How to Implement The Four Christmas Gift Rule

christmas gifts wrapped in brown paper with holly accent and twineWe are constantly bombarded with holiday media telling us to buy, buy, buy. It can be tempting to get just one more good deal in the form of a toy for our kids at Christmas. But what do you do if your house or your budget can’t support all of these toys? Or better yet, what should you do if you just want to simplify and be a better example of what Christmas means? How does a four Christmas gift rule sound?

Several years ago, one of my friends mentioned that she followed a simplified, Christmas gift-giving method for her two kids. She was the first person that I knew that did this and was very successful at doing so. Hers was more biblically-based, as it’s said that Jesus received three gifts after his birth from the Three Wise Men. Since then, I’ve been seeing a few different versions, based on selecting a gift from certain categories. The Four Christmas Gift Rule seems to be getting the most buzz.


This one might not seem like fun at first glance. Not many kids are going to be excited about getting the ever-practical and always needed underwear and socks. If your child is into sports, new equipment could fall into this category. A budding artist could probably benefit from new supplies. If you have a dancer in your house, you could gift a new leotard for practice.


Books are some of my favorite gifts to give. If your child is luke-warm on receiving books as gifts, get creative. Gift a magazine subscription or create a personalized book with your child’s name in it. Try a book in a non-traditional format. My son loves to read graphic novels and comic-style books. If you’re looking for some fun, old-school picture books to gift, check out this post for some ideas.


This one is probably the most fun but hardest to narrow down. If you are taking the four Christmas gift rule route, it is important to set the expectations from the beginning. My kids know that a Christmas List is made-up of suggestions. You might get some of the things on the list. You will also get things that are surprises, a.k.a. things not on the list. And as my mom always told me as a kid, “There’s always your birthday.”


The reception of this gift is most likely dependant on each personality. My daughter LOVES to receive apparel in any form. The more flippy sequins and glitter the better. My son could take it or leave it. To make this gift a little more exciting, try some fun rain boots or cowboy/girl boots, light-up sneakers or even a character dress-up costume.

What it is your family’s Christmas gift-giving philosophy? Will you be following the four Christmas gift rule this year? Let me know in the comments.



Emily Draper
Emily grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She graduated from The University of Arizona with a degree in Business Administration, where her love affair with all-things desert began. She originally moved to Tampa in 2009 to be closer to her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Kyle. Together, they have two amazing (and amazingly strong-willed!) kids, Charlotte and Connor. Since starting a family, Emily has also lived in South Carolina and Metro Detroit, before returning to the Tampa area in 2017 to franchise a fitness studio, Red Effect Infrared Fitness In her spare time, Emily enjoys fitness, essential oils, reading, country music and anything crafty.