I am a long time fan of wrapping presents (I actually wanted to be a professional wrapper growing up) so I thought it would be fun to make these free printable gift tags and I love how they turned out! I have used this brown postal wrapping paper for the last several years. I find it at the Dollar Store and I love that it is never see through like some of the Christmas wrapping I have purchased in the past, and who doesn’t love getting it for a dollar? I use real ribbon with wire as well- this red ribbon has been used over and over again and has held up fantastically for several years. I purchased it at an after Christmas sale at Hobby Lobby and I just gather it up after gifts have been opened to re-use again the next year.
Print your own tags, and write the names in. I used a white colored pencil to write our names in, or you could use a white, gold, or silver gel pen. Attach it to your gift with tape or punch a hole at the top and tie it with some bakers twine or ribbon. You can download your own To and From tags HERE from the site Dropbox.
*It will ask you to create an account, but you DO NOT have to if you don’t want one. Just click “No Thanks” and it will take you directly to the tags to download and print.
I love to give treats away! I am always baking something, and giving some away helps me in two ways – first, I show love to others when I give them a treat and a note, and second, I don’t have all those treats in my house that I will want to eat. Its a win-win! I always buy these clear bags from Walmart – they are just a few dollars on the cake decorating aisle. Add some ribbon or bakers twine and you have a simple yet super cute treat bag to share with those you love.
You can get the free download HERE same rules apply as I noted above.
My family and I have done the 4 gifts for Christmas time for the last 7 or 8 years. Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I feel like celebrating holidays in our families is as unique as each of us, and no one should feel guilt or shame for celebrating the way they see is best for their families. I’m just going to share a few reasons why I chose to follow the 4 gift rule and why it has worked for us. I do like filling their stockings with fun little gifts, or things that they can use up like paint or play dough, puzzle toys are a big hit, even a toothbrush. So I guess they do get more than 4 gifts if you count the stocking. You can download your own copy HERE.
I wanted to teach my kids appreciation: In 2008 my husband and I were both still in school, my daughter was a few years old. The first week of December my husband came home from work within 20 minutes of leaving early that morning. There was a sign on the door that said that the company he worked for had closed their doors. Wow. Talk about a shock. Right before Christmas, no work, how were we going to pay for our apartment, let alone all the bills?
A dear friend heard about what happened and her husband stopped by with some chocolates and a card that contained $100. I read the card in tears, in shock that someone would be so kind and generous. We decided to use a bit of that money so my daughter could have a few presents to open on Christmas. She REALLY wanted a Dora the Explorer backpack that had wheels on it and would ask for it every time we went to the store. She loved that cheap chapstick and nail polish for a few dollars, and she needed some new socks. Well, I bought it all and wrapped it up for Christmas morning. She went for her stocking first and opened those few little things in her stocking. After opening the last gift, in her tiny little voice she said ” What’s next?” I said “What?” not sure if I had heard her correctly. “What’s next? More presents?” My husband and I smiled at each other and gave her the larger gift – the Dora Explorer Backpack. She tore it open and squealed with glee: “Yay! My backpack!” She immediately set the backpack to the side and said “What’s next?”
I hated this reaction so much. She had no idea that her dad had lost his job, no idea of the stress that comes with that, but I had hoped that she would appreciate those small gifts that she supposedly loved so much. I could not shake from my mind that we were not teaching her to appreciate what she had, and that is the last thing I wanted to instill in her. Gratitude and appreciation breed true contentment and of course that is what I wanted my daughter to have. Shortly after that Christmas I read an article about the 4 gift rule and decided to implement it in our home. You know, my kids have been so fine, and they really are grateful for what they get.
I wanted to teach that Santa is no respecter of persons: Every Christmas movie I can think of teaches that Santa goes all over the world giving gifts to all the good little girls and boys. Growing up we were never well off. I remember kinda dreading it when certain kids would come back from Winter break and ask me what I got for Christmas. Not because of what I had received – I was always thrilled, but because I knew their list was much longer than mine, often times super expensive gifts that I knew I was never going to receive. Kinda makes a kid think they were not as favored by Santa as others.”Something you want” is the one gift they get from Santa. If that gift is a super expensive one, I remind my kids that Santa has lots of other kids to give a gift to, so they may need to choose something else. They never miss a beat and have something else on their list that is more reasonable in price. The other gifts they open up are from Mom and Dad. I hope that by doing this it can eliminate the idea that Santa likes one person more than another. When they share what they got for Christmas with friends, they will say Santa brought them one gift, Mom and Dad gave them a few others.
MORE STUFF = MORE MESS: My kids have so much STUFF! I cannot tell you how many trips I take to our local donation centers each year to drop off unused items. We are constantly purging things that my kids have grown out of, things that they never did use, or things they just lost interest in. I wonder how much money I would make if I took the time to do yard sales or sell items online. It’s insane how much they accumulate throughout the year! Once we purged their toys, they have kept the playroom so much more tidy than they ever did before! It has also been proven that kids are much happier and play much better with less stuff, and I have seen that is true with my own kids for sure! They play longer with one toy, whereas before they could not keep their attention on one thing and would pull everything out within a 15 minute period.
I have gotten creative with the different categories and my kids have always been happy- it doesn’t have to be boring gifts like socks and underwear. Often times I will get something they will need that goes with their want. For example, they wanted some roller skates so I got some protective gear to go with it as their need.
Some people may think I am a bit of a grinch because I follow this rule, but it has worked for us. Honestly, I am looking at simplifying Christmas gifts even more. Experiences are what’s most important to me, making memories – my kids rarely remember a gift they received a few years later, but they remember small experiences they have when we go swimming or skating at the roller rink, or to the discovery museums. I am toying with the idea of just having Santa fill their stockings and then us parents gift them a pass to one of the places mentioned above.
How do you give gifts to your kids? I would love to hear!
See the Happy!