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Avoiding Holiday Gift Overload

Avoiding Holiday Gift Overload

So you’re a city mom and space is limited. Giant gifts that need batteries and generate noise seem all the more alarming in your confined quarters, and you spend most of the year trying to keep the clutter to a minimum. Thank heavens minimalism is hip. All your urban parent friends can agree that part of the challenge over the holidays is what to do with all the presents once they’ve been opened. Whether your kids share a room, or you have multiple purposes for each of your living areas, getting each new holiday gift put away can feel like a daunting task.

Four Holiday Gift Policy

avoiding holiday gift overloadBy early December packages from loved once are starting to arrive by post. Each holiday gift is neatly piled under the tree. At some point, I start to wonder if I should even bother buying the kids gifts from their Dad and me. A few years ago we adopted a four gift strategy that gets us through Christmas morning with a little more thankfulness and less holiday hangover. Everyone receives something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. We can involve the family in buying something specific. If we are at a loss over what to buy we can stay within our means and still give gifts that will be appreciated and loved.

While the kids are devising their Christmas wish list they are given a paper split into four sections. They are on a mission to find items that work for each category. This is particularly good for my three and six-year-old as they learn to be grateful for each holiday gift they are given and to recognize the giver. It helps me too when it comes to knowing what to buy that won’t get shuffled aside and forgotten. I want my money to be well spent. Plus, when all the festivities have died down it helps to avoid a holiday hangover in terms of both clutter and finances.

What it Looks Like

So, what does a four holiday gift list look like? Here’s an example:


  • Dance lessons
  • Karate class
  • Barbie
  • Mario Kart racing car


  • New back pack
  • Compass
  • Dance bag
  • Step stool


  • Skinny jeans
  • Pink hoodie
  • Rain boots
  • Mittens


  • Geronimo Stilton
  • I Want My Hat Back
  • Pinkalicious
  • Ivy and Bean

Simple and Special

This is a great jumping off point for what your children would find joy in receiving on Christmas morning. For the more creative parent, including something ‘homemade’ or ‘to share’ could bring a more authentic feel to holiday gift giving. This idea can be adapted any way that suits your unique family make up and values.

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After it’s all said and done and the kids are busy playing with their newly opened gifts I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing we stayed on budget, within our means and kept the excitement in such a special holiday memory.

Do you have any holiday gift policies or rules to keep the season simple and special? Leave a reply and share your tips!

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