4 Gift Rule: A Minimalist Present System (& Toddler Girl Gift Guide)

4 gift rule, gifting system, present system, 4 gift technique, minimalist christmas
Trying to stay focused on a minimalism journey is the hardest during the Holidays.  Every thought and conversation seems to be on gift giving, the busy nature of the season, and just stuff in general! I’m not at all against giving experiences, but I doubt our 20 month old toddler would be impressed with a gift card or certificate to go anywhere even if it was a super fun activity for her.  I go back and forth with trying to give less materialism and more experiential gifts, but on the other hand I don’t want to short my daughter the joy of opening gifts, and I want her to in turn learn to love giving gifts as well. So we’ve adopted the 4 Gift Rule- we still get to gift but it’s more thought out and limited then just tons of junkie random items that won’t ever be worn or used.  The Rule is as follows: gift something wanted, something to wear, something needed, and something to read. I have also seen some people replace a category with “something to do”- I really like that idea, just maybe not for toddlers! This is our second year of attempting to follow it and I really enjoy it.  I first heard about the idea from my old boss who has five kids- buying multiple gifts for that many can get a little crazy!  This is the perfect fix for large families, or for anyone trying to simplify the gift giving process.

What I love is I can wrap up things my daughter is actually needing and will use.  Things that benefit her learning, like a new book, are perfect gifts and she can still have the joy of opening presents but we don’t have the mass amounts of clutter afterwards. Giving only 4 gifts also means we are purchasing within our means- no piles of presents (which sometimes (usually) means debt) for us this year!

Obviously, it’s hard to judge what a toddler “wants”- so I am really just getting what I want Lucy to have, which is a little crazy, I know.  And the things she “needs” are definitely not totally necessary but as her parent, I do think she needs one new toy that will engage her learning and imagination (so I’m loving the magna tiles!)  As you will see, I have way more than 4 gifts on my guide- they are all just fun ideas that have been inspiring me.  And I’m not going to lie, Lucy is getting more than just one thing to wear- she has outgrown many items so instead of me just replenishing her newly purged closet, I’m wrapping what I have bought! Hey, it’s more presents for her to open and they are items she’d be getting anyways! And technically she “needs” the bigger clothes, right? See, my minimalism really is struggling during this time of year!  But really, I will end with this thought- remember the “1 in 1 out” rule during gift receiving as well.  For whatever comes in, remove something else.  Even with only 4 presents, clutter can add up!

1. mine to love doll
2. magnetic camper toy
3. ice cream cone set
4. Pom-pom yoke sweater dress
5. Cable-knit sweater tights
6. Floral bell ruffle top
7. Magna Tiles
8. I Spy Little Numbers
9. cleaning set
10. Come With Me City Series book
11. madeline book
12. If you Give a Mouse a Cookie

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