Our New Simplified Gift Giving: Want, Need, Wear, Read

by Mackenzie on December 6, 2012

want need wear read

A few months back my husband and I went through the Financial Peace University program and have started to make changes in our lives to help us reach that “Peace”. One of the things we are starting to do is reduce our spending at Christmas time. Gone are the days of having so many gifts for the girls that after the 4th one they ignore the rest. We have decided that as a family we are going to take on the simple gift idea of only getting something we WANT, NEED, WEAR or READ. With little kids it can be a bit tricky since Santa also brings gifts so we have adapted the philosophy to our family’s needs for the ages of the children.

The Basics

The WANT Gift
This gift covers if the recipient wants one particular item that does not fit the other category. For example, a Kindle Fire for my husband. Does he need it? No…but it would be his want gift and still fit into our “rule”.

The NEED Gift
This gift covers anything the recipient would actually need in the moment, such as my girls need boots since they have outgrown their old ones. Since they need boots for the winter, this is an almost immediate need. For myself, I need new socks and my husband needs a new stir-fry pan (ours is chipping).

The WEAR Gift
This gift is basically for anything you can wear but in our family tradition, we always get new pajamas that we open on Christmas Eve. This is something we always did as a kid with my mom (although when we got older it was “pick a gift to open”). It’s something I look forward to each year…and someday I WILL get matching pajamas for the whole family even though my friends say I crazy!

The READ Gift
I love this gift. My family loves to read so much. My girls have inherited both my husband and my love for reading and we frequently go to the library to get more books. This year I got each of them 4 book (I know…breaks the 1 per category rule) to put in their stocking. Since I don’t like to give them chocolate or candy in their stocking I love that I can fill it with books and they will sit there for hours reading them.

As I searched the Internet for more information on this gift giving philosophy I came across Simple Kids that explain how we can adapt the categories to meet our family’s needs. Here are Kara’s extensions of the rule.

The Extended Version

  • The WATCH Gift
  • The DRESS UP Gift
  • The LISTEN TO
  • The EAT Gift
  • The CREATE Gift

The two that my family would use would be the WATCH and the CREATE gifts.

Since we cut the cord and no longer have cable, the WATCH gift becomes important in providing movies and shows to the girls. This year we got them each a Tinker Bell movie which will be in their stocking as well as the books.

The CREATE gift would be a great one for anyone who gets asked “Can we do a project?” as much as my girls as me. Seriously ALEX Toys are my favorite words because they offer the kits to help my girls make things…without me having to figure it out on my own.

Side Note…It’s funny….as a kid and all the way up to before I had my oldest child, I was very crafty and artistic. Then once I had children my brain went to mush and now I can never think of things to have the girls create.

So this year we are simplifying…and loving it. Each child will receive one gift from Santa along with the stockings and 4 gifts from us (one they will share since it’s a dollhouse). And because there are no set rules other than what you set for your family, you can adapt to what ever your needs are and still have a great Christmas. And by carefully selecting the gifts to meet each person’s category, there is more thought in the giving and more enjoyment by the recipient and they won’t even notice that the room is not full of presents.





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This post was written by

Mackenzie is the mother of three beautiful little girls and the wife to a wonderful man who is a Navy Reservist and lives in New Hampshire. She enjoys bargain hunting, photography, and working outside! Above all, she enjoys family life and soaking up every moment. She shares her tips on parenting, saving money, green-living and more on her blog The Centsible Family.

{ 1 comment }

Tammy S January 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm

I love this! To many people get wrapped up in the have to have more and more trap. We try to limit what we buy each other. It is so true about kids not needing everything they think they need. One year I bought my daughter a shirt she had to have. Five months later it was still hanging in her closet with the tags. so I returned it and got my money back. she never even knew it was missing. Less is more.

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