s/o If you do the "Something they want Something they need Something to wear Something to read " ,,,

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Posted 11/18/2010 by writermom1 in NSBR Board

Thrift Whisperer

PeaNut 114,407
November 2003
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Loc: At the intersection of Hooterville and Stars Hollow

Posted: 11/18/2010 7:28:38 AM
This is NOT intended to be a debate of the merits of the simplified gift situation. I am not personally down with judging the beliefs and traditions of others.

So just a question. If you do (by choice):

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read

For your children at Christmas is that really all they receive gift-wise for the holiday season, or is that simply all they get at home from Santa/parent(s)?

Meaning: do they receive other gifts from extended family (grandparents, etc?)

Proudly Canadian

PeaNut 43,061
July 2002
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Posted: 11/18/2010 7:32:07 AM
Get.Out.Of.My.Head. I was going to post the exact same thing.

I'm curious to know as well.


PeaNut 231,917
November 2005
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Loc: Central Florida

Posted: 11/18/2010 7:38:59 AM
The last couple of years I've attempted to do this, but with 3 gifts. The need has just been the wear part.

That has been what is from us, then something from Santa (normally a group gift). They occasionally get something from my brother gift card of some sort, always something from my grandma, things from my parents (who are having troubles scaling back, I keep trying to emphasize quality over quantity).

STBXH's family is hit and miss. Last year i think they managed to get Christmas gifts here on time... Never anything big, and they fill in with yard sale crap. And i say crap because it often is just that, crap. Occasionally they hit a treasure... But not often.

I'm not even sure i can pull off the 3 gifts this year, I'm trying to sort it out, but they haven't expressed any issues with it.

I'm not in the mood for Christmas this year, which isn't helping. I don't expect to have any money until Jan 1 and well, that puts a damper on things you know?


PeaNut 355,768
January 2008
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Loc: KC Metro

Posted: 11/18/2010 7:56:18 AM

Meaning: do they receive other gifts from extended family (grandparents, etc?)

Yes, tons of stuff, which is part of the reason we went to a limited gift giving plan for Christmas.

do justice, love mercy

PeaNut 265,707
June 2006
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Loc: Northern Virginia

Posted: 11/18/2010 8:02:04 AM
This year we are using that as a rough guideline. The "mom and dad" gifts will be something she wants (My Little Pony toys - her favorite right now), something she needs (not sure what this is yet - maybe a little art table and chair for her room, something cheap from Ikea), something to wear (probably a winter coat, hat and gloves), and something to read (probably a pile of books - looking for some at the used bookstore, yes we give used books to her as gifts).

Then Santa will bring her a few things - we haven't worked that out with him yet.

She gets a pile of stuff from the rest of the family, but mostly toys, so we think for now it is OK to give her a more simplified and (to some extent) more functional set of gifts.

Carey Ayn

PeaNut 41,258
June 2002
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Loc: Minnesota

Posted: 11/18/2010 8:11:35 AM
We kind of did that last year and might again, but this is just from "us" and this year the need gift is a big boy bed LOL.

Their birthday is in December and yes, they get tons of stuff from other people.

This is what I am thinking we might do for the future in order to keep things a little reigned in (my boys will be three on the 4th)::

1. Our personal family unit Christmas (before Christmas Eve)--- we do the something you want, need, wear and read. That will be from us, Mom and Dad. This will be simple and quiet.

2. On Christmas Eve (with my parents.family): get gifts from them. My parents are very generous.

3. On Christmas morning: maybe two or three gifts from Santa (but will likely be gifts grandparents bought and maybe one more from us but will be "from Santa."

4. Dh's family Christmas (changes every year): presents from his family

So, yeah, it is still a gift fest (the grandparents have the HUGE under the tree pile thing going on), but for us, we might be able to keep it fairly simple although not as simple as some. Maybe five gifts that we will actually buy.


