Why My Kids Only Get 3 Gifts For Christmas…

I absolutely LOVE Christmas time. Yes, I am one of those crazy Christmas decorators who have their decorations up before Thanksgiving (gasp … another elf apparently bites the dust). I love everything that the holiday season brings to my family and having decorations around just makes me HAPPY! Shoot, I’d have that beautiful lit tree up all year long if I wasn’t such a clutter freak. Celebrating Christmas with all the wonderful components of it (baking, decorating, gift giving, spending time with family, going to church, etc) is the highlight of my year.

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My cut back on my children’s gifts from “Santa” all began about 7 years ago. Back then, I had a 3 and a 1 year old. Christmas morning of 2007, I was smacked in the face with a reality check. My 3 year old had been opening gifts for over an hour. Like really an hour … and that was fast opening too. Why was it taking so long? What in the world did I buy that kid? How many presents did he receive from Santa? Did Santa actually sneak in my house and ADD to the presents I had already bought?? Surely he must have. It was SO.MANY.GIFTS for one tiny human. After approximately 73 minutes, my three year old turned around, looked at me with a very nervous smile, and said “Momma, can I stop opening my presents so I can play?” Oh dear … that just happened.

photo 1Time stood still in that moment. My mind was swirling with all the shopping trips that began in August. The stockpiling of gifts in every nook and cranny in my house, hiding from my kids AND my husband. The times I wondered, “Does he have enough presents? Oh, what’s one more!” as I wandered aimlessly around Target or Toys-R-Us. Oh my GRACIOUS. I was breaking the bank on all of the toys that I bought knowing he’d love every last one of them. I was raising my child to come to know that Christmas was a time of PRESENTS!!! AND LOTS OF THEM!!! Well, yeah, I wanted him to understand that Santa brings good boys and girls presents for Christmas, but I also wanted him to know the deeper, much deeper meaning of Christmas. It became apparent to me that Christmas morning, as I sat in my robe sipping cold hot chocolate, that I was failing my kids by the over abundance of presents. Something had to change.

As the next Christmas season approached, I was vigilant about finding a way to keep the CHRIST in Christmas, as we are a Christian family who attends church regularly. I read a blog I found one Saturday morning that pointed me in a new direction. I would give each child of mine 3 gifts for Christmas. Jesus was born on Christmas and received gifts from the three wise men. 3 gifts … on Jesus’ birthday … perfection in my mind, as cliché as some might think. So I set out finding the three most perfect gifts that holiday season for my two boys … 1. something that they wanted, 2. something that they needed, and 3. something that would surprise the heck out of them. It wasn’t about how much money I spent on these items, it was about the quality and thought put into finding that gift that I KNEW my children would cherish and love for months to come.

photo 4That Christmas morning was everything I had hoped it to be and more. The boys absolutely loved their gifts, we got to spend so much more time together, and my clean freak momma bonus … a much smaller mess to clean up. Score!!! Our family has chosen this method of Christmas gift giving since then and my boys know no other way. Gone are the days of endless purchasing of nonsense, filler, cheap toys to make the tree look fuller. Gone are the days of hiding all of my Saturday splurges. Gone are the days of the million mile pileup of toys in my living room from 2 hours of opening gifts. Our Christmas days now consist of more snuggling, more reading Christmas books, more cooking and baking, more one on one time with each child, more gratefulness, and more time to spend with each other. And in the end, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Not presents that never end or spending $500 dollars on each child so they can have “enough” that chilly December morning.

Is this the right way for every family out there? I doubt it. I have gotten the stink eye a few times when I have told someone our gift giving tradition. I’ve been called a Scrooge. But every family is different and we all choose our battles. Keeping Christmas Holy was my battle, and I’d say that I finally have this battle won!

Do you go all out with Christmas gifts or limit them? Why or why not?

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102 Responses to Why My Kids Only Get 3 Gifts For Christmas…

  1. Valerie McGee December 9, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    How wonderful! If more children were being raised with this mindset. Hats off to you!!

    • mary October 21, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

      My oldest of 4 kids is 22 and youngest 15. Three gifts is what we have always done. I was not raised in a CHRISTian home and christmas was always santa centered. Santa is not part of our CHRISTMAS celebration. We do have a child’s book set…is Santa for real, is Halloween for real, and is Easter for real…that the kids have read and shared with others whether at school or AWANA. Jesus received 3 and that is how CHRISTMAS is celebrated in our household.

      • Jane October 22, 2015 at 9:38 am #

        Really? You let your kids go around telling other kids at school that Santa and the Easter Bunny don’t exist and Halloween is evil?? Unless your kids go to a religious school with other kids who have the same beliefs you are WAY out of line lady! People like you are why so many people think badly of Christians! I am a Christian also but I respect other people’s beliefs and would never teach my children to push their beliefs on others! A lot of children believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny and love celebrating Halloween, and there is nothing wrong with that.

        • don't want to be Jane October 22, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

          Jane,

          While I understand your point about not wanting to “ruin another kid’s holiday beliefs”, there is something more important here. Your attitude. Coming off and calling her “way out of line lady” is way out of line for you. I really can’t stand it when people come on and cyber bully someone else. You can have your point of view but please, be respectful in how you try to communicate it to others. She was not rude in her comment, she didn’t tell anyone that her way is the only way, she simply shared her opinion and what her family does. Does it matter if her kids tell others that there is no Easter Bunny, no Santa Claus, or Halloween is evil (which it is btw)? Of course not. Kids will eventually grow up and find out that hey, they were right, but in the meantime, their faith in Santa or bunnies or whatever will probably remain pretty strong. I grew up believing in those things, I had classmates who didn’t, did it change my beliefs? Nope. Did it ruin my holiday? Nope. I just kept on believing until I got old enough to figure out they were right after all. Didn’t change anything.

          I also had classmates who told me that they were atheists….didn’t stop me from believing the Gospel when I heard it. So, don’t get your panties in a bunch, kids will be fine. If you don’t want your kids to hear other children’s thoughts or ideas then don’t send to public school. I had a Jehovah’s Witness friend from 1-3 grade.(she was what people all today “my bestie” or BFF)…didn’t change my beliefs or how my family celebrated anything (they don’t celebrate Christmas or birthdays). So yeah, kids can handle adversity, other’s opinions, ideas or what not, that is what happens at public school. It is also why they have parents, to instill in them faith in whatever their family chooses to believe despite that others may disagree. Welcome to the world…people aren’t always going to agree….but you can at least be nice about it. Didn’t sound like her kids weren’t being unkind….just your comments.

