Last year I discovered the "Four Gifts For Christmas" idea and my husband and I thought it would be a good tradition to start in our home. The idea is to buy each child four gifts that fall into these categories:
1. Something they want.
2. Something they need.
3. Something to wear.
4. Something to read.
This year we didn't follow the categories exactly and we actually bought each of the children 5 gifts, but there was a HUGE difference. This year there are no plastic toys that break; no toys that will be pushed under the bed and forgotten.
As we thought about each of the categories, we carefully considered each gift and bought gifts that would be fun and meaningful to each child. For the first time, I feel that we have given our children gifts that they will enjoy for months (years, maybe?) to come.
Here's a look at our Christmas this year:
Something they want for both children: Both of our children love to go sledding and our older son asked for a snow tube last year. I know both of the children will be excited to see these under the tree. I bought them on Amazon.com with gift cards that I earned from Swagbucks.com and since I had a free trial of Amazon Mom, they were shipped for free.
Something to wear/something he needs for our older son: Our older son asked for "pajamas with slippers" like his younger brother's pajamas. I was not able to find any footie pajamas in his size in our small town, and walmart.com was completely sold out of his size! I ended up purchasing these spaceship pajamas from target.com for a pretty hefty price with the shipping charge. Since it is something he needs and I know he will be thrilled to have them, I didn't mind (too much) splurging on this gift. They are very soft and look to be well made so I think it was a good purchase.
Something to wear for our younger son: Since our older son got a baseball cap for Christmas last year, our younger son has been wearing his dad's baseball caps so that he can be like his big brother. While I was ordering our older son new pants for school last fall, I noticed a little baseball cap that was just his size and on sale for under $4!
Something to read #2 for older son: National Geographic Kids Everything Weather. Our older son showed an interest in weather this year. I found this book in new condition at a discount store for just a fraction of the retail price.
Something to read #2 for younger son: Richard Scarry's A Day at the Airport. Our children had a chance to go to the airport for the first time this year and our younger son was particularly inspired by the visit. I also found this book at a discount store and paid less than the regular price.
These last gifts were actually as much for my husband and I as they are for the kids! I don't know how many games of Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land one family can play, but I'm pretty sure we're close to winning the record!
Both of the boys love playing games so we bought each of the boys a game to add to our collection. This past summer Ruth wrote a review of her family's favorite games and these were the two that I thought the children would really like. I was able to buy these on Amazon.com with gift cards and free shipping.
Thanks to the Amazon gift cards that I earned this year, we only spent $30 for Christmas gifts for the boys this year. But more important than what we spent is that the boys will receive gifts that are fun and useful.