Making Christmas Simple Again

Hubs and I decided last year that we wanted to instill in our children the concept of a simple Christmas. One that consisted of less of the “gimme-gimme” attitude. We all have tendencies towards that spirit, don’t we?

So this year we are striving to focus on simple things: faith, family time, and fun memories.  We wanted there to be less of a focus on gifts and Christmas lists- not that we have a problem with doing either of those. We don’t.  Christmas is much deeper than those reasons and we want our celebration to reflect this choice.

Last year, I was browsing a blog, August Fields, and read about the four gift rule for the first time. I loved it and shared the idea with Hubs. We decided that we would implement that gift-giving philosophy in our home as well.

Something to Wear  – The girls enjoyed thinking about their “something to wear” gift- like the true girls that they are.  In fact, my oldest daughter was very involved in picking out her new outfit.  It worked out rather well, in my opinion.  She is getting so tall that I kind of needed her by my side to be certain that her clothing is long enough.

Do you have that problem?  Need to be reminded of how big they are getting?  In my heart, she’s still my baby -my firstborn, but then whenever I catch a glimpse of her tall figure skipping by,  I’m reminded that she truly is growing up.  (However, the skipping part reassures me that she’s still younger than she looks – ha!)

Something to Read  – Hubs and I encourage reading whenever we can.  Recently our girls have finished reading a “young reader” Anne of Green Gables book and are now currently watching the movie.  (This brings back fond memories of my own. I devoured that entire series of books and watched the movie repeatedly.)

I love seeing bookworms curled up everywhere.  We’d like to add some missionary biographies as well as some more classics to their library.

four gift rule

Something You Want  – This has – hands down – been the gift that our children have discussed the most.  For Zip, it was easy…”a dinosaur”.  What?!  That quickly changed the next day to a …”baby doll”.  Whew.  

It’s fun to see what their interests are each year and how they change from year to year.  This is clearly a gift not of necessity, possibly not even intended to educate, and certainly not of dire need.  It’s a gift that, to them, simply says I love you and You are special.  A gift of love.

Something You Need  – Parents like fulfilling the needs of their children.  The fact is we all want to give a gift that’s necessary and needed.  We enjoy blessing other people.  It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

I’ve enjoyed simplifying  our shopping list this year.  It certainly made the season more enjoyable and affordable.

So how do you make Christmas simple?  Do you have a specific shopping list or gift rule in your home?  How do you keep the focus off of the gifts and centered on Christ, the reason for the seaon?  I’d love to hear what your family does to celebrate Christmas.  Share and share alike.


I hope that you have been enjoying  our “A Homemade Christmas”.  We’ll back here on Monday morning for another Christmas project.  Check out Christina (The Frugal Homemaker) for today’s project.  It involves two very popular textures- burlap and lace.  😉


Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.


8 thoughts on “Making Christmas Simple Again

  1. Pingback: Keep gifts simple (Day 5 of 31 days to take the Stress out of Christmas)

  2. Christina @ The Frugal Homemaker

    I love this idea – I have seen the 3 gift idea thing before (patterning it after the 3 gifts that the wisemen give) I think they leave the “wear” gift off your list. although they might fall underneath the “need” category.

    I would so do this if we had kids. And somehow force my relatives to do the same too. Although that would be a huge battle – sometimes thankful that I don’t have to deal with that 🙂

    1. heather Post author

      I love it too. Yes, those categories do tend to blend sometimes, but not always. I did have a question from one of my readers (a “grandma”) on how to apply this gift rule for their grandkids. Not easy for grandmas, I’m sure. lol!

  3. Sage Grayson

    I have never heard of the 4 gift rule. I like it! We’re not doing presents this year. Instead, we’re focusing on spending quality time together as a family. We’re tired of all the “gimme gimme” too.

    1. heather Post author

      I love it. My shopping was certainly simplified this year. I was able to focus more on what my growing munchkins actually need as well as gently remind them that receiving gifts is not the true message and purpose of the Christmas season. It’s about faith and family. I love your idea as well. Think of all the great memories that you will make -memories that will last a lifetime. Precious.

      Thanks for stopping by and also for the taking the time to comment, Sage. I love hearing from new people. 😉

  4. Leah

    This year we have simplified as well. We’ve shopped Salvation Army for used toys and have filled stockings with useful things instead of trinkets. We also decided to get treats from the health food store so that I don’t have to feel guilty about letting them eat what’s in their stockings. haha! And we’ve kept our tradition of new Christmas jammies for everyone.
    I think without trying specifically, we have done the ‘four gifts’ plan. I’ve spent more time planning activities to do together as a family, and activities to do for others. I’m happier already knowing that the shopping is done (didn’t even do that much!) and I can settle in and enjoy the season without that “cluttered” feeling of having tons to do. And I like it better this way. 🙂

    1. heather Post author

      I know, isn’t it nice? Christmas can be less of the hustle and bustle this year. I also love buying for purposes, needs and yes, that one special “want”. It makes my shopping easier. Haha- yes, we still do the Christmas Eve jammies too. I grew up doing it and it is a tradition that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed carrying over into my own family.

      And you know me, I love the idea of the health food store treats. Thanks for sharing. 😉


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