I almost abandoned the Four Gift Rule a few days before Christmas Eve. We were riding along in the car discussing what Brenna hoped to get for Christmas when she said “I need underwear, mine are too tight…I need a size 65 feet…oohh and socks, really soft socks”. She then stared wistfully out the window with a small smile on her face contemplating the joys of really soft socks. I wanted to dash through Toys-R-Us and get everything imaginable for a child who was delighting in the idea of receiving socks for Christmas. Then Stevie said she wanted “Jessie toys” (her new hero from the Toy Story movies) and I knew there was not going to be a single Jessie toy under the tree. I questioned myself about shopping to early, restricting the wonder of Christmas to 4 rigid gift guidelines. I will admit their stockings were heftier than usual but otherwise I held to the Four Gift Rule.
Christmas morning the pile under the tree was much smaller than years past, but the smiles on the girls faces were not. They loved the bean bag chairs that came with their books (To Read). Brenna’s Need item was not 65 foot underwear (though she did get a neat size 6 and some soft socks in her stocking) but a hardcover sketch book, markers, crayons and paint. Stevie’s Need item was a ballerina dress, with wings and wand…and a tea set. I cheated and wrapped them together with ribbon as one gift. The rule was as much for me as for them and I bent it. Brenna’s Want Item was a big one that we debated even getting her-The Nintendo DS. She was ecstatic when she opened it…but it really hasn’t seen as much play in the days following Christmas as we thought it would. I’m a little disappointed that my 4-year-old was influenced by everyone around her that has one, and now that she has one is satisfied to go back to playing dress-up just knowing its there. The girls also received a gift each from Stephen and I (Legos and play make-up) and their gifts from Poppy were there to open Christmas morning (a karaoke machine and a train table). There was plenty to play with Christmas morning, there was still a pile of paper of ribbons and they still didn’t know what to open and fiddle with first. None of the magic was lost.
Our tree and it’s gift stash were smaller, our holiday decorations were at a minimum but this was one our greatest Christmases as a family to date. I thoroughly enjoyed choosing meaningful gifts, having less holly-jolly clutter and the absence of the Elf on the Shelf antics. If you tried the Four Gift Rule or generally scaled Christmas back this year I’d love to hear about it; take a minute to comment here on the blog and let us know how it went for you and your family. Happy New Year!