one christmas gift

We Made A One Christmas Gift Rule This Year and Here’s Why

Since having kids, Christmas seems to be more overwhelming for me than fun. The amount of Christmas gifts received by all from our large families can be a bit much sometimes. Once my husband and I had our second baby we knew we needed to make some Christmas changes so we weren’t bombarded with gifts. We thought telling people what specific gifts we wanted for the kids would help. It didn’t. We got the gift we asked for along with 10 more gifts. So we learned we needed to make even more changes for the next year. And that’s when we decided to make the one Christmas gift rule.

One Christmas Gift Rule

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we CAN make boundaries, uncomfortable ones, and stick to them. We were forced to quarantine and do our best to protect our families, sometimes even against the will of our well-meaning parents.

Speaking of well-meaning parents (aka grandparents.) I don’t want to sound ungrateful at all, I am SO thankful for loving grandparents who want to give and give to my kids. But I have 3 kids and they have basically 3 sets of grandparents (my parents are divorced, therefore buy gifts separately for my kids.) So multiple gifts from each of them adds up to A LOT of Christmas presents. Then tack on my husband’s 5 aunts who buy for them, then 3 more aunts– my sisters and sister-in-law– and that’s even more gifts. OH and I haven’t even mentioned that Santa also comes to our house, the gifts my kids pick our for each other, and any miscellaneous stuff that comes home from school or neighbors, etc.

OVERWHELM! There is a reason kids play with the boxes of new toys. They are so overstimulated with all the new toys that they don’t know what to play with. Ever hear the phrase, “less is more?” Yes I know you have. And at Christmas time, less is most definitely more.

Christmas 2020

Like I said earlier, setting boundaries can be hard. But we learned that we can do it. So for Christmas 2020 my husband and I set a new rule that everyone was only allowed to buy our kids ONE gift. Did I feel a little bad at first after thinking about my decision? Kind of. But like I said, my kids have a lot of people buying for them.

Was there upset from the gift-givers? A little.

Did everyone listen to our rule? For the most part.

Did my kids still have a wonderful Christmas? You bet they did! AND they appreciated what they got.

The amount of gifts that came to my house after all the Christmas festivities was literally cut in half. I felt so much less anxiety coming home. There was room to put new toys away, my living room didn’t look like a toy store threw up in it, and my kids have actually played with all their new toys.

The thing is, kids don’t expect a lot. They know they are going to get presents for Christmas, but they don’t need or want a lot. After opening one gift on Christmas Eve at their grandparents my kids didn’t even realize there was more to open! My 3 year old actually opened a sled toy from Frozen and exclaimed, “I LOVE IT!” and wasn’t interested in anything else. It was the sweetest thing and I’m glad I quietly caught that moment.

Next Christmas

We will most certainly continue this rule into future Christmases. There are so many other holidays through the year that they get gifts for, they don’t need a new toy store every year. They have birthdays they are spoiled at, they get Easter gifts, Valentine’s gifts, heck, they even get gifts for no reason at all. One gift a piece is totally do-able for Christmas.

Are you overwhelmed with gifts each Christmas too? I encourage you to set rules with the well-meaning people in your life next Christmas! It might not be one gift, but maybe a 2 or 3 gift rule. It might not be easy and they may not understand why you’re making this rule, but that’s ok. You know what’s best for you and your family!

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Share this with a mama friend who feels she got a lot for Christmas! And I will remind you all of this rule as Christmas 2021 draws nearer. 😉


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