How to Do a 5 Gift Christmas

“What the heck?” That is my 3 yr olds favorite phrase right now. And with her inflection it’s pretty funny- but don’t tell her because I don’t want it to stick around forever! Although I have realized how much I say it now, I even wrote it in a post! So I blame mom.

A 5 gift Christmas?

That was exactly the response at our family meeting. “What the heck?”


This year we are implementing a new tradition slash rule. After a couple months of trying to rid our home of excess stuff we are trying an experiment in minimalist gift giving. Let me preface by saying this may not be for everyone. I’m not judging, just sharing, and perhaps suggesting a little tiny bit.  Don’t let the ghosts of Christmases past haunt you again. After the crazy gift buying, stress, anxiety, wrapping into the night, frenzy of opening, (not to mention amounts spent) and the subsequent inevitable demise of 80% of the gifts given by Easter- wouldn’t something simpler be refreshing? That’s what we are thinking and so we are going do it.

So you’ve probably heard of the 4 gift rule?

Something they want

Something they need

Something to wear

Something to read

A great read on this topic can be found at Simple Learning . This was one I read last year but it is always relevant. She has some good gift ideas and explanations.

Well, we had decided to do this 4 gift thing and then we started to read about experienced based holidays and finding more ways to DO with your kids, not just GET. So… we are budgeting our 4 gifts- good quality but reasonable- and then setting a budget for 2 big family gifts and using what would have been the amount for one of the big ticket items and using it on an experience instead.

My son and daughter just got to do theirs this past weekend. We traveled out to Houston fullsizeoutput_831and Galveston for the weekend and did the Museum of Natural Science, the Cockrell Butterfly Center, ate out at fun (cue Rainforest Cafe) and international (Honduran and Mediterranean) restaurants, saw the Festival of Lights and Iceland at Moody Gardens, saw Rudolph in 4D, rode the ferry, and swam at the hotel pool. Whew! And it didn’t get a bow on top and won’t be thrown out in 6 months. Ready for the cliché phrase? Here ya go:

Memories last a lifetime.


Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 10.57.51 AM



What to do about gifts given from outside our little family of five? Well those are very graciously accepted of course. We will not be imposing any rules outside of our immediate family unless they opt to be involved. Gift giving is even more fun than getting and we won’t stifle that joy. Perhaps in coming years it will spread and family can do one of the categories- or better yet be part of the DO experiences! That would be super fun.

And you know what? I am almost done with my shopping already! Heck yes for this new tradition!

*update: read about how it all actually went down here

PS: Madison’s other favorite phrase right now? “shhh its a supwise” in her hushiest yet still loud somehow volume. I love that one.




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