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Holiday Gift giving made easy: No guilt 5 gift rules

Holiday Gift giving made easy: No guilt 5 gift rules

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Do you struggle with Christmas shopping? Maybe you never know the right amount of gifts, money is tight, or you want to teach your kids about the real reason of Christmas. The Christmas 5 gift rule helps create a joyful holiday with the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is a big deal in our household. We decorate our house inside and out. However, in efforts to keep the real meaning behind Christmas. We only buy 5 presents for each kid each year.

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This 5 gift rule keeps the Christ centered focus alive. It teaches our kids the difference between gifts and presents.

It’s so important to get a grip on the real reason behind holiday giving. Christmas should not be full of stress either.

How the 5 gift rule helps

  1. You stay on budget

    Let’s be honest having to buy many gifts can add up and you can over spend way to fast.

    Check out this post on when to start your Christmas shopping.

  2. Everything is equal

    No hurt feelings and everything is balanced.

  3. Quality vs quantity

    We much rather have quality time and teach the value of that.

  4. No Guilt

    By limiting the gifts you find joy instead of guilt. You reduce the expectation from children that Christmas is about tons of gifts.

  5. You teach thankfulness

    Creating holiday traditions that discourage materialism.

No list for Christmas

After marriage my husband and I shared our family holiday traditions with each other. We combined what we loved from each of them. We then created our own family traditions based on how we wanted to raise our kids.

It’s our belief that Christmas lists take away the meaning and joy of gift giving and receiving. Christmas is about generosity and creating a list turns this into greed.

Instead we celebrate the season throughout the entire month. Creating the focus of the season instead of listing all of our wants.

Gift Number #1 Christmas Eve gift (P.J.’s)

Being Puerto Rican it’s traditional that Christmas presents are actually opened on Christmas eve late at night.

Growing up with divorced parents and in a blended family and being one of 6 children, I am sure my parents had to budget for Christmas each year as well.

Never the less opening gifts on Christmas eve was the best.

Every year growing up we received a new set of pajamas. From fuzzy socks to funny hooded p.j.’s this for me was always a favorite.

We continued this tradition with our Children and our kids get a new set of pajamas every Christmas Eve.

This gift sometimes can be a basic pajama set or I will go all out and get the matching slippers and robe. It just depends on the child and what they are needing.

The kids really love the fact they get to open a gift on Christmas Eve.

Gift Number # 2 Practical gift (Clothing)

Through out the year my kids will express things they like. Certain cartoon characters, brands of clothing etc. Depending on the age.

When it comes to gift number two this gift will be something they need. But, it will take into consideration something they have expressed to me about what they are into.

For example my 20 month old might get a Minnie outfit since that is the main character she likes. My teen might get something Nike related because she loves the brand. My son will get something from Ryan’s world because he loves watching the show.

The gift though will be clothing in some form.

Think about the conversations you have had with your kids throughout the year. Think about what is something they talk about all the time. This will give you an idea of what to get.

Gift Number #3 Something Fun (Toy/special item)

Gift number 3 is the gift of pure joy. Giving them a gift they would truly enjoy and have possibly expressed interest in.

Usually this is going to be a gift my kids will be active with.

Think sports equipment, possible toy, board game, and/or educational toy.

Gift Number # 4 Something to read

Reading for us holds a special place with our kids. It started when they were really young. We use(d) the program 1000 books before kindergarten. We read on average 2-3 books at night before bed.

Each child will gets a book to add to their library.

It could be a series they are into or a certain author.

Gift number # 5 (Something you want to give)

The last gift is the gift from the heart from mom and dad. It could be something your kids they don’t even know they want.

But we put great thought into the gift based on each child.

Some years we use this 5th gift as a family experience gift. For example we bought the kids tickets to Disney on Ice one year.

Special events and outings make the perfect gift for gift number 5. There is nothing better than hearing the stories from our kids of the cool places we have taken them. This is the real gift!! Present in the moments.

Gifts vs presents

The difference for us when it comes to gifts vs presents is this.

