Dec 122012

To be perfectly honest, we didn’t get our daughter a thing for her first Christmas. She was 3 months old, got plenty from extended family and, most importantly, she couldn’t care less. Besides, Dan was smack dab in the middle of seminary and money wasn’t exactly flowing. We did take one of our existing ornaments and decorate it to become her first Christmas ornament. It cost us nothing and we smile at it each year when we decorate the tree.

But now she’s three and she does care. She’s thrilled about Christmas lights and Christmas trees and the Advent calendar. And yes, she knows there are supposed to be presents involved. And during these young years we get to set the tone with presents: their importance, their number, their value.

We try to keep their importance in line by not focusing on them. When we talk about Christmas, presents don’t often come up. We discuss the birth of Christ and family and lights. We want presents to be more of an afterthought rather than the main show.

To set the tone for number of presents we follow a concept I first came across  last year on Simple Kids.

We get our kiddo…

  • Something she wants
  • Something she needs
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read

Here’s what that looks like this year:

Wants: Crafting supplies to fill her stocking. Watercolors, paint brushes, tape (because this child uses up all our tape!), stickers, markers, construction paper, etc.

Needs: We’ve been doing a children’s Advent devotional each night and want to continue doing something each night after Christmas is over. So we’re getting her this Jesus Storybook Bible.

Wear: The following conversation happens often:

Dan: Do we say Roll Tide?

Kiddo: NOOOOO!

Dan: Why not?

Kiddo: Those are bad words.

Dan: What do we stay instead?


So, in order to continue our brainwashing, we got her a Michigan t-shirt. :)

Read: We don’t have very many Christmas books around our house, so we’re using this as an opportunity to stock up with The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale.

What’s your plan for your kiddo’s Christmas presents?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking, a small percentage of the sale will make its way to me. Thanks for your support!

Photo Credit

 Posted by at 12:01 am

  8 Responses to “Want, Need, Wear, Read: How we do Christmas Presents”

  1. Yay – it works for me now! I’m just excited to be able to read your posts again!!
    Yes, we try to tame the presents issue each year. They’re pretty good about being grateful : )

  2. We definitely downplay gifts and items in general around the holidays. My husband and I both grew up getting one gift from our parents, and we continue this practice with our 3-year-old. Like yourself, we never gave him anything the first year, or actually even the second. Last year we got him magnetic alphabet links, and this year we got him a Pete the Cat toy and book.

    The kid gets plenty of toys from relatives, so he has fun opening those as well. I just don’t want gifts to be the main focus of the holiday; I’d rather he relish the company he keeps than look forward to when he can open his presents. I tend to follow the same advice when it comes to gifts in general; I much prefer “experience” gifts than items. The kinds of gifts you can share with others.

  3. We’ve never set a number for exactly how many gifts though I’ve seen this idea and think it’s a great one. We’ve just adjusted year by year. Growing up we often got lots of needs under the tree with only one or two wants. I never didn’t get what Christmas was about even though we opened a lot of things (mostly very inexpensive, or stuff we truly needed).

    For the last couple of months as I’ve gotten things they need (shoes, etc.) I’ve just saved them to wrap under the tree. It usually ends up being about 4-5 things. And I also wrap some of their stocking stuffers because opening presents is just fun!

    Love seeing how other people do it!

  4. […] try to keep gift giving simple with our kiddos which is why last year we started following the want, need, wear, read model of giving gifts. Since our kiddos are four […]

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>