          • Laughing October 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

            I’ll be pissed too if some kid comes and tells my kid Santa isn’t real. It amuses me you call her out on ‘cyber bullying’ and tell her how she should approach something and she is “way out of line.” That Halloween is evil (according to YOU.) Hypocrite much? Welcome to the internet…people aren’t always going to be nice.

          • Wisdom October 30, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

            We have five children and have never celebrated Santa Claus. We taught our kids the truth from the start. Our Chrismas season is filled with baking, decorating, stories of the first Christmas, family gatherings, food and gift giving and love. My three oldest are 22,20 and 15. We have asked them if they ever felt they missed out on anything by not believing in Santa and they all said no. Every year I receive phone calls from irate parents asking me to stop my children from going to school and telling their child there is no Santa. My response is always the same…have your child stop telling mine there is one and mine will stop saying there isnt. Works both ways and I am not going to scold my child for telling the truth.

          • Rachelle G. H. November 24, 2015 at 4:29 am #

            I’m a kid about to turn 15. I learned that all the kids cared about is how many presents they have gotten. I get a few and I am thankful for everything I get. I don’t care about Santa or anything I know that my parents put in hard work to get it. Y can’t we get allow plz. Every time an agrument happens another kid gets hurt. Please stop arguing. WWJD?

        • Tracey Bingham November 3, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

          She didn’t say you had to follow this for your family !!
          My goodness get a grip lady , this is her story that you’ve chosen to read if you didn’t like or agreed what she was saying all you had to do was quite reading it and walk away !!!
          I love this story, my daughter started doing this last year.
          I think it will make a difference in there life and pretty good one at that !! Thank you for your story

        • Jackie November 29, 2015 at 8:11 am #

          We’ve never celebrated Santa, but I did tell my kids if I found out they told anyone else, they’d get in trouble. It wasn’t their secret to spoil and other families choose to do Santa.
          My question is how do you lie and blackmail your kids with Santa, then expect them to believe you in anything else? You lie and emotionally manipulate for years, then say, oh believe me, I’d never lie to you. Really???

        • Jillian December 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

          Did you see her kids are 22-15… not little most kids know now by 8 yrs old or so…

        • Kasandra November 24, 2016 at 12:52 am #

          I let my kids believe in Santa Claus. When they ask if he is real, I tell them that the magic of Christmas is real and if they believe in him thats all that matters. I do give them presents from Santa and Santa gives them three total. I however do not tell them that the tooth fairy and easter bunny and leprechauns are all real. I put out easter baskets they usually aren’t curious about where it comes from I assume they know I do it. I do not do the tooth fairy thing. I guess I just think that is where I personally draw the line at ridiculous. My christmas is big and centered around presents but also centered around giving back, family and God. We always talk about the gift of Jesus I remember my daughter last year (6 yrs) asked me why Santa brings gifts on Jesus’ Birthday I told her Santa must have thought that Jesus’ Birthday was the most important day ever and he wanted to honor it by starting a tradition. I would never get upset by a parent who lets their children tell my kids that Santa is not real. Even though I choose to have Santa at my house that does not mean that other kids who have a different tradition should be made to feel as if they aren’t supposed to talk about it. My kids know that most adults don’t believe in Santa and they know that Santa at the mall is a guy dressed up in a red suit impersonating him. I figured it out on my own and I cherish the magical feeling I had christmas eve . morning as a kid so I let my kids experience it but if they stop believing or another kid doesn’t believe I am not going to make a big deal out of it. I will let them soak it all in. It will be good for them to hear that Santa isn’t real because I feel like its an icebreaker for when they know he isn’t. It won’t just be all at once – SANTA IS A FRAUD. Lol My kids got upset one day because the kids at school said the tooth fairy probably doesn’t like her because she is bossy. My kid is sweet she is a motherly sort of girl and probably comes off as bossy but I find those kids bullying mine as bad or worse than any kid that knows there is no Santa.

        • Deplorable Alpha Female November 28, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

          Amen, Kasandra. Nothing worse than santimonious mothers raising sanctimonious kids. I shower my kid with lots of presents because I bust my ass and work hard to be able to do it. But we also donate her older toys at the same time and sponsor a child in need. And Im not saying what I do is “better” than anyone else. Reminds me….it’s Cyber Monday on Amazon!

      • Dee October 25, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

        Mary,

        Stay the course. You’re not the only one fighting an uphill battle against other Christians who are convinced they can keep one foot in the things of this world without slipping.

  2. Heidi December 9, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    After watching my nieces, nephews and step children open endless amounts of gifts at Christmas over the years, I decided to “adopt” the 3 gift rule when I became a mother. My now 4 year old son has grown to love the celebration of Christmas and has become a very giving and appreciative little boy.

    We spend Christmas with my sister and my 11 year old niece when I told my sister our plan she decided to do the same (which was VERY different from the past). The first year my niece only received 3 gifts from Santa, the first words out of her mouth were, “Mom this was the best Christmas EVER!”

    • melissa October 23, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

      I totally agree with u 2

  3. Erin December 9, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    This is a wonderful post!! I love the idea of 3 gifts and your meaning behind each one!! We’ve always only done 2 gifts for the kids….one from us and one from Santa. Last year Isabella was in love with Hello Kitty and had been asking for a dream light for over a year. I hated the idea of spending $30 on a night light but one night I found a hello kitty dream light and just got it for her. That was her present from Santa. She was so incredibly happy when she opened it and I was proud of myself 🙂 However, in the following days I had so many people ask, not only me but her, “that’s all santa brought!?!” Number 1 I thought this was so RUDE!!! How dare you ask my 6 year old something like that!! Number 2 I thought about the whole Christmas season these days. I saw posts about parents spending $500 or more on each of their children!! That’s usually my entire Christmas budget!! My kids are spoiled by at least 3 sets of “grandparents” and the last thing they need is me adding to that!! I’ve always known and kept close to my heart the true meaning of Christmas. I want my kids to grow up with the same values. I was always under the impression that Santa had one gift for each child, and in my house it’s one gift and that’s it!! Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one 🙂

    • Brandi November 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Erin,
      I went through the same thing last year for Christmas and it totally broke my heart for my son! Why make our children feel as though they are not worthy because they didn’t receive too many gifts “from Santa”! People can be so rude!!

