When we had our first child, his first Christmas was pretty small and contained as he was only 6 weeks old. By the time the next year came around it was a fun fest of toys with new and exciting gadgets to explore. By year 3 between his birthday in November and what felt like endless gifts from family and friends we talked with Santa and tried to contain the purchases a little bit for Christmas. We also did a clean out of old unused broken toys just before his birthday and implemented 'A Better Way To Use The Santa Sack'.
It was coming into year 4 that I was on Pinterest pinning Christmas ideas of all sorts, that I stumbled across tips for kids gift giving .
One idea in particular caught my attention and that was following a simple gift category system with Santa.
Being that we kind of followed these categories anyway it just helped stop any extra unessrsary buying. It also helped reign in on the budget .
The Final Gifting Process I Now Use
For us by year 6 (and with an extra little one) I perfected my gift buying into the following system:
1. Following The Category System - We followed for each child the category system list mentioned above.
Something they want
Is something they want but not 'the gift' as we have that from us as parents.
Something they need
Could be something they need for another gift they are getting or something they need for an existing toy/item they already own eg new bike helmet, doll bed, video game accessory etc
Something to wear
Is usually a gift bag of clothes in bigger sizes for the upcoming year. These I collect at sales over time to save a lot of money. When they haven't needed clothes I've purchased a dress up costume for around $20 instead.
Something to read
This is the obvious book or something educational like a learning game of some sort such as learn to read or write system.
2. Santa Stocking - We give more things that are useful and not so junky that will get lost and broken within a day. Below are some ideas on what we give ...
- Something sweet (usually a purchased chocolate/lolly sticking )
- A piece of clothing (underwear or a top).
- Small quality toy (figurine I know will get a lot of use, car, small lego etc).
- New drink bottle or fun cup.
- Toiletries needed eg new toothbrush, bubble bath etc. In the future I'm sure I'll do things like deodorant, lip gloss, nail polish etc
- Stationary or craft item's such as pencils, colouring book, paints etc
3. Encouraged family time gift - Usually a board game, tickets to something entertaining ect
'THE GIFT' - Their most wanted gift of all that they would not necessarily receive through the year eg new bike, scooter, game console etc
1 x Gift to teach giving - Whilst giving gifts between siblings is not seen as necessary by most people we do it to teach our kids about giving rather than just taking on the day for themselves. The idea is to make them think thoughtfully about what they could do or buy for another sibling . I only have two children so they are set up to buy for each other, however if I had more then one child I would just get them all to buy together for each child eg if I had Joseph, Isabella and Sam then I would have Sam and Joseph buy for Isabella - then Isabella and Joseph buy for Sam - then Sam and Isabella buy for Joseph ... make sense ?
My Final Tips
So that is what I do to help keep gift buying on track and useful.
My final tips are:
1. Keep a list of gift ideas for each category 'something they want', 'something they need', 'something to wear', 'something to read' for Santa during the year for best results. Do not leave it until December!
2. Set a budget for each child. Something that is realistic and suitable for you individual family needs.
3. Make sure you take note of what your kids wish for during the year and write it down. For gifts to get used and not be a waste of money be conscience of giving things they actually want.
4. Save $$$ where you can. I get 95% of my purchases on sale. I really do not buy toys unless they are in sales or on clearance. Most of the time you know they will end up in a sale somewhere. For more Christmas saving tips read my 'Better Ways To Save At Christmas'.
5. If your child has a birthday close to Christmas time really plan and think about what & which gifts are the best gifts for Christmas or their birthday.
Read Christmas blogs !