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Selecting the perfect Christmas gifts for kids can be a challenge. Where do parents even start? We don’t like a lot of extra clutter and our kiddos seem to lose interest in most new things quickly. It’s also intimidating to try to live up to the expectations of a grand Christmas morning. Having our kiddo create a wish list is helpful so we get a better idea of what he would like to have. However, it can also create expectations or hopes of receiving everything on the list and then being disappointed when he doesn’t get it. A friend shared a fun tradition that she has with her kiddos and I love it!
Kiddos get ONE gift from each of the theme areas of Want, Need, Wear, Read- GENIUS! Kids get the satisfaction of receiving something they want, parents get the satisfaction of purchasing something kids need anyway, something to wear could be a hybrid of both, and something to read (hopefully) continues to cultivate an interest in reading and expands their learning. With the help of this outline, I went from feeling clueless about gift ideas to easily filling in the blanks. This also seems like a perfect format to set reasonable expectations. Your kiddo won’t expect to check off as many “wants” as possible and be disappointed when they don’t receive them all.
There are a few additional categories that are fun to add, too! A “surprise” is fun for child who doesn’t know that he/she will love something. A “sentimental” touch, such as an annual tree ornament makes for a fun tradition, too. “Pajamas” to wear Christmas Day is a popular idea. I also like the idea of a “game” to serve as entertainment for the holiday break. “Make” or “Build” something to cultivate creativity and something to “do” that could provide inspiration for a family date. For this year for our two and four-year-olds, I’m keeping it simple. We’re sticking to the original four, PLUS a “Sentimental gift”, because that’s my favorite.
- Want: Tools for our son, we’re considering this set. We’ll be getting baby dolls for our daughter; she only has one and LOVES caring for it.
- Need: Fleece hats with warm face covers (we have rather cold winters and it’s difficult to keep scarfs or neck-warmers in place, so these are perfect!)
- Wear: Our son needs new winter boots and our daughter needs a new snowsuit.
- Read: I can’t wait to read The Boy Who Stood Up Tall with my kids! (Children who never learn to manage their feelings of fear grow up hiding who they are, and they shrink back from what they truly desire to do in the world, this book teaches about BRAVERY!) I’ll be honest, these books are my least favorite to read, but our daughter loves them. Personalized books from Shutterfly are a wonderful option, too!
- Sentimental: We get an annual Christmas ornament for each kiddo. It’s either something that represents the year for them or just something they like.
Shopping at a *GASP* local toy store versus online to lets kiddos explore and you can see what they’re drawn to. An added bonus is that this is the perfect outing to double as a family date!
If you’re on a major budget crunch, check out this post and try creating a Loose Parts Basket! These items are the BEST toys for your children and they’re often FREE! Find a basket or box that you already have and fill it with treasures. Simple items such as empty tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, cereal boxes, or pinecones and scrap wood for blocks are perfect! It may take a little advance planning, but loose parts are easy to collect and provide hours of entertainment for your children! We all know they end up playing with the wrapping paper and boxes more than the toys anyway 😉
The best way that we’ve found to keep expectations and clutter (and our budget!) to a minimum is by choosing a Want, Need, Wear, and Read gifts for each kiddo every Christmas <3 It’s fun to have a tradition and everyone knows exactly what to expect!
What are your favorite Christmas gift traditions for your children?