  4. Betsy December 9, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I love this post. I think we will implement the same thing. My only question is – how do you handle grandparents? I think we have at least 8-10 presents per child coming from grandparents. I’m stressed thinking of either finding places for all this “stuff” or hurting feelings by getting rid of “stuff” – it’s always hard!

    • Danni December 10, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      I have the same problem (or will have, as the birth of our first child is imminent). My in-laws have four other grandchildren and buy about 10 presents a piece for them for each Christmas, birthday and yes, even for Easter (a concept that I do not understand). I don’t want to be a jerk and tell them “Please don’t buy us that many presents, and especially not that often!” I also don’t want my kid to see her cousins getting hordes of loot and think that her grandparents don’t love her as much (but I don’t want her equating love with material things, either). My mother suggested that I tell our daughter when she’s old enough to understand that Mommy and Daddy have asked Grandma and Grandpa not to give her as many toys because she doesn’t need them. I guess that might work, but I’m afraid that my in-laws won’t stop buying even if we ask.

      • Amy December 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

        Maybe you can suggest that they contribute to a family zoo pass or other experience near you. Then it’s a gift that keeps on giving! 🙂 In years past, my family has given us money to put toward a zoo pass. Then we could think of them every time we went to the zoo! 🙂

        • AshleyBeth Baker December 12, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

          What an Awesome Idea! I am going to pass this on to our grandparents. A zoo pass or a bunch of movie passes would be a great idea!

      • jessthemess December 12, 2014 at 7:32 am #

        My sister ran into this problem with our family. She has begun asking for “experiences” as gifts instead of material things. Not every one in my family was on board with it at first i admit, but the boys were so happy! Instead of a toy that only lasts so long they have memories. They still say things like “remember when uncle so-and-so took us go carting at the arcade”, or “remember when we went out to eat after the movie with Nana and Papa did such n such”. It’s amazing and they are so grateful.

      • Yvonna December 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

        Since you asked them not to get her as many presents, have you thought of opening a savings account for her. The grandparents can give you the remaining money that they didn’t spend (if spending same one each grandchild). Then when she is 18 she will have money to help with college or a down payment on a car. Depending on amount saved up. Because she will be a young adult she will have something special from them.

    • Erin December 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

      I ask my parents and n laws to not get anymore presents then we get 🙂

    • Alicia Merlino December 15, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      I tell grandmas and grandpas that mommy takes boxes to Goodwill every week. If they send too many toys… Then toys will be in those boxes too. They have started to get the hint.

    • Honey Gram December 17, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      I am a gram & a great gram. Suggest they buy tickets to Christmas movies and take the children. They can also buy and give them AMC gift cards for future use. A surscription to one of the children magazines, buy a grandparents membership to the zoo, etc. Let them know these are things the children would like. Let them know you have started a college fund or ????

    • Amanda December 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      We had that same problem with both of our parents. We live 12 hrs away so I felt extra horrible asking them not to give our daughter all of these nice things that they had stockpiled throughout the year, but after that first Christmas (and birthday…our daughter’s bday is Dec. 30), we could not fit all of the toys and clothes into our car to return home! We tried explaining how tiny our apt is, but that did not deter them. We are so blessed that are families can afford to be so generous! Last year our daughter was turning 3 and had started asking to do different activities like ballet and gymnastics. We were already paying for a zoo pass and really couldn’t swing the cost of the other activities, so we asked that the grandparents “sponsor” L in an activity. My folks sponsored ballet and my in-laws did gymnastics! They were thrilled with that idea! Now I get to send weekly photos of their sweet ballerina/gymnast which is extra brownie points for me

    • LIz November 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      We have the same issue with my in-laws. My dad is on a very fixed income so he gives each kid one gift,. But my MIL likes to hand my daughter a huge toy catalogue and say, “Make a big list” She calls me a scrooge. But I prefer my child to have given some thought into what she really likes –maybe something she played with at a friend’s house or something she read about. But I don’t want her getting the gimmes and asking for things that she will play with once or get tired of quickly. One thing you could suggest to gramma is Li’l Passports. This company will send your child a package every month dealing with a different state or country, depending on what you are interested in. You can just pay for one month or order for 3 or 12. Grandparents usually have a bit more to spend than parents do so this could be a win win for everyone. I ordered this for my daughter and put off the first shipment til Jan 1. I have a feeling this will be a much treasured gift!

    • Cassie November 11, 2015 at 11:41 am #

      I love this idea. We have a total of 5 Christmas celebrations that we attend each year. We usually end up with a full car by the end of the day either way. This year we have said that we are giving 1 gift from Santa that will be relatively inexpensive and the gifts from us will be how many and the price we decide on, which is not a lot as he has larger Christmases from the rest of our families. We decided to make our own traditions, communicate our way of doing things and if they agree great, if not that’s OK too. It is difficult to get everyone in our families on board because we are fighting many different waystyles of doing things. I love many of the ideas I have read about today just reading the post and comments. And it’s always worth trying next year.

  5. Karen December 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    GREAT idea.

  6. Nichole Brown December 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Wonderful idea! I tend to go overboard but still try to buy meaningful presents. This seems like a much better idea.

  7. Marguerite December 10, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    I just started this tradition as well. My 5 children received a letter from Santa explaining how he loves to honor Jesus during Christmas time and this “is what mom & dad and I came up with to keep the meaning of the season”. Our 3 gifts go along with the gold (something they value), frankincense which was a perfume (so something they can share with the whole family), and myrrh which was a medicine (so something for the body to wear or exercise with). I love how they have to think a little extra about each gift when they’re older because at first my son put 3 video games down.

  8. Kimberly December 10, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    We have been doing the 3 gifts for the last 11 years!! If it was good enough for baby Jesus its good enough for my kids. My kids really think about what they want, and we usually try to accommodate within reason but 98% of the time they get what they ask for and are thrilled!!

  9. Gretchen December 10, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    I love this idea! It’s too late for this year but going forward that’s the way.

    Thanks!!!

