Have you ever heard this phrase about giving holiday gifts to your children? I first heard it two years ago, and it’s been a total game changer for me.
I used to be a pretty frantic holiday shopper - researching every deal, every sale, stretching my budget as much as possible so that my three kids could have more presents under the tree on Christmas morning (and more elaborate gifts for Hanukkah too - we are a mixed family and we celebrate both!).
But a few years back, I realized this more, more, more mentality was wearing me down. I really didn’t like the message it sent to my children either. Too many of those presents they “had” to have from their wish lists ended up being quickly discarded, played with once or twice and never again. This mentality led to too little joy and closets filled with junk.
The phrase changed all that. Now I buy them many fewer holiday presents, and I put a whole lot more thought into what those four items will be. The results have been spectacular - we end up with less clutter in our homes, and the gifts that they do receive are higher quality and get a ton of use.
Here’s a little glimpse into how my holiday shopping is shaping up this year!
WANT: This is usually the easiest category on the list - I pick one toy they’re dying to have. For my son it’s going to be a videogame this year, and for my middle daughter it’s an elaborate kitchen set for her dolls. The baby is still little enough not to “want” anything so I’ll find her an interesting (physically small!) toy and call it a day.
NEED: Last year this category felt challenging, but this year it’s a no-brainer for all three kids. My son has been asking for cool new sports-themed bedding, and he really could use it. Done and done. My daughter has been asking for a desk in her bedroom so she can “work on art by myself”. This is a bit of a big ticket item, but I’ve been saving for it, and we’re going to make it happen. And the baby needs storage for all of her million books! I will be buying her this book box from Tidy Books, which is beautiful, functional, and will withstand rough handling by my 15-month-old. (Plus, Tidy Books was founded by a mom, and during the holidays I always try to support female-founded businesses and mompreneurs whenever I can.)
WEAR: I sometimes think all three of my kids grow about an inch a week. As a result, they all need new jackets; last year’s are laughably short. The best part about this category is that I should be able to knock it out via ten minutes of online shopping.
READ: This is, without question, my absolute favorite category. My two older children are both old enough to read for pleasure now, and introducing them to my childhood favorites like Ballet Shoes and Harry Potter has been one of my favorite parts of parenting, hands down. And the baby will sit in my lap for long periods of time while we explore board books and lift-the-flap books together. We have a LOT of books in our home, but I am always happy to add a few more to my children’s bookcases. Picking the books that will go under our tree this year is something I happily anticipate.
The “read” category is another reason I’m so excited to give the baby her Tidy Books storage box. We are a family that values reading tremendously, and the book box is designed to encourage love of books. It’s designed to show the front of the books rather than their spines, and it’s just the right size for a toddler to use by herself. Plus it meets my test of high-quality; it will be in my home for years, used on a daily basis, and won’t end up stuffed into the junk closet.
I am counting the days until my kids receive the items they want, need, will wear, and will read. I am looking forward to a holiday filled with joy rather than stress, and I wish the same to you and yours. If you need a high quality gift for your children, I encourage you to check out Tidy Books’ beautiful line of book storage solutions!
Erin Matzkin is Tidy Books' US resident writer. She writes regularly for Babble and Scary Mommy about kids, work and wine! She is also co-founder of Sitternote.co an app for parents and babysitters.