A 4 Gift Christmas :: How to Simplify Gift Giving


4 Gift Christmas

When you have 5 kids, Christmas can get out of hand easily.

I quickly get overwhelmed by the number of gifts I feel like my kids “deserve.” Maybe this is more my desire to keep up with the Joneses, but every year I regret the impulse buys. The junk and the amount of money we spend to make Christmas morning epic ends up getting out of hand. I tend to forget that it is already special — family being together to celebrate Jesus’ birthday — the day we appreciate the greatest gift God ever gave the world. No gifts we can buy can make it any more special. 

So, we have decided to simplify our Christmas gift list to just four gifts per kid: A need, a want, an adventure and an educational gift. This year, we refuse to get overwhelmed by quantities and are opting for just a few intentional, quality gifts instead.

Gift One: A Need

So “need” is a strong word here, but this gift is something you will likely buy for your kids at your next trip to Target, but making it a Christmas gift makes it a little more fun.

This could be new shoes because they grew out of theirs from the fall already. Maybe a new backpack (because backpacks don’t always make it through the school year). I typically make the kids’ stocking their need gift. It gets filled with a few little things they need: new socks, a fun toothbrush (major splurge if it’s a spin brush!), chapstick, a winter hat or gloves mixed in with a few sweet treats. Finding little things they actually need helps curb the habit of picking up little toys that don’t end up lasting very long and inevitably end up the couch cushions! 

Gift Two: A Want

This is the hardest one for me to stick to. I mean, who can buy just one gift that a kid wants?! There is something in me that wants to fulfill all my kids’ desires so that they have everything they want this Christmas. So for me, discipline is key here. I have my kids make a list of just a couple things they want and hope that some of the items I can pass for one of the other categories. I can always try to pass other gift “wants” to the grandparents to buy cuz you know they’ll get them something anyway!

Gift Three: An Adventure

This is my favorite gift because you don’t have to find a spot for it to go the day after Christmas! There are endless possibilities for this idea, but can include all the wonderful things Milwaukee has to offer!  Consider an Adventure Rock climbing gift card for your adventurous one. A Betty Brinn Children’s Museum or Milwaukee County Zoo family pass is perfect for your exploring preschooler. The best part is the whole family can use these all year long!

If these things aren’t ideal for your tribe, consider tickets! Check out A Charlie Brown Christmas or the Watsons go to Birmingham at First Stage Children’s Theater. For older kids, The Nutcracker (sensory-friendly performances available!) or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory coming to the Marcus Center this winter may be a good fit. I love creating memories on Christmas outings with the kids. Or even more simple? Tickets to the movie theater to enjoy the next big family film together when it comes out! 

Gift Four: Something Educational

Here, I like to get creative. For my son who was 8 last Christmas, we got a science experiment book. We have done approximately one million experiments since. (This may be a tad of an exaggeration.) My daughter (6) loved the purse sewing kit we got her. We spent time together assembling it and the product was something she still uses. For the 4-year-olds (yes I had three four-year-olds last Christmas), we ordered wipe away books, puzzles and tangrams respectively. They each got something that appeals to their personality and provides hours of fun.

A family pass to The Domes or the Miwaukee Public or Art Museums could work here, too. These places are so educational and provide a year of learning, especially during our long Wisconsin winters!

My kids also love to read – independently and together. So, this year I’m splurging on a new chapter book series to read with my older kids! We just finished the classic Little House On The Prairie series; the first book is actually set in Wisconsin! Any age appropriate book series can make a great present for all the bookworm kids or mommas out there.

There are so many ways to give this holiday season, I hope some of these ideas bring joy & more family together time (and less junk) to your Christmas this year. What gift are you most excited to give your child this year?



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