  10. Betsy Watkins December 10, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    We did something similar: something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. It keeps the Christ in Christmas.

  11. Toni December 10, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    My daughter is twenty and she always received three gifts from Santa because Jesus received three gifts from the wise men. It is a wonderful way to keep Christ as the most important reason for the day.

  12. Amanda December 10, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    I am so glad I found this. As kids my sisters and I always knew the true meaning of Christmas, and my parents did their best to give us a magical holiday season without losing the true meaning. I now have a soon of my own who will be one in January, and I have been trying to come up with a way to introduce Santa without digging ourselves a financial hole we can’t dig out of. This is pure genius and a great way to reinforce the true meaning of Christmas.

  13. Darlene December 11, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    This is just not true. There were more wise men than the symbolic 3 wise men. And after everyone visited Jesus he had so many gifts he was a wealthy man. Study that. My son and his family practice this 3 gift thing and I have to respect that. But the reasons behind it are inaccurate.

    • Jan December 11, 2014 at 8:23 am #

      What do you base this on?

    • Katie
      Katie December 11, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      Darlene, I am fully aware of all the riches Jesus was given because he was the chosen One. HE WAS OUR SAVIOR!!! However, I would never, ever expect to teach my children that they are even slightly comparable to our Savior Jesus Christ and receive tons and tons of gifts. I give my children three gifts referring to the three wise men and to keep them humble. My children do not need loads of presents on Christmas morning more than they need my love and time that day to reflect on the reverence of the day. I fully respect your way of gift giving, just as I would assume you respect mine. Or maybe you can study that.

      • Rochelle Deliberto December 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

        Amen!

      • Lazer Tron October 22, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

        Katie, the Bible never tells us how many magi there were. It simply says that magi came, and the gifts they brought were gold, myrrh and frankincense. Those three types of gifts were morphed into a symbolic 3 wise men in our traditions, but it isn’t Biblical. If your purpose is to stick with the Bible, then I’d suggest giving 3 gifts to symbolize the 3 types of gifts Jesus received, rather than focusing on a specific number of magi.

    • Kay_Bee October 25, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

      While I agree there were probably more than 3 wise men and it could also be pointed out that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25th,but it’s not that big of a deal. Teaching her children that Christmas isn’t about materialism and teaching them about the greatest gift ever given to us — Jesus Christ– is the wonderful lesson she is teaching her children from a young age and I think it’s great. I have 2 step grand children who I watch open a ridiculous amount of gifts each Christmas morning from their parents, grand parents, aunt, uncles, etc. and I think it’s such a shame. The kids get so many gifts that nothing is “special” or has any type of meaning to them and they lose interest in all the toys and gifts they receive within a few days. I think it’s such a disservice to children to shower them in so many gifts at Christmas.

  14. Janice December 11, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Since my children were babies (they’re now 20 and 17), we only gave them three. While other friends lavished their children with things, I feel our tradition taught our kids that there is no endless flow of tangible items just because it’s Christmas.

  15. Krystle December 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    We do something very similar. We do 4 gifts though- something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. We add the “wear” to represent Mary wrapping baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. My kids are now 7 1/2 and 4 and we’ve done this since my oldests second Christmas. He loves it, and HE loves to share why our family does it this way.

  16. Eileen December 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    This idea is great! We have 1 present from Santa, one from mom and Dad, and 1 from grandma and grandpa. I like the less is more because we get overloaded with stuff. I wish Christmas was more about buying for the needy instead of our children.

    • Liz M. December 19, 2014 at 7:10 am #

      Yes Eileen! We are so spoiled as Americans. I was just telling my husband that we need to take our family to visit a third world country because my kids just don’t get it, which I totally take the blame for. They fuss about a nice home cooked meal when other kids have so little if anything. And I know I am so spoiled too. We are so rich and have no clue.

      • Trish October 25, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

        Eileen, you do not need to take your children to a third world country. We took our two daughters to a poor part of our town and to a homeless shelter. We also took them to see the “mansions” where the rich lived. We explained to them how fortunate we were that we had a nice home although not a mansion, and food on our table, clothes on our backs. We could be homeless or we could have a mansion but what we have is a loving family who is fortunate to have what we need.

  17. mamato3angels December 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    I come at this from a very different perspective. I have a 14, 11, & 3 year old. There is absolutely no one who would call my 14 & 11 year old kids spoiler or brattish, so let.’s get that out of the way. Now they are thoughtful and active members at our church. They no longer want toys or much of anything and it is so frustrating because I desperately want to express love through gifts at Christmas for them. So, this is the first year the three year old really gets it and she is so excited! She has loved decorating the trees and watching Christmas movies and she is looking forward to Santa! EVERYONE in the house and the grandparents can’t wait! I don’t care if we have to stop and play with each toy as we open them and I don’t care if it takes ALL DAY.! She was a most precious gift to us and she is the meaning of Christmas – a child. These years will go way too quickly and she will behave more like an adult so I am going to enjoy it and treasure every moment! I am very blessed to get to have these years again and blessed to be able to provide Christmas for her and a few others three year olds in need.

    • Amanda December 13, 2014 at 1:52 am #

      Thank you!! My love language is gifts so it’s really hard for me to try to scale back some. We are trying to do the want/need/wear/read but I already know I’m over that. This is a wonderful idea but really difficult too.

  18. Katie
    Katie December 12, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    I’m loving all of your comments!!! Every household is different and run different ways. But this has been the absolute best decision I have ever made for my family!! They still get tons and tons of presents from other family members so I know they are being “loved”! haha!!! And this is the best way to keep the trail of toys upon toys under control!!! We all know the joys of stepping on tiny toys around the corner, huh!!! Being a momma is a blessing in itself and for that I am grateful! 🙂 Thanks ladies!

  19. Jenn December 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    I love this. I struggle a lot with this balance because we celebrate Christmas FOUR different times with various grandparents who all like to go overboard. I really want Christmas to be as special in our home as it is during the other celebrations. And for little kids, that seems to mean lots of presents. I’ve dialed it back a lot at home and have encouraged our family to do the same, but we’re working on other ways to keep Christ in Christmas … including picking out birthday gifts for Jesus with donations to charities and sponsoring kids in our community. I just wish I could find a way to balance the gifts without taking the joy of gift giving away from the grandparents.

