3-Gift-Guideline at Real Simple

December 23, 2008

Feel like you’re giving your kids too much this year? Too little? You can read about the 3-Gift-Guideline I use in a post I wrote for Real Simple.

photo from Real Simple Photo Galleries

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Annie December 23, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Terrific idea! I love to see sanity in gift giving–moderation makes everyone appreciate what they do get so much more, I think. This sounds very much like a rhyme my mom used to use:

Something to wear
Something to read
Something to play with
Something you need.


2 Lori December 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I think that is a really good rule! but any ideas for adapting it to hannukah? I have to figure out 8 presents. (I have something to wear, something to play with, something to make, something to give to others – a donation….)


3 Starr December 23, 2008 at 2:40 pm

This is some of the best gift-giving advice I think I’ve ever read. Not just for Christmas, but for birthdays and other celebrations. And I’m going to apply it to my husband, not just the kidlings.


4 Meredith December 23, 2008 at 5:26 pm

For the first time this year I am totally go with the something they want, something they need, something to wear, something they need philosophy. Thanks – good to know not everyone goes overboard…


5 Shed December 23, 2008 at 8:12 pm


How about this:
to wear
to play with
to make
to give (love this!)
to read
to eat
a want
a need


6 McSwain December 23, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Love this post! As my neighbor always says, “Three was enough for Jesus!”


7 Whitney Johnson December 24, 2008 at 12:01 am

Nice post.


8 Anonymous December 24, 2008 at 12:16 am

I like the Hannukah suggestions. Also, for one of the days, they could get a small bag/box with the misc. items that come in a stocking. I also love the “something to give” item.


9 paula December 24, 2008 at 10:53 am

we do something similar: a need, want, and a surprise. have a merry christmas!


10 Lori December 24, 2008 at 11:58 am

good hannukah suggestions, thanks. 8 gifts are pretty overwhelming, frankly! as for the to give idea, because my kids are young (3 and 5) we gave chickens and ducks through Heifer International…I felt it was more tanglible for them that way


11 ashlynn December 24, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I really like this theory & I will definitely be doing this from here on out. It seems like it would make finding the perfect gifts even easier when you select categories.

I also kept thinking this year (my Lucy is only 9 months) I am not going to buy her clothes or toys because I know her grandparents will. So she gets a homemade tutu, homemade quiet book & some Dr. Seuss books.

Gabby you are the coolest.


12 Amy December 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm

This is awesome, thanks so much for sharing. I shared your article with my husband and I think we will be doing this from now on.


13 Vanessa December 24, 2008 at 4:36 pm

I love Real Simple, that is what I got my mother in law for her bday last year, a subscription to RS. I think this is a fantastic idea, I forwarded it to the hubby so we can do this next year. I don’t feel good when I have overdone it with gifts for the kids, and I think this year I have. :(


14 Stefan, Sarah and Lukka December 26, 2008 at 10:58 am

That is EXACTLY what we have always done!! Such a good idea–I can’t imagine trying to top previous years with more and more every year!


15 Kara Jane December 26, 2008 at 11:29 am

we have been doing something very similar for years. 1 gift from Santa, one gift to play with from Mommy and Daddy and one educational gift from Mommy and Daddy. It seems to me that we think children need more than they really do, sometimes less is more and they can appreciate the gifts they do receive. I find with my kids, if they get too much then they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to focus their attention. Happy Holidays to all!


16 Anonymous January 4, 2009 at 4:43 am

good idea! my favorite part is the last line from real simple—olives in the stocking! i thought my family was the only one!

my little brother LOVES pickles. years ago, he asked for them for christmas, and got a jar in his stocking.

my little sister, not wanting to be left out, began asking for olives.

it’s become our silly little tradition!


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