Tips to Prevent Gift-Giving Overload


The gift-giving season is here!

Cue the magical feeling of seeing Christmas lights, Christmas songs being played 24/7, and the excitement in your children’s eyes.

The next thought is probably of Christmas gifts. About what to give those special people in your life.

However, there are so many possibilities it can make your head spin. 

How the Overload Starts

It’s easy to want to give, give, give — especially to your kids. And it’s easy to go overboard just in your own gifting, but then when extended family also get your kids gifts (especially those grandparents), it can all really add up.

And do kids really need all that? Do they appreciate it all? To be honest, the younger your kids are, the more likely it is they would be happy just playing with the box the gift is wrapped in!

As I was talking to my mom about gifts for my kids this year, we decided to keep things simple and do the 4 Gift Christmas Challenge.

What is the 4 Gift Christmas Challenge?

1. Something they want.

This could include a video game, Legos, dolls, anything they want but don’t need. We just had our kids sit down and pick out three different toys they would want from a toy catalog.

Overall, you know your kids and people best, so I’m sure picking out one thing they would want won’t be too hard! 

2. Something they need.

For this, my family is doing fleece tie blankets. Other ideas could be new bedding, a water bottle, sleeping bag, art supplies, or even a flashlight!

3. Something to wear.

Options for this category could include pajamas, an apron for cooking, a sweatshirt, sunglasses, or even a fun pair of socks. For kids who are into sports, a t-shirt of their favorite sports team is another good idea. 

4. Something to read.

Magazine subscriptions are a gift that keeps giving throughout the year! My kids are big fans of Highlights Magazine and Zoobooks. Other ideas (depending on the age of the child) could include picture books, graphic novels, or maybe an e-book!

If you’re shopping for toddlers, check out this Fargo Mom post on the best board books for toddlers.

Customize It

I hope this challenge inspires you. And truthfully, I am not saying you have to follow these guidelines strictly, feel free to make it your own!

I know some families that only do the 3 Gift Challenge. It is all how you want to do it and what works best for you and your family. 

Draw a Name

Another option we do in our family between siblings and spouses to simplify gift giving is drawing one name instead of buying for everyone. This allows you to focus on one person and put some good thought into their gift.

We also do this on my husband’s side for the kids (12 kids total). First, each kid picks a name to get a present for. Next, we sit down and have the kids write a list of about four things they would like for Christmas. And we usually set a price limit.

The kids love it! They enjoy going to the store, picking out the present, and then helping  wrap it. Overall, it gets them more involved in the giving spirit of Christmas. 

Giving Back

And if you are still feeling the need to give, consider giving back to someone in need! We have a great list of resources on how to give back and volunteer right here in our community.

And there are also many places around our area that have giving trees. We always take our kids to one and have them each pick out an ornament. Then we involve them in the process, the shopping and dropping off of the presents.

So, embrace the spirit of giving this Christmas season, but don’t let it stress you out.

And remember — less is more! 

Happy Holidays!
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Danielle grew up in a small, rural North Dakota town before attending university in Fargo. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and has an associate's degree in Sign Language Interpreting. She and her husband, Andrew, have been married for six years and have three beautiful kids together. Danielle decided before she had her second child to be a stay-at-home mom. While life gets insane at times, she's happy to have other stay-at-home mom friends she can share the ups and downs of parenting with. She loves to find a good deal, bake, and spend time with her family.


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