  20. Sara December 12, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    We do something they want (the Santa gift), something they need, something to wesar and something to read. We always pray and sing happy birthday Jesus (I have a 3 year old and a 4 !month old.)

  21. Nanagirl December 12, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    Such a warm & loving idea , having raised my children & always worrying if I could pull Christmas off ( the gifting part ) I now read this wonderful experience of motherhood . We may not have had what the children hoped or dreamed of but the one thing I know we shared was our love for one another, sharing all that makes a family & the love of our precious baby Jesus . Would so love to see my children share in this spirit of 3 gifting to my grans . Thank you for sharing , Merry Christmas & Gods Blessings to you and yours .Nanagirl

  22. Austin December 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Where does the bible say Jesus was born on Christmas? Is this just something you believe, cause I have never seen it in the bible at all.

    • Alison December 18, 2014 at 12:11 am #

      The idea of Jesus being born on Dec. 25 is not in the Bible. It is a tradition established by an early Pope to celebrate the birth of Christ. You can do some research and find a variety of reasons to explain the reasoning behind the tradition, but it is not specifically scriptural. In fact, there is no proof of when Jesus was born, and some research that I’ve seen actually indicates it was more likely in the spring.

  23. Vicki S December 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Yes, I too had that same epiphany…..so surrounding them with the true meaning of CHRISTmas. We clear out all toys and videos that are Slightly used and donate. Then we adopt a family that mirrors our family but are less fortunate. These values pour into their school life Church life and as they are all preteens and teenagers, it pours into their friendships. As I listen to neighborhood chatter from the our new home….it’s amazing how even their neighborhood aquaintiences have noticed that my children take care of the yard their toys and now cars. BByno means are . we rich $$$. We’re rich by God’s values. So from tithing to saving, service to worship all the way to leading and education we are living in the favor of Christ.

  24. Abitconfused December 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    I am not trying to start a holy war or to criticize anything you are trying to do. If you are happier with this arrangement, then I am most certainly happy for you, but I always thought that the reason we give gifts on Christmas was to symbolize God’s gift to us of his son and not the three wise men. In the Catholic religion(Disclaimer: I am not Catholic but know many people who are and am learning about French culture where this is a big deal) there is a separate holiday called kings day for the wise men. As for Santa, the saint of generosity, people say he comes on Christmas to again to imitate God’s generosity. Granted there is actually a Saint Nicholas day where some parents give their children an early present. No disrespect. I am not a parent or a preacher. I just thought that it was a point that should be pointed out if we are trying to find the real meaning of christmas.

  25. Monica December 14, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    Our best gifts were trips. Santa brought us a letter 5 different years explaining our “big gift” was a trip, and all the little presents were things for the trip… car games, warm clothes we don’t need in the south, “tickets” for collectable when we got there, etc. I still remember those trips as the best part of my childhood

  26. Angela December 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    I’ve been doing this for many years, my daughter is 12 now and I started it when she was 3 due to the same overly excessive amount of gifts from me & other family members. My daughter loves telling people about this topic & she explains well that only Jesus is perfect, and she is not better than him therefore she shouldn’t have more than him. She only gets 1-2 gifts from me, but 3 from Santa. On her birthday, she only gets ONE gift from me and the party. She has never ever complained about it. She has asked why some kids get so many gifts and I tell her they may not understand about the 3 gifts Jesus got and she is just fine.

  27. Amanda December 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Love it! I feel like I let the gift giving get out of control last year so this year I used a “formula” recommended by a friend: “Something you want, something you need. Something to wear, some thing to read.” So, each of my girls will get 4 gifts and it gives me a purpose when I’m shopping. Sticking to this has kept me from picking up “just one more gift” when I’m put shopping.

  28. Sandy December 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    My son is 7 and we have always done 3 gifts. As for grandparents, I asked that every time they wanted to go crazy with presents, they would put the money into a college savings account. It has worked out wonderful for us.

  29. Erin December 16, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    i think is a great idea. I can’t stand the clutter and stress of Christmas and have seeking a way to celebrate without those things. I just have one question, how do you narrow it to just 3 items? My children understand that we do not buy gifts except on birthdays and Christmas, so by Christmas they have a nice long list of items they want. At Christmas I use the list for Santa as well as to give grandparents and other family members an idea of what they want. In between holidays, my kids are welcome to purchase toys with their own money or gift cards, but mom and dad don’t buy them. That cuts down on the whining every time we enter a store. So my question is do you buy toys for your children throughout the year?

  30. Vanessa December 16, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    We’ve adopted the four gift rule: something they want, need, can wear, can read. My kids are 1 & 3 and we are starting now to make this our norm. My parents go way overboard with gifts and while I’ve asked them to stop, I know better so we scale it back. I like the three gift rule too.

  31. Sylvia Bernal December 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    We decided to do the same thing this year. It was a decision based upon my son’s very pricey Christmas list. Most items were over $100. He knew Santa would bring him the $400 Star Wars Deathstar Lego set that we failed as parents to provide at his birthday a month earlier. We informed our son that Santa does have to follow age guidelines on the presents he hands out, and he’s still too young for the Deathstar. We then discussed this new tradition. My older child is completely fine with it… BUT after I ordered her three presents, I came across a gold necklace and bracelet that I got when I was her age. I want to gift that to her, but it would be exceeding the gift limit.

  32. Cindy Martin December 17, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    My husband and I have done this for our children since my son was born New Years of 2009. Christmas 2011 we were struggling with doing Santa or not. We struggled from conviction that we didn’t want to take the focus off of Christ! So, a friend had mentioned the 3 gifts. I immediately adopted that idea! We do a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve night and then they get 3 gifts on Christmas morning. Way to keep Christ in Christmas!!!! Thanks for your post!

  33. Erin December 17, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    This year we are doing 4 gifts: something you want, something you need, something you wear, and something you read. It’s been hard for me to just buy them one want item but I’m sticking to it. They are still young so I’m going for this to catch on and continue. We still do the elf and Santa but I’m incorporating Jesus into it as much as I can right now. I’m excited to downplay the gifts this year. We did buy a trampoline for both of them, so there is one large surprise gift. It’s a start at least. We are trying to focus more on family experiences together and not so much on gifts.

