The 5 Gift Rule, Our New Christmas Tradition

the holiday 5 gift rule

The holidays are getting closer, which means it’s time to remember to be grateful for what we’ve been blessed with, and embrace the time we get to spend with our families and close friends. For us parents out there, it also means time to get holiday shopping started! Of course I love this time of year, but I don’t love shopping for Christmas gifts. Waiting in long lines in crowded shops (don’t get me started on Black Friday) and going from store-to-store trying to find that one item on your kid’s Christmas list that seems to be sold out everywhere. Not this year, this year Christmas is going to be a little bit different at our house because we’ve decided to implement the 5 Gift Rule.

Has anyone else heard of this little Christmas tradition? I actually just found out about it and thought it was a brilliant idea, how could I have not known about this before my daughters were born?!

Last year we cut back on gifts and spent the extra money on a vacation with the girls instead, which they had so much fun on—they still remember the gorgeous mountains we drove through going up to Virginia. It was a 12 day long holiday vacation, the longest vacation our family of 4 has been on, and it was all thanks to cutting back at Christmas, so the 5 gift rule sounded like the perfect Christmas tradition for our family!

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What’s the 5 Gift Rule?

Don’t know about the 5 Gift Rule? Here’s the gist of it… Instead of spending tons of money on a bunch of different presents, limit it to just 5 simple things: 1 gift they want, 1 gift they need, 1 gift they read, and 1 gift they don’t know they want, but you do! Some people even limit it to the 4-gift rule and stick to the first 4 on the list, it’s totally up to you.

the christmas 5 gift rule

I came from a family with 3 siblings and growing up were all spoiled with loads of toys and gifts on Christmas morning. While we obviously loved the gifts when we were young, the older we got the less toys we received. I knew that there were less gifts under the tree as we grew up because the ones we received were more expensive, but even though I understood this I still remember the disappointment. I feel like if my parents had implemented the 5-gift rule from the start, there would have been no disappointment. We would have known what to expect and we would have learned to appreciate it so much more.

Why should you try this?

To teach thankfulness and remind then about the real meaning of Christmas.

So many times children get wrapped up in the gifts, in their minds (even though they know true meaning of Christmas) it’s all about Santa for them—it’s all about those presents under the tree. The 5 gift rule is there to remind them that Christmas is about more than just the presents. It teaches them to be thankful for the presents that they receive, rather than simply expecting loads gifts that they’ll probably forget about by next year! Anyone else feel the same way?!

It can help you from blowing your cover as the magical Santa Claus.

Tell them that one gift, either the gift that they really want or they one that they didn’t know they wanted, is from Santa. And then be honest about the rest of the gifts, them them that they’re from you (this also helps with the thankfulness). Now that they know that the majority of their gifts are coming from you, it won’t be such a shock when they finally discover that Santa isn’t real.

You’ll save money to spend on things they will remember.

I’m a huge believer in the saying “spend money on experience, not things,” I would so much rather spend that money on a family vacation because those memories will last longer than a toy that will be forgotten about and thrown in a closet. Instead of blowing all your “fun money” on toys this Christmas season, spend it on an adventure! One of your gifts could even be the promise of an exciting family vacation this summer.

Have you tried the 5 gift rule (or 4 gift rule)? Or do you have any other holiday gift-giving traditions that you think more parents should know about? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear them! I’m always looking for new ideas.

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