How many Christmas gifts is too many

Why I Refuse to Over-Gift My Child–Understanding the 3 Gift Rule…

Mom Jeanine
December 5, 2011


Holidays, Toys

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Believe it or not, I haven’t purchased one single Christmas gift for my daughter. Yes, I spend the majority of my work day looking online for the best deals on hot holiday toys, but despite that I haven’t bought a single thing. Sure, the deals have been tempting, but ever since my daughter’s first Christmas I have resolved that I will not go crazy. I will not stand in ridiculous lines and risk getting maced just so she can have a billion toys under the tree. Instead, I’ve instituted the 3 gift rule.

Yup, it’s true. I only buy my daughter 3 Christmas gifts every year. And I will continue to do so for as long as I buy her Christmas gifts.

I started doing this for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s just practical. We’re short on space and I simply just wouldn’t have the space to store a million new Christmas toys.

Of course, it’s also financial. As a single parent, it just isn’t fiscally responsible to blow that much cash for one day.

And then there is the brat factor. My daughter is only 3-years-old now so if I start showering her with every toy she sees on a commercial on Christmas, what is she going to expect when she gets older? Plus, she’s not just getting gifts from me. Add to my 3 what her grandparents and other relatives will buy her and that’s a lot of gifts for a toddler.

I get that Christmas is supposed to be a magical time for kids–it was for me. But I can remember vividly getting so pissed at my parents when my brother got 2 more gifts than me. Even if I got everything I asked for, I was still unhappy if my brother had more than me. And I don’t want that for my daughter. This is a time to be thankful for our blessings and rewarded for being obedient–not for keeping tabs on who can rack up the most “stuff.”

So that’s why I stick by the 3 gift rule. My little girl knows if she listens and behaves, then she’ll get 3 nice things under the Christmas tree. We are not making it rain Christmas presents just because we have it like that–Christmas is not a competition. I want to teach her to be thankful for what she gets, even if it’s significantly less than others. And that even if she gets nothing, she is still has quite a lot.

What do you think? Do you shower your kids with Christmas gifts or do you try to limit gifting during the holidays? How many Christmas gifts is too many? Share your thoughts on over-gifting in the comments.

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  • Sara
    December 5, 2011

  • I could not agree more!!!
    We have gone all out in the past for our 3 children, but a friend of mine told me about this 4 gift thing she does with her child. it is: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read!!

    And that is what we are going by this Christmas……and on top of that they also are going to get 2 family gifts this year….a DVD player for the van, and a family board game (that will be come a tradition every year for us!!)

  • lela
    December 5, 2011

  • I so agree with the three gift rule. One gift we’ll be getting our 14 month old is a leap frog laptops. I know it says 4-7, but she won’t leave mine alone. And just like you she’ll get plenty from relatives. I don’t subscribe to the idea on the latest toys and the most(est). Start them early and the battle will be less in the future. As she gets older, I would let her choose at least one she really wants, and the other 2 would be up to me.

  • Tara
    December 5, 2011

  • Quality over Quantity. ( I agree there are too many presents for kids.) For ours, we have them make a list. We spend the same dollar amount on each. We also tell her there is a dollar limit. So, they can have one gift for the amount for ten. Usually, it is roughly, 1-3 gifts. This is how it was when I was a kid. Our parents spent the exact same amount on each, Santa spend the same amount on all children under one roof. Also, we value handmade gifts. It taught us about quality and value.

  • Stephanie
    December 6, 2011

  • I think this is a great idea! Kids get so much stuff every year they don’t even know what to do with it all… I already have my Christmas shopping done for this year, but next year I will keep this in mind!