  34. Angel marcum December 17, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I love this idea this is the way me and my husband so our children and I truly believe they learn to appreciate the TRUE meaning of Christmas!!!!!!

  35. Kate December 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    We do 4, something you want , something you need, something to wear, and something to read.

  36. Liz M. December 19, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    Great post. We give our kids just a few things too. No matter what toys they have they always go back to crayons, scissors, glue sticks, and paper so why buy all the expensive stuff? As a military family we move too often to have so much stuff. Even though we try we still realized during this last move that we still have too much stuff so I’m purging again post move. (sorry moving company)

    I’ve also read you can give, something they want, something they need and something to nurture their soul (a gift that feeds them spiritually). That’s hard to come up with but the post is at http://www.tolovehonorandvacuum.com. Great blog for Christian women. Thanks for keeping Christ in Christmas and making people think about this Katie. I love that you shared that you are a Christian. So many are scared to put that out there these days.

  37. Katie
    Katie December 19, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    Thank you all so so so much!!! Seeing everyone mostly agreeing with my post makes my heart HAPPY!!!! Great ideas everyone! Love the comments here!
    And Liz, I’m not scared one bit! My heart compels me to speak the truth…whether it is about my family or about my Savior! Thank you for your sweet words! 🙂

  38. Beth C. December 21, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Best idea ever! Thanks

  39. Regina December 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    My little ones are a girl that is almost 5 and a boy that just turned 3.

    We do the general rule of something they want (a toy), something they need (stocking hat, mittens and/or socks), something to wear and something to read. These gifts are from my husband and me.

    The Santa gifts they get are the stocking stuffers (toothbrush, decorative band aids, a small toy or book, etc) and 1 other gift, typically a toy. This seems to have worked well with our budget and the kids are not overwhelmed with gifts. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  40. Jenny December 23, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    Oh sweet Katie- my long lost soul companion – I am a teacher who taught jr high special ed & loved those darlings 🙂 I had no clue it was to prepare me for our sweet son -Joseph Cash. He has special needs as well! I have a daughter Jordan Lynn! Yes yes yes to this idea! Loved it and have always stuck to 3 gifts and the want, need, wear, read to guide the gift choices. You are an inspiration. I am thrilled to find this blog. If I am ever in your area or you in mine – New Braunfels, TX – we live 2blocks from schlitterbahn. I would hug you & tell you that you are awesome! Keep up the great work 🙂
    Merry Christmas

  41. Barbara October 15, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    What an awesome thought! I love this idea…wish I’d read this years ago! I was always like that with my 3 children; now I bestow my grandchildren with many gifts…but because of living on a fixed income, I really can’t do that any longer; I try to get one or two (maybe three) special gifts for each of them –

    Thank you for sharing this option to the BIG Christmas; because, after all, the sharing you do on Christmas morning is way bigger than having a ton of gifts!!

  42. Laura October 16, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    I just read this and wish I could back in time to when my boys were younger. This is such a great read!
    So many kids today get so much and don’t appreciate what they have, this would help stop that!
    Would have helped us as kids too. I dreaded the hours of opening presents as a child myself!

  43. Kristi October 16, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Amen sister! My husband and I were thinking of trying one really special gift, but I like the idea of three. One they really wanted, one they need, one total surprise. That is brilliant! And I think it’s a tremendous idea to tie it into the story of the three gifts that were presented to Jesus. We are totally jumping on this band wagon! I know some people that are gonna shoot the hairy eyeball at me too, including the grandparents, but they’ll adap. And hopefully my children will easily and confidentially explain to others the true meaning of Christmas that is upheld in their home. Thanks for sharing!!

  44. Gwen October 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    I LOVE the idea of asking the grands to sponsor sports or dance classes! When mine were young, we asked for savings bonds instead of the multitude of filler gifts they were getting. They each have a nice little nest egg. Now they are a little older and the things they wish for are more expensive, so they stopped the bonds and buy a nicet gift. It is nice to know they will receive a special something from the grandparents.

    As for my house, we have never “done Santa.” We don’t ban Santa from our home, but always felt very strongly that our kids know a gift is given by someone who has worked hard and chosen thoughtfully just for them. That has not always gone over well with other family or friends, but I have 4 very grateful and appreciate kids. We don’t limit to a number of gifts, but do keep them to a minimum and choose to focus on quality over quantity.

  45. Karen B October 18, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    We do the 4 gift rule:1. Something they want 2. Something they need 3. Something to wear 4. Something to read. The kids were so much happier when we started to do this and we too had more family time on Christmas. More snuggling, laughing, talking and sharing

  46. Cinder October 19, 2015 at 8:09 am #

    I LOVE this idea too…I shared it with our Womens FB page at church. If kids grandparents want to buy them gifts let them. Don’t get all legalistic about YOUR tradition. Grandparents are a whole different ballgame. Let them lavish love on your kids. Your children will get the point.

  47. Susan October 20, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    I’m twice as old as you and it reminds me of growing up. We didn’t have much and these days I don’t expect much or anything. You appreciate things more. Also, some kids open present after present only to ask, Is that it? Good for you all for raising your kids not to be materialistic!

  48. Christina October 20, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    We do not do the 3 gift method, however I love it. We don’t have a limit, but don’t want to go overboard either. What we DO do is each Nov. we go through all of her toys and we choose items to give to a family in need. This is a great way to declutter and teach a giving heart. I have noticed it’s easier for a child to give new items to people in need then to carefully think about each item they want to part with. We find a family who could really use the items and we take her to go give them. In addition, we buy items for those in need but to a young child, there is no sacrifice because they don’t understand the value of a dollar. This leads to a wonderful story about what Jesus has sacrificed for US. This has worked so well for us!

    I will add, we have told her if she only chooses 2 items to give away, then she only gets 2 items for Christmas (or 3 etc.). She has always chosen a car load of items (of course she doesn’t get a car load in return though). We explain Jesus didn’t put a limit on his sacrifice.