When you buy someone a special present you are truly giving the gift of joy. When you spend Christmas doing fun things as a family you give the gift of time. When you help someone you are giving them the gift of support.

Intangible gifts are often invaluable to their receivers.

In using the 5 gift rule you we are setting a foundation. Our children hopefully will understand the gift the love is so much more important.

If you are looking for a neat way to teach your kids about the gift of giving. My mommy friend Kendra Esbrook created an awesome book.

It’s a perfect way to introduce the holiday tradition of giving back. Thinking of others first.

The name of the book A bag for Santa.

The idea is kids fill the bag with old toys and leave it by the tree on Christmas Eve. Santa will take the toys back to the workshop and fix them up for other kids next year!!

As parents we love that it encourages children to think of others while clearing toys out of the house right before the holidays.

Each book comes with its own Santa bag to fill. If you have more than one child you can buy a bag for each of them. That way each one can participate.



Why my husband and I don’t exchange gifts on holiday’s

Christmas Shopping In July: Secret 5-Step Guide (ANYONE Can Follow)

Gift opening

Yup there is a method to this as well. Let me back up though. Growing up my family distributed everyone’s gifts. Then we would all open our gifts at the same time Everyone excited to open their gifts but it was a free for all.

My husband’s family tradition was everyone sat in a circle and gifts were given to one person at a time. In a round table fashion. Everyone took turns giving their gifts to each other and the receiver opening for all to see.

Everyone does things their own way. We decided to keep with my husband’s family tradition.

Even though this was a new concept for me. It works really well.

The gift opening time last so much longer. And if you are considering this idea. Let me just say.

Have you ever picked out the perfect gift for someone and waited so long to give it to them. You give it to them and their expression, words, and tears totally warm your heart.

That is the joy of watching each person open their gifts. You can see their expression, hear the thankfulness in their voice, enjoy the excitement and watch them react.

When everyone is opening gifts at the same time you miss special moments like that. Plus the gift opening process is over in 20 mins and Christmas seems to have ended as quickly as it came.


We love stockings and each of our children gets one. We fill them with small gifts. Some are fun items and some are practical.

Stocking stuffers are just made to be equal in the sense that each child gets the same amount of gifts in them.

You can find awesome stocking stuffers on

Gifts from family members

We don’t set any limitations on the number of gifts that our children get from family members like their grandparents, aunts and uncles etc.

But what we do as a family is share a text thread each year. Typically the thread will consist of the sizes of clothing each child is wearing. A couple of ideas that can help family members in their gift ideas.

Again we don’t do Christmas list so my children are never asked “What’s on your Christmas list this year?”

Receiving gifts from family members is like a Christmas bonus.

More meaningful Christmas’s

Our kids look forward to Christmas each year.

They still race to the tree early Christmas morning. They still look forward to opening all their gifts.

However, the focus is not how many gifts did you get this year.

We have created a connection of Christmas with the intangible kind of gift. The kids look forward to the entire month and how we celebrate it.

They look forward to the fun times we have and things we do.

Some things to remember if you want to adopt the 5 gift rule.

  • Very small children don’t remember how many gifts they got each year. So adopting this at a young age is an easy transition
  • Older children tend to want more expensive gifts. As they grow having this 5 gift rule will help cover the bases and allow for one larger ticket item
  • Your children are bound to get gifts all sorts of places during the holiday’s. Gifts from family members and friends. Keeping it simple reduces them from becoming over whelmed.
  • You are teaching your children to be more responsible with their finances. Instead of following the idea that more means better.
  • Talk about what Christmas is really about. Read about the birth of Jesus and the gift savior gave

Sometimes the world we live in creates this anxiety that we must give the latest and greatest to our kids. Don’t let that pressure you. Don’t live Christmas will guilt.

Be connected as a family, spend time together, share laughter, do things during the holidays with no agendas.

What are your favorite family holiday traditions? Do you have a different gift giving process? The spirit of Christmas is one that can not be replaced. I love hearing what other people do. Tell me in the comments below.