Your Child Only Needs 4 Gifts This Christmas: A Guide To Buying Christmas Gifts Without Overdoing It

As parents, we often buy into the lie that more, more, more increases the value of our love for our kids when in reality a handful of carefully chosen gifts is much more meaningful. We buy too much because we want to give our children everything we never had, we want Christmas to be special, or we want our children to see how much we love them in the form of tons of presents. I understand how it feels to want to let your children know how much you love them, but you can achieve your goals in another way that will bring true happiness to yourself and your family. Not to mention- you will be dealing with far less clutter littering your home after Christmas if you stick to these 4 guidelines for gifts. You can even take a Minimalist approach with the gifts you request for yourself. Read this post for some pretty sweet gift ideas for Minimalist mamas.

Minimalist kids Christmas toy gift ideas for parents or grandparents on a budget.  |

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You see, the whole point of limiting the amount of stuff inside your home is to avoid overstimulation. Too much stuff constantly in view will leave you and your children feeling overstimulated and over time that could lead to anxiety.

It doesn’t hurt to mention that if your children are always given each little thing they ask for then they never have time to fully appreciate what they’re given. It is better to choose only a few carefully selected open-ended toys that appeal to their likes, hobbies, and age. Give your children the gift of time to get to fully explore a toy before another new one overtakes it. Don’t oversaturate their environment.

Minimalist kids Christmas

Before you know it kids grow up and move on to something new. Don’t worry that your kids will feel like they don’t have everything the next door neighbor kid has. It may take a little time to adjust, but I’ve begun to notice with my own children that the fewer toys we keep in our home the more my children bond to those toys and value them. They don’t have their eyes peeled for the next shiny thing because they have a relationship with their toys at home.

Family Matters

Let’s be real. Grandma and Grandpa will gift your children plenty of extra stuff. Politely let them know before any holiday or birthday parties that whatever presents they decide to buy for your child you’d like  those toys to stay at their house. Better yet- ask them to choose an experience gift for your child and let them spend the day making memories instead of accumulating junk.

Making a change to a better lifestyle isn’t without its bumps in the road. The grandparents, or other loved ones, may not love hearing your request to limit toys, but as long as you keep your disposition sweet the situation is more likely to go smoothly. They don’t have to like your parenting or lifestyle choices, but you do deserve for them to respect those choices.

Minimalist Christmas with Kids

'The less stuff you have, the fewer gifts you receive, the more you will value and care for the things you do have.' -Leah 'MamaBear' MartinClick To Tweet


When I was growing up, I thought that things had to be extremely intricate, detailed, or over-the-top to be impressive. The older I get the more I understand the value of simplicity- basic items that are very well made- and I respect things that are more practical, and my suit my needs.

Last year I stumbled across the Minimalist method for purchasing Christmas gifts for kids. You can read a little more about what I thought about that in this post, but this year I feel like it is a better fit for my family now that both my children are old enough to talk and show me things they like or dislike.

Minimalist Method for Buying Christmas Gifts for Kids

The basics are this: each child gets something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Choosing to buy your gifts this way will bless your child with a well-rounded collection of Christmas gift items when all the packages have been opened, and it will limit impulse gift buys on your part that won’t satisfy your child long enough to leave the Christmas tree.

What Does a Minimalist put in a Christmas Stocking?

Okay- I’ll admit. That heading sounds like the lead in for a bad joke. lol But I can imagine you’re sitting there wondering what the heck am I supposed to do with my child’s stocking if I follow this Minimalist Christmas list? In lieu of dollar section junk that will be broken before the kids go back to school, I would recommend filling each child’s stocking with consumables. Consumables are items that will disappear as they are used. I would highly recommend hot cocoa mix, bath crayons, fresh oranges, mixed nuts + a nutcracker (hours of fun for kids, y’all!), chocolate truffles, or a Starbucks gift card for your teen.

Something They Want

This gift will vary based on a lot of variables. You should spend some time with your child intently watching him play. Observe the way he interacts with his toys. What does he like? After spending several afternoons watching your little one play, ask him directly what types of things he may be interested in adding to his Christmas list.

When I choose a new toy for my children, I prefer to pick items that cater to their imaginations so those are the types of toys I’ll suggest to you today.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Boys and Girls

For more ideas for toys that cater to imaginative play, check out this post on outdoor toys and this blog post about toy storage.

Something They Need

When deciding upon a gift that fits this category, I would suggest choosing something specialized that they may not realize they need. For instance, if you choose to purchase your daughter a motorbike for her “want” gift then you may decide to purchase her safety gear as her “need” gift. If you purchase her a set of real caterpillars to watch morph into butterflies, you might consider a microscope as her “need” gift. Try to imagine accessories that fit her hobbies.

Something To Wear

Start here and read more on creating a capsule wardrobe for your children as well as how to curate your child’s shoe collection down to the only 4 pairs necessary for any child. I would suggest culling items your child no longer wears or plays with before Christmas comes that way you will see what is missing and be able to filling the gaps with the gifts you choose to buy. Gift ideas include: a new winter coat, a warm, sweater with an epic phrase that reflects your child’s personality, or a handmade hat.

Something To Read

You can find a list of my toddler’s favorite books here.


What’s on your kiddo’s must-have list for Christmas this year?

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5 thoughts on “Your Child Only Needs 4 Gifts This Christmas: A Guide To Buying Christmas Gifts Without Overdoing It

  1. We love doing this for our son. Not only does it make Christmas shopping easy, but he seems to value his presents so much more. When he receives gifts from other people it’s apparent that it’s overwhelming and he doesn’t know what to play with. sometimes he ends up just playing with the box and bows the gifts came in. For books we find lots of fun interactive books through Usborne that he absolutely loves. It’s almost like getting a second toy! Most times he is more excited about the books than he is the toy because he can carry it with him and read it wherever he goes. Never gets old or broken 🙂 They are also his favorite gift to give to other children. Every year we pick a at least 2 children in need and get them 4 gifts (wants, wear, need, and read) and he gets to pick them all!

    1. I love your suggestion of helping out other children by gifting them a few presents. That is an important part of the Christmas spirit. <3

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