  49. Barbra October 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    My children are now 22, 20, 19, 17 and 14. I had decided early on that Santa only brought 1 small gift and the rest were from mom and dad and family. I also added a gift from Jesus, which was some type of light since He is “the light of the world” hoping every time they would see it they would think of Jesus. They were the ones that taught themselves not to just rip open the presents. They would open a present and want to play with it and I would let them. They would take it outside or to their playroom and after playing with the new toy awhile, they would play with their old toys and I would let them. So I started the 12 days of Christmas and they would open a present everyday. Now some people would say that’s too many presents but 1 day would be what 1 set of grandparents sent them (we lived far away from ALL the relatives), 1 day would be the other set of grandparents, 1 would be the uncle, etc. This way they also would remember who gave them what. Then I would throw in a DVD for the whole family to watch 1 day, or a game that we would all play or a puzzle for all of us to do. I’m hoping my children will keep the tradition going when they have children.

  50. Colleen October 21, 2015 at 6:25 am #

    All such great ideas! I am a grandmother now…..but the ‘tradition’ I started when I had my kids was first having Christmas morning (when Santa comes) on Christmas Eve morning. I work in health care and had to work many Christmas days. But the REAL benefit is that we were able to stay home ALL DAY and just hang out, eat, and play. I hated Christmas when I was a kid, having to leave my newly opened presents to go to relatives homes. Christmas day was now open for that. But the main ‘tradition’ that I did with my kids and now grandkids was to take them to a store that offered a giving tree……little cards with orphans names and gift requests on them. Each child would ‘adopt” a child to buy gifts for. They looked forward to doing that at Christmas time more than anything else! Then on Christmas morning they would imagine how happy the child must be opening those gifts. They always told me they liked doing that more than receiving a ton of gifts that they didn’t need anyway. I remember one year my daughter chose a little girl age 7 whose only request was for a winter coat. Well my daughter picked out everything for her….we bought her a pink coat, matching hat and gloves, a Holiday Barbie, and several other items. They are adults now but they still talk about those gifts for the children with fondness. They have adopted these traditions for their own children….

  51. Faye October 21, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    The way I heard the saying was: something they want, something they need, something to read and something to wear, which means 4 total, same concept, less is more.

  52. Shirley October 22, 2015 at 11:18 pm #

    I started this last year. Christas has become so expensive that I had to do something since my family keeps on growing with grandchildre and in laws. It made it so much easier on me. I sed to find myself trying to spend the same mont on each one,,,,now it’s just something they really want within reason.

  53. Belinda Rhodus October 24, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    I think this is a wonderful idea!!!!!! The real meaning of “Christ”mas has been put into such material things that the Love that Christ showed is not what society in general teaches or shows our children. Train up a child in the way he shall go and when he is old he won’t depart from it:) Giving is a good thing, but in abundance only spoils them and from that grows an unappreciated heart. Thank You for sharing this… such a wonderful idea, not to mention putting Christ totally back into Christmas<
    God Bless<

  54. Diana Boyesen Re/Max Town & Country Realty 407.448.3834 October 24, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    love this article. i was a single mom and when my son was 4 i couldnt afford much. “Santa” brought him many gifts but i didnt get him anything. After he cane back frim his dads he asked me why i hadnt gotten him a present. Instead, i changed the rules to. santa brings one special gift and fills stockings. And I give him 3 gifts. I love the idea of the 3 wise men gifts. We don’t celebrate Christ as we feel its a pagan holiday and celebrate it as fun family time but i love the idea and eould have used it!

  55. Brittney October 25, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing! This is just what I needed as I have been struggling with the same feelings of giving too much and my kids never play with the things they get! I have been trying to to decide what to do about this year and I think you just helped me decide ? THANK YOU! Awesome read!

  56. Maribel October 25, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

    Great post! I have always limited my gift giving. I come from a family of bigtime gift givers. They shop year round and dole out a lot of presents for Christmas, birthdays, the works. I could never keep up with that and I don’t try. I love the 3 present rules. I also limited the presents for my crew at Christmas time. I felt like I could get them one really nice quality item that I wouldn’t normally buy them otherwise, so it feels special and still doesn’t break the bank.

    Thanks for sharing. I also boycott shopping on Thanksgiving Day. I don’t care how much you “save”, if you are not spending time with family and instead going on a shopping frenzy, you are missing the point of the all of the Holidays.

  57. Angie October 29, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    For those of you that use the 4, Something you need, something to wear, something to read, something they want.. While we are not rich, my children have all that they need, and mostly stuff they wear. I did that last year. This year I am going for, Something you want, something to share and something to read, something to wear. This way, I wasn’t limited to only 1 want, if they could share it. I may limit it further this year, something you want, something to share and giving to a family because you care, and you have everything you need and to wear. It will be hard because I so love buying for my kids, but they don’t need anything, including toys. The things from Santa, usually must fit into the stocking. I’ve heard of a Facebook share that talks about Santa bringing the best toys, what about the children who don’t have much to give, and Santa doesn’t bring them anything or only a small item or candy.

  58. Leah November 1, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    I’m not religious but we do celebrate Christmas. This seems like a great idea, kids get way to many toys they don’t even need or use after the initial sentiment wears off.

  59. Linda November 1, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

    I’m sure many of you already know this, but Samaritan’s Purse does a shoebox gift give-a-way at Christmas in the poor areas of the world, or areas hit by devastation. (They did Japan after the tsunami hit, which is by no means a poor country…) For many of the kids receiving the shoebox, it’s the first time they have EVER received a gift, or anything new, for that matter. I’m just sharing this because it might be a way to change the paradigm from “Do my kids have enough?” to “Do those kids have anything?”

  60. Debbie November 2, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    Samaritan’s Purse is an excellent idea. Instead of adult family members exchanging gifts, we donate toward a project sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse. I also suggest you look into the needs of orphanages or shelters for abused women and children. Their needs are also great. Perhaps those of you whose children receive an abundance of gifts could make a practice of giving some to children who have so little.

  61. susan November 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    As a gramdma who has done the ton of gifts for each child until last year, i agree with the concept of only getting a few gifts for each child/person. Just an FYI, Jesus received his gifts from the wise men when he was a toddler, probably around 2 yrs. old. It took the wise men a few years to find Jesus’ family and it probable didn’t fall on his birthday. I know all the Xmas plays, (X is greek for Christ, btw, so not disrespectful), have the wise men coming on his birth, but they didn’t. Also, the Bible doesn’t tell us how many wise men there were either. You can google this yourself.

  62. Teresa December 15, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    Oh Jane I wonder if you have any friends. Do not ever tell a mom how to parent. PERIOD.