PeaNut 58,770
December 2002
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Posted: 11/18/2010 8:28:21 AM
Our family tradition is we have a wonderful meal at my parents home Christmas Eve then we go to the kids Christmas programs or evening church services. We stay over night at my parents home and open gifts all together Christmas morning. It's always been: we give each child three wrapped presents under the tree, as well as each one having a huge stocking. The grandparents give each child gifts as well, and we give gifts to my niece and nephew. Brother and SIL give gifts to each of our kids too.

We give gifts to all the adults as well, but you were asking about the kids. Until I read it on this site, I had never heard about the "something they want, something they need" thing. I like it though.


PeaNut 205,553
May 2005
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Posted: 11/18/2010 8:30:34 AM
We don't use that, but in our house Santa brings three gifts, plus fills stockings.

On Christmas Eve each child receives a pair of pajamas and a book from us.

On Christmas morning the kids get their stockings and 3 gifts from Santa.

Their God parents send them each one gift - sometimes, my cousin doesn't always remember.

My mother sends them one small gift each - she is on a limited budget and not very mobil.

Their aunt and uncle give give them one gift each (so two gifts each)

DH's parents give them one small gift each plus pay for their ski lessons on our annual ski trip.

So, all in all on Christmas morning they receive a stocking plus 8 gifts.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 171,221
October 2004
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Posted: 11/18/2010 8:47:31 AM
Pretty much. My parents are not well off and my in laws are dead. Each kid also got a gift from a Godparent.

I know you say you're not judging, but you still seemed to be concerned about piles of stuff.

FWIW, I can assure you that my kids were not deprived. They had the bounty of the entire season practiced from Advent Sunday to Ephiphany unlike their "piles of presents" peers who got one morning and a pile of pretty much crap thereafter (i.e., toys purchased just because they were circled in a catalog and that weren't played with again), along with stressed out parents who were paying credit card bills off til the next Christmas. Sure, I'm generalizing, but you just can't assume that a kid needs to have a pile of presents from all and sundry to have a magical Christmas. My kids simply have piles of memories that don't include Easy Bake Ovens and iPhones.


...that's why they make blue cars and red cars.



PeaNut 42,487
July 2002
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Loc: Utah

Posted: 11/18/2010 8:56:12 AM
Early on in our marriage we decided that Christmas should not be an over the top thing. We never give huge stuff on Christmas and never feel we have to top it the next Christmas. A clothing gift is given from us, they always recieve a fun stocking that does include a book and a gift or two from Santa depending on the price of what they asked for. My kids are older and their wants are more expensive they tend to get just one Santa gift.

It works for us.


I Pea Sporadically

PeaNut 63,919
January 2003
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Posted: 11/18/2010 8:58:08 AM
My kids receive one gift from Santa - a large gift that is unwrapped and they either get the same thing (tv, stereo, iPod, etc.) or it's something for them to share (Wii, Rockband, foosball table, etc.)

They get one gift from my in-laws and one gift from my dad. One gift from my mom and one from my grandma. They get a godchild gift from my sisters (one gift each), and a godchild gift from their uncles (one gift each).

We do the rest. I fully admit to going overboard. Because I love it. And that's how I grew up. My dh grew up with much more modest Christmas mornings, so he tends to go overboard because we can. So different reasons for both of us, but the same outcome.

As the kids get older the pile of gifts gets smaller but the overall budget gets bigger.



PeaNut 438,682
September 2009
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Posted: 11/18/2010 10:30:56 AM
I read about the "something you want, etc" thing here last year & thought it was a great idea. We are trying it out for DD (17 months) and each other. Those gifts are from us. Santa will bring 1 gift and fill a stocking. We are big readers though so DD will most likely get multiple books as her "something to read".

DD will also get presents from 3 grandparents and at least 4 more gifts from aunt/uncle/cousins. It might be more than 4 depending on how we draw names/do gift exchanges each year.

I think DD will feel sufficiently spoiled each Christmas season.

Thrift Whisperer

PeaNut 114,407
November 2003
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Loc: At the intersection of Hooterville and Stars Hollow

Posted: 11/18/2010 10:51:36 AM

I read about the "something you want, etc" thing here last year & thought it was a great idea.

