My mother always wrapped presents and put them under the tree just a few days before Christmas.
As a parent of six children I’m sure she learned quickly that the longer the gifts were out and visible, the more worked up we would get. There would be more fights between siblings and more tears about if we were getting that hoped for gift. When one of us couldn’t take the tension of not knowing what was under the gift wrap a small tear might appear on a box.
Christmas was a season of joy and drama.
If you’re tired of the fights, tears and repeat conversations about what Santa will bring this year, try some of these ideas.
5 Ways to Quell Gift Frenzy In Kids
- Keep the gift conversation to a minimum. Focus household talk about things to do and enjoy instead of the upcoming gift giving. Remind your children about the highlights and chores of their regular schedule: the swimming lessons, the homework and the bedroom that needs to be cleaned.
- Set a space/item limit for wish lists. The Want, Need, Wear, Read gift philosophy is quite popular. This gives kids, and parents, a good start to shaping and limiting the amount and type of gifts children receive. There is a free printable here that would be great for this wish list.
- Make wish list writing a one time activity. No adding or editing once the list is finished. Post those lists to Santa the same day they are written.
- No gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve. I love this suggestion from Small Notebook to use the base of a tree as a library in the lead up to Christmas Day. For older kids put out board games and DVDs you already own. The sight of wrapped gifts is intoxicating for children young and old.
- Be charitable. Even my three year old understands the concept of giving and sharing. He may not understand the why of it all but if I gave him an unwrapped new toy to put in a donation bin, he’d understand that we were giving that toy away. There’s also a good chance he would cry about it of course. Have your children clear out toys and books from their own collection to donate to charity. Get a list from your local food bank of needed nonperishable food and take your children on a shopping trip for someone else.
We’re still in a sweet spot with our son just being three but I’m already doing a few of these things. No Christmas Wish List, books under the tree until Christmas Eve and we’re donating locally.
How do you keep the gift frenzy at bay at your house?