Christmas Traditions: WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ

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photo credit: Dandee

photo credit: Dandee

REPOSTED as requested by MANY OF YOU!

Year after year, I debate how many gifts to get each child, while at the same time trying to stay equitable in the money spent on each. It never fails that just when I think I am finished, I find one child something great which then requires – in my mind – that I get the others another one too. Then comes the fun of figuring out what is from us and what is from Santa – blah, blah, blah. Let’s just say all of this makes for a not so fun Christmas Eve wrapping session.

This past week I had a super big AHA moment while reading a simplemom post about 10 Clutter Free Gift Ideas for Kids.  She happened to mention the “want, need, wear, read” method. The process is explained by dandee who also made those beautiful gift tags shown in the photo. In order to simplify Christmas for her children who were getting older and “becoming capable to ask for more, and heaven forbid, expect more. She felt the desire to teach them that more is not better. More is just… more.”

Their and OUR tradition is now to have each child receive 4 gifts…

something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read

They also get one gift from Santa and homemade gifts from the kids. That rang a HUGE bell for me, as we recently cleaned out our playroom and actually found Christmas gifts that had never been opened or used.

I am definitely adopting this process.  IT IS THE GREATEST IDEA!! Not sure I can limit Santa to 1 gift, but we will see. Dandee also said she does not even use tags, but has a different color wrapping for each child.  WOW, that is easy, though now I do have to keep track and make sure Santa wraps in different paper.

That is after the yearly argument with hubby on whether Santa wraps or not. I was raised with Santa wrapping gifts, he was raised with Santa not wrapping and a Christmas morning free for all. I enjoy the not knowing and unwrapping and I think if Santa did not wrap, it would take something away – what do you think?

Anyway, what traditions do you have? How many gifts does Santa bring? Do you wrap or no wrap?

We, as Americans, have been living a life of excess. Christmas just fosters that by having us think that whoever has the most under the tree wins. I believe it is quality and not quantity. These ecominic times demand that we do things differently. The want, need, wear, read tradition is one that teaches frugality, buy also teaches that we do not NEED all the excesses that Christmas traditionally brings. Christmas after all is about giving, not receiving. It is about spending time with family, not with STUFF. Simplify your holidays and join me in this new tradition.


  1. we tell our kids that our elf on the shelf uses our paper to wrap what was dropped off by Santa. Then we don’t have to worry about using different paper!

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