I know! I am very "Where the heck were you Peaple when my kids were small?!"

I look back at what I spent on my son's first Christmas and just shake my head. He was seven months old! We really could have just given him a box to play with. If I recall he liked boxes and bows best anyway!

Thanks for the answers everyone. I like getting an idea of the different traditions and things. You learn!

I never realized some people don't wrap Santa gifts, or that some do scavenger hunts, etc. Lots of fun ideas and different "takes" on the holidays.


PeaNut 123,009
January 2004
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Loc: McKinney, TX

Posted: 11/18/2010 10:56:28 AM
We are going to try this for the first time. My kids get tons of other presents from granparents, aunts and uncles. I am going to focus on the one thing they really want instead of trying to get a ton of little things. I think the something to wear will be the Christmas pj's, we do that every year. I dont think my boys will be very intrested in clothes!


PeaNut 372,311
April 2008
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Posted: 11/18/2010 11:50:02 AM
This is our first year of doing it but they will presents from grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. Also, Santa will bring them their 'big' gift. Also, they are each getting a wicker laundry basket filled with books for the something to read. We are big readers and would buy them the books anyway so they will have piles of books

They are actually looking forward to it and trying to figure out what each part will be.



PeaNut 221,282
August 2005
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Posted: 11/18/2010 11:58:54 AM
I do a variation of that. Ours is Something they want, something they need, something to play with, and something to read.

My xh and I started using that variation for Santa for a few different reasons. Our families had been very different when it came to Christmas growing up. One of our families had dozens and dozens of gifts and one of our families only gave one gift per child. Like, total. ONE gift for Christmas. We wanted a happy medium. We did give presents from us, as well. When we were married, we probably gave an extra $30 in gifts from us, but our son was only a few months old at the first Christmas and then about 15 months old on the second Christmas. We divorced before the 3rd Christmas.

Now, I still do the poem for Santa gifts and the kids, now 5 and 3, will be getting about $100 more in gifts from me. This year it is a lot of Transformers and Legos and Art stuff for the 5 year old and Barbies and accessories, Princess things and Art stuff for the 3 year old. I'm certain I will add more as they get older. They also receive gifts from aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, family friends, etc.

My son did ask why Santa brings all the gifts my niece gets, and none from her mom and dad, and why my other niece only gets one present from santa and the rest are all from her mom. I told him when grown ups become parents they have to set up a plan with Santa and there are lots of different options, and each family picks the choice that is right for them. He also knows parents have to reimburse Santa for the gifts he brings

ETA: I was reading another post and it reminded me, I set a $ limit for Santa for each category. For example, the something to wear is always a package of "cool" underwear, the kind with characters that I don't buy throughout the year. Last year it included 2 packs of undies for each kid because I got them way on sale. The something to read has been either one more expensive book (I cap it at $10.) or several less expensive books. I like that the poem can allow for fluctuations between really tight years and more comfortable years.

PEAceful Pea

PeaNut 14,521
April 2001
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Loc: Washington State

Posted: 11/18/2010 2:20:00 PM
We do this and it's all they get from us (they are past the Santa stage). They get a gift from each other, from the dog (if I see somethng extra I REALLY think they will like) from family, from friends and a stocking.

Mine are also older (10 and almost 15) and their want and need gifts can be pricy. The kids don't know that I try and fit their gifts into the four categories. I don't think they have ever felt like they missed out on Christmas gifts. It just helps me avoid going overboard on the junk/play with once type of gifts.


Will I ever get to Buckethead?!

PeaNut 152,102
June 2004
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Loc: Vancouver Island, BC

Posted: 11/18/2010 2:28:18 PM
We do something to wear, something to read and a toy/game and then Santa brings a larger (more expensive as they get older lol) gift, fills stockings and brings a family game. They receive small gifts/gift cards from grandparents but we both have very small extended families, so they just usually receive cards from a couple of older aunties. I have never placed a limit on what the grandparents gave my children, so it was pretty outrageous when the girls were younger but it has definitely moderated as they grow up.
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