tore through those presents with lightning speed, never really paying attention to who gave us what. We were filled with excitement and couldn’t wait to see what was under those wrappings.
When I became a mother, I showered my kids with gifts too, almost to a fault. I would often buy “filler” gifts to have under the tree to give them more presents to open. These were usually those “Great Deals” or sale items I found and picked up throughout the year; games, random toys, etc. They weren’t anything the kids asked for or even really wanted. It was just about having more presents under the tree. This was all in addition to the gifts from Santa and from all the grandparents. Needless to say the kids never went without at Christmas time.
A few years ago, everything changed for us. I don’t even remember why it changed, it just did. While we still love to bestow gifts on our children, family, and friends, Christmas in our house is no longer about the mountain of gifts and buying “stuff”. We started focusing on providing experiences and more meaningful gifts with the help of the 3 Gift Rule.
There are different versions of the 3 Gift Rule, but the premise is the same. You buy/give gifts that fall within the categories you have determined are important to you.
Our 3 Gift Rule includes gifts that are:
Something you WANT – electronics, tablets, cameras, theater/concert tickets, family vacations, gift cards, toys, games, jewelry, etc.
Something you NEED – clothing, shoes, restaurant/food gift cards, food items, tools, etc.
Something you can READ – anything book related; LEGO Adventure Books (on this year’s Wish List), novels, cookbooks, storybooks, magazine subscriptions, etc.
For Christmas and, even birthdays, all the gifts we now give fall into one of these three categories. It makes buying easier and the gift is more meaningful. At first, the kids weren’t completely on board, but they came around. The gifts they now receive are ones they really want. Plus, since we aren’t spending extra money on excessive gifts, we have more money available for a family gift like a trip or holiday experience.
Use the 3 gift rule for your family. You could choose to use our three categories or use different ones like:
Something you can WEAR
Something you can EAT
Something you can USE
Something you can WATCH
The joy of the 3 Gift Rule is you can adjust it to your family and your children’s ages. It allows you to simplify the holidays and your gift giving. This lets you put the focus back on the joy of the holidays.
I leave you with this quote –
“It CAME WITHOUT RIBBONS. IT CAME WITHOUT TAGS. IT CAME WITHOUT PACKAGES, BOXES OR TAGS. MAYBE CHRISTMAS, HE THOUGHT, DOESN’T COME FROM A STORE. MAYBE CHRISTMAS PERHAPS, MEANS A LITTLE BIT MORE.” – HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS