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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Baby’s First Christmas

Our crazy winter weather this past week has made it seem like we are still on Christmas break. So I figured I may as well share some pictures from Lucy’s first Christmas! Her favorite present was wrapping paper and the balloon her Oma gave her; Everything else was pretty second-rate.

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Christmas Eve Eve Eve

Tonight we did a little Christmas Eve-ing since I work the actual Christmas Eve day; we looked at Christmas lights, opened up one preview gift each and got our new Christmas jammies.  All enjoyed the festivities except for the star of the show, Lou.  I was so excited to start the traditions with her but bedtime called and honestly, it’s not worth keeping a sleepy baby awake, is it?! 

The one gift each that Chase and I opened were from my parents and honestly, I’m feeling a little emotional of how perfect the gift they sent for me was!  (Mom and Dad, if you’re reading, THANKS AGAIN!) Most of you who read the blog know how much of a Fixer Upper fan I am and I really do believe Joanna Gaines has got to be one of the coolest ladies around.  Serious role model.  So… the gift I opened was The Magnolia Story, written by none other than Chip and Joanna Gaines themselves.  I immediately started reading, as we were sitting in the dimly lit living room by the fire with a yummy bev.  What better environment to read a book?  It didn’t take long for me to start giggling at the words on the pages- I’m so excited to get to read more!  I’m thinking a book review may be in order? 

The Magnolia story, Christmas traditions

Book available here

What kind of traditions do you enjoy this time of year?  

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