When a tweet of a 10-year-old's Christmas list went viral for all the wrong reasons -- she’d like Gucci slides, a Chanel purse and $4,000 please -- it sparked a larger conversation in parenting groups everywhere: how much is too much?
It's easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to buying gifts for the kids. When you're bombarded with requests and advertisements for everything under the sun, parents often find themselves buying too much and spending too much in the process, often to have many of the gifts ignored.
The four-gift rule
One way to manage the gift-giving when it comes to kids -- and save your sanity in the process -- is the four-gift rule: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.
A hack for managing the madness is particularly helpful this year when the shopping season is shorter than normal.
The three-gift rule
Before the four-gift rule gained popularity in recent years, some parents pledged just three gifts for their children. It's a reference to the three gifts brought to baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Of course, these are not practical gifts in this day and age. The focus here is on quality over quantity. Parents who use the three-gift rule generally give three more substantial or expensive gifts as opposed to many smaller gifts.
Gifts that give back
In recent years there's been a trend toward gifts that give back. Now more than ever, companies are adding a social component to their goods. For every Cuddle and Kind doll purchase 10 meals go to people in need; a stylish bag that donates 100 meals; jewelry that helps women and girls escape human trafficking.
Experiences, not things
Finally, parents who want to cut back on material things give the gifts of experiences. So instead of the latest and greatest tech, an overnight trip to a nearby city. Instead of a new sweater, a zoo membership.
Editor's note: This was originally published on Dec. 16, 2019.