The Four Gift Rule

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4_Gift_Rule_More_Time_Moms_ImageYou may have heard something about the Four Gift Rule circulating on the Internet over the past few years. I didn’t know much about it so I did a bit of research to learn more and discovered that it’s a handy concept designed to help you find the perfect gifts for your children while discouraging materialism during the holidays. There are several variations to it, but the basic premise is that you buy your children no more than four gifts for Christmas, and they fall under the following categories:

The Four Gift Rule

1. Something they want
2. Something they need
3. Something to wear
4. Something to read

The rule is obviously much easier to implement with very young children who aren’t accustomed to mounds of presents under the tree, but with some discussion and encouragement, older children will come to see the wisdom of the rule. Saving money for more important things such as education funds and holidays can be much more meaningful than the latest must-have toy they will tire of after a month. Use the rule as an opportunity to encourage gratitude, help kids understand the value of money, and how to live on a budget.


How to Do It
The Four Gift Rule is versatile and may be altered to fit your family’s needs. Many parents have Santa deliver one sizeable gift for each child, with four smaller gifts coming from Mom and Dad, or have the first gift come from Santa and the three additional ones from parents. Gift giving can be pricey, especially as children get older, so if you have multiple older children, don’t feel bad about buying only two gifts instead of four to fit your overall spending within your budget.Four_Gift_Rule_More_Time_Moms FB Newsfeed


Example of the Four Gift Rule for Younger Children:

1. Something they want: a scooter or bike
2. Something they need: a new winter jacket or sleeping bag
3. Something to wear: a new tutu for ballet class or skates for hockey
4. Something to read: something inspirational or memorable.


Can the Four Gift Rule Work for Your Family?

When you really think about it, the Four Gift Rule encompasses almost everything your child could want or need at Christmas and keeps you from going overboard. The great part is that the rule still lets you splurge a little if you wish, but it’s concentrated on just one or two items. Remember that implementing the rule at an early age will also make things easier for mom and dad. Try it this year and enjoy the hunt for gifts and watching as their eyes light up with joy.

Use this fun printable to help your kids create a reasonable list. Print sheet of 4 Gift Rule cards.

By Kristen Wint

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] wants this year – consider giving experiences instead of material gifts, and maybe even implement The Four Gift Rule. My extreme-gift-giving mom is actually trying it this year. Thanks, […]

  2. […] Giving How-Tos Several of my friends are following the increasingly popular, Four Gift Rule (a recent More Time Moms blog post) and are putting a strong focus on giving shared experiences. Some ways to give experiences as […]

  3. […] The Four Gift Rule: Check out this blog post for ideas on keeping expectations and budgets in line with a free printable for the kids to create a reasonable list that includes only 4 things.  We started doing this a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. […]

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