Wondering what number of gifts for children is appropriate? Concerned you’ll be spoiling your kids or not giving them enough? There are a lot of factors that should influence the number of presents you buy your child during the holidays. When children are young, getting them 5-7 small gifts may match your budget. However, as children get older and the cost of their desired gifts increases, I recommend a three gift max. Of note, I said three gift MAXIMUM. Limiting factors include; Gifts children will receive from other family members, your holiday budget, how many children you are buying for, and the cost of gifts.
The three gift maximum does not include things like stocking stuffers. I’ll cover stocking stuffer items later, to help fill out their holiday experience. Right now, you’re probably wondering why I chose 3 as the magic number. Let’s examine my Christmas experiences to help explain.
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How Many Is Too Many Gifts?
I’m from a small family; I was raised as an only child — though I do have siblings by extension from subsequent marriages. My girlfriend is quite the opposite. She was raised with 6 other siblings. Her oldest sibling is married with three kids, and her youngest can finally go out for a beer. Needless to say they are spread out in age. Every year her immediate family gets together on Christmas Eve, and exchanges gifts with one another. They begin the exchange starting with the youngest, and end with the oldest. This has grown to include significant others and spouses. This doesn’t even include Santa’s contribution, just exchanges among family members!
As I mentioned before, her older sister has 3 kids. So even if we exclude gifts from significant others, her three children, are getting a minimum of 6 gifts. Scratch that, 7 gifts (can’t forget about Grandma’s gift) before Christmas Day! Now these kids aren’t high school students yet, so getting away with less expensive gifts is easier. However, as the kids get older, I’d imagine that one gift may come from multiple people. We’ve done this on several occasions in the past when someone wants a BIG gift. Multiple family members will throw in to get the person something they really want.
Alright, But Why Is The Number Of Gifts For Children Three?
I’d imagine that my girlfriend’s family is the exception to the rule in terms of size. Please let me know in the comments if that isn’t your experience. Christmas with my family is a little more tame. We do get together for dinner, but rarely do I exchange gifts with cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. So, when it comes to gifts, it’s just me, my mother, and my stepfather.
When I was young and presents were opened Christmas day, I can remember a flurry of gifts. I can’t really remember what many of them were. That’s not to say I wasn’t appreciative of what I got. It’s just that bigger ticket items tend to be the ones that stick out in our memories. Sure, there is something to be said about opening countless boxes on Christmas day. However, that is far less about the contents, and far more about the anticipation of what’s inside. Think of Christmas day as a lottery for kids, except you’re guaranteed to have at least one big ticket winner!
Using myself as an example, if my mother got me a quality gift and my stepfather got me a quality gift then I’m already ahead and have two fantastic gifts. Great, but where does the third gift come from? Let’s not forget about the jolly old fat man in the red suit. That’s right folks, Santa Claus is your third gift. Perhaps this is a joint gift from Mom and Dad, or as you get older, siblings and extended family can throw in on one gift that you would otherwise never have access to. I’m sure Santa could use a little help given his hectic schedule. 😉
How Do I Make Christmas Present Opening Last?
Some of you may think that 3 gifts makes for a rather swift Christmas Day event. I’d agree, but there are things you can do to stretch this out. First off, you have stocking stuffers. I generally think of stocking stuffers as items that can be bought for a nominal cost, but nonetheless are appreciated. For myself, it’s the Toblerone candy bars. I love that stuff! For the gamer in your life, perhaps it’s AA batteries for their wireless controllers. If you’re like me and enjoy Magic The Gathering, you could even get a couple of booster packs and wrap them up. Whatever their age, there’s always useful everyday items that you can give the person on your list.
Another strategy is to control the order that the gifts are opened. This is a little easier when children are older and not rummaging to find the next gift with their name on the tag. However, placing items you want them to open last further back under the tree (or even hiding it out of sight) could be a way to prolong the festivities.
For older children, you could create a Christmas Day scavenger hunt. Perhaps they even get a gift at each stop along the way, which ultimately builds towards those final 1-3 presents. If the gift is something like a game console, the scavenger hunt could look something like this:
- Batteries with clue to next gift
- Controller with a second clue
- Headset the plugs into the controller they just got with another clue
- A Game (maybe even the free one that came with the console) with the final clue
- Empty game console box with a note telling them to check out the living room TV stand where you’ve setup the console already
In my experience, it’s far less about quantity, and far more about the quality of the gifts you receive. While three gifts doesn’t sound like a lot, you can be sure they’ll get a plethora of gifts from other family members. Make the holiday’s fun by incorporating some kind of game or theme to help prolong the experience. Finally, round out the holiday by getting them some gifts that aren’t as ornate or big ticket, but that are useful for their everyday life or hobby. If you’ve found this information helpful, consider subscribing or view other useful gift guide articles.
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