  63. Debbie December 25, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    We told our son the truth about St. Nicholas and how much he loved Jesus. His example of giving to others out of Christian kindness led to being honored as a Saint in the Catholic church. Our son never told another child the entire story but did tell others that he believed in St. Nick who became Santa Claus.
    Five requests for gifts were traditional at our home. There were three Wise Men gifts, one St. Nick gift, and one gift from mom and dad. That helped to keep the reason for the season at the front of our minds. We read the story of the birth of our Savior prior to opening gifts and shared reasons we were thankful for events of the prior year.
    The best present for me was when our child excitedly wrapped his arms around me and exclaimed that he was so glad that he knew his mom and dad purchased his gifts and not Santa. He talked about how much he appreciated the presents that day when he was just six years old.
    In my personal life, I remember feeling betrayed by my parents after getting into a heated argument with an older neighborhood boy who declared that my mother and father were the purchasers of Santa gifts. To avoid any more dramatic experiences, my father told me the truth. At ten years old, I doubted everything they had taught me. I did not know if God was real or if Jesus was ever born and placed in a manger.
    While we do not judge families who choose to make Santa a part of their Christmas holiday, we found that our traditions worked best for us.

  64. Merri December 25, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    We live near one of my sisters and her family (herself, husband, daughter, her spouse who are both in there 30’s) Christmas after Christmas we watch them shower their daughter and spouse in presents, many from “Santa”. This year I counted over 30 gifts EACH! It troubles me to watch this every year and to have my son who is a child see this. Today he asked me why Santa brings them so many presents when they are grown up’s and he is a kid and gets just a few! (he is happy with what he gets and isn’t asking for more)
    What kind of answer can I give him??
    Considering not spending Christmas next year with them during the gift opening part at there house. We live near one of my sisters and her family (herself, husband, daughter, her spouse who are both in there 30’s) Christmas after Christmas we watch them shower their daughter and spouse in presents, many from “Santa”. This year I counted over 30 gifts EACH! It troubles me to watch this every year and to have my son who is a child see this. Today he asked me why Santa brings them so many presents when they are grown up’s and he is a kid and gets just a few! (he is happy with what he gets and isn’t asking for more)
    What kind of answer can I give him??
    Considering not spending Christmas next year with them during the gift opening part at there house.

  65. Lisa November 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Wow…I couldn’t do this 3 gifts only thing….I have the whole of December to bake and decorate and watch christmas films and do family things….christmas day seems normal to me to be woken up at 4am with an excited child and spend 3 hours opening our presents. Our kid has the whole day to play….and every other day after. I think as kids grow up tho they become more patient and enjoy taking the time to open gifts. One day my kid won’t want toys, one day they he will have left home and my house will be tidy 24/7 but while my son is here I’m afraid making the most of everything each day and spoiling him at Christmas is priority because I can.

  66. Teagan January 25, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

    Personally, as a child myself still, who knows Santa does not exist, I would not like to only get three presents. Now before you go calling me selfish let me explain. My parents are divorced and my dad lives in Florida. When I was younger I was raised firmly in Santa and the Tooth Faerie, as well as the Easter Bunny and other myths. My favorite part of Christmas and winter in general is the beauty, part of which is the sparkling tree covered in twinkling lights. And what characteristically goes with that vision of a tree? Presents. In that sense part of all my Christmas memory’s are the presents themselves. Instead of celebrating Christmas like usual, my main celebration is Christmas eve where I open presents with all of my family, thats my family’s chance to give the cousins and aunt, uncle ect. presents and for everybody to meet. That in itself is about 20 presents, not all expensive, but all meaningful. On Christmas morning I open presents from my mom. I also open the few shipped from my dad. More presents. All of which I will use. If I don’t use them and there unopened then I will donate them to Samitras purse. If I want the, then I will keep them. Call me selfish but presents are a big part of Christmas to me and hold many memory’s. I would explain more, but I need to go to violin lessons.

  67. Jelessa October 10, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    So thankfully I found this article. I have a 15 month old. Last year was a breeze, but as he gets older I was afraid what Christmas would turn into. As a Christian, I had often to said to myself I wouldn’t celebrate the worldly view of Christmas, but I did as a kid 🙂 After reading this article, I will work with my husband and extend family to incorporate this 3 wise men gifts into our CHRISTmas celebration!!

  68. Lea November 17, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    My brother and I weren’t put on a “limit” but our parents didn’t buy us loads of presents, and at least half of what we got was something we needed! We were raised to be thankful. We never fought over who had more, getting too few, etc. we appreciated what we got and thanked our parents for what they had gotten us and had done for us. I can see an amazing reason behind the 3 gift rule, and it seems like an appropriate number of presents not only because kids have enough when they are clothed, fed, and loved. They have something to enjoy. Also considering, they’re gonna be getting gifts from other relatives most likely and it just adds to a pile of toys they often get bored of! There were years we had 2-3 presents when we were younger, but we knew our parents and “Santa” had worked hard picking them out and giving them to us!
    I can’t agree with the whole thing about thinking it’s ok for your kid to go around telling other kids Santa isn’t real. I get that many families want a heavily Christ based Christmas, I am a Christian too, so is my fiancé. We were both raised with Santa. I was not raised religiously at all, he was raised in a very religious home, but sharing the nativity story, and talking to children about why it is we celebrate Christmas, why they get presents, and raising them Christian year round is a great way to instill those values. I don’t even disagree with people not wanting their children to believe Santa is real. That isn’t child abuse, it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a good parent, your children probably won’t even feel they’re really missing out on anything (can’t speak from personal experience on that, as I said, I was raised with Santa), but the Santa thing didn’t make me trust my parents any less. Personifying an array of love and giving made it easier for us to grasp the idea as children. To think there were seemingly magical things here on earth visiting us helped us imagine wonder in the world, it’s all in good fun. Don’t ruin other people’s fun. If you’re telling your kid it’s ok to come to school and tell my kid Santa isn’t real, I’m going to get pissed. I knew kids in primary school that came and made fun of kids for believing in Santa, or just became irate when no one would listen to them when they claimed Santa didn’t exist. You don’t have to include certain aspects of a holiday in it FOR YOUR FAMILY. As a parent, you make that decision. You can’t make that decision for anyone else, regardless of what vehicle you use to push it into others.

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