Hi Design Mom. I am hoping you can help me. I am stuck for Christmas ideas for my 6 year old boy. Every year I buy too much, and only one or two things get played with. I would like to get him a few good presents, but I have no clue. I have been looking around for ideas, but nothing stand out. He is creative, he just started kindergarten and is eager to learn, and he loves cars! Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. — Tricia Hamilton

Excellent question, Tricia. Anyone who celebrates Christmas is bound to fantasize about the ideal Christmas morning — fire in the fireplace, snow softly falling outside, and the perfect toys under the tree. But it’s easy for Christmas to get out of hand, with a pile of gifts that Junior just isn’t that interested in.

In an attempt to reign in my shopping, early in our marriage I adopted my sister-in-law’s policy. At our house, Santa brings each child something to wear, something to read, and something to play with. And that’s it. There are other gifts from siblings and grandparents, but Santa just brings three. This has been a really helpful guide for me. I’m able to stay within budget and concentrate on finding something my child would really love.

I realize you’re looking for specific gift ideas, not guidelines or policies, so I’d say, for any boy who loves cars, a matchbox car playmat is ideal. The one pictured here was handmade and shows the child’s actual neighborhood. Neat!

What about you, Clever Readers? Do you have any gift ideas for Tricia? How do you keep Christmas gifts from getting out of hand?