How Many Gifts to Buy a Child for Christmas

How Many Gifts to Buy a Child for Christmas

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

With the holidays around the corner, the question of how many Christmas presents per child is okay to buy becomes one of the main parent preoccupations. It’s a fair question. These days, tech gadgets are highly popular, and of course, kids want to have them too. As you know, most of them are pretty expensive. Parents often don’t have the luxury to buy many items for their kids for Christmas. They can either buy one expensive gift or a bunch of smaller, inexpensive ones. However, parents then have to deal with a serious question: is it okay to get only one expensive gift? Is it better to get several inexpensive ones? What would be the preferable rate?

All these questions are not so easy to answer. How many gifts you’ll get mostly depends on budget limitations or a particular “family policy”. All families are different, which means that all of them have different traditions and customs. Still, we can give you some basic guidance on the topic to help you decide on the proper number of presents. After we talked with some parents, asked the internet for help, and did general research, we were able to gather up some information that can help you out. Here are the things we came up with:

The 3/4 Gifts Christmas Rule

Have you heard about the 3 or 4 gifts Christmas rule? It’s a quite popular one. The key is to get no more than 3 or 4 gifts. What would those things be, you might ask? Most parents go for the next policy:

  1. Something children need
  2. Something children want
  3. Something to read
  4. Something to wear

If you opt for a 3-gift rule, you can scratch the something-to-wear one and merge it with the first one on the list, because clothing mostly counts as one of the useful and not fun gifts. At least that’s how it is for children.

Now, what makes this rule thing so practical? Well, gift limitations, of course. This way, you get to avoid excessive expenses yet surprise your little one with both useful and fun gifts.

When answering the question of how many gifts should a kid get for Christmas, consider all the factors. It’s not just about having a pile of gifts for your kid to open. In fact, most children lose general interest after the third gift, and all the other things transform into numbers. It becomes a matter of quantity rather than quality. They become interested in the number of gifts rather than stuff you gave them. Therefore, gift limitations come handy. You get to avoid piling up unnecessary stuff, yet your child ends up to be fully satisfied.

Let’s sum things up. The whole point of the 3/4 gift rule is to avoid unnecessary and excessive gift-giving customs. As we mentioned above, the Christmas tradition differs depending on a particular family. However, if you’re worried about the average number of Christmas presents per child mostly because of comparing your family to others, you should let it go. Kids don’t need 20 or 30 gifts. Giving so many presents can even be counterproductive because they might have the impression that material stuff is the most important thing in life. With a humble number of gifts, you’re teaching them to value their possessions and to appreciate love more than anything else.

Important Considerations

The question of how many gifts to buy a child for Christmas never stands alone. There are also other important side questions that every parent has to answer. We tried to cover some of them in the following section.

Present Size

Let’s face it, kids love to get large gifts to unwrap on Christmas. Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing a large package sitting in the living room on Christmas morning. However, that might be hard to pull off these days mostly because kids want to get expensive tech gadgets.

When searching for gifts for the child who has everything, parents mostly go with tablets, phones, headphones, and similar stuff. All of these things look rather small when wrapped in decorative paper. That shouldn’t worry you too much, though, because you can always follow the 3-gift rule. If you opt for a small present, you can get two large gifts that are budget-friendly. It’s simple as that!

Therefore, our main advice when it comes to presents size is combining gifts. You don’t have to pile up a lot of small gifts to surprise your child. You can get one large gift and several small ones. That way, your child will be super excited over the present regardless of what you gave her or him.

Present Cost

Once again we have to highlight that expensive gifts are not something you should aim for at any cost. When younger, children mostly don’t even know how expensive are some things they got for Christmas. When older, they shouldn’t even care. That’s the thing you should always keep in mind. It’s all about teaching kids that they shouldn’t value the material stuff so much. Teach them that love and family time is all that Christmas is about. If you can give them many gifts, even the expensive ones, go for it, but don’t overstep the line. Don’t be too excessive, because that might influence your children in a negative way. Maybe we can’t escape consumerism, but we can resist its negative presumptions by focusing on social relations.

Pro Tip: As kids grow older, they might prefer monetary gifts instead of material stuff. This is mostly true for teenagers, who would rather have the money to spend a weekend with their classmates than a sweater, new headphones, and other stuff you want to get them. Keep that in mind and talk to your children to figure out what they would prefer. Here’s an article that could help you out if you end up with giving money instead of material gifts: Creative Ways to Give Money for Christmas Present.


When looking for presents to get for Christmas, it’s crucial to pick equal gifts for all family members. This is essential when it comes to kids. Grown-ups won’t mind if they get less expensive stuff than others, but children like to compare their gifts. If you have to buy things for several children, always keep that in mind. If not by the price, pick the gifts according to their size. That’s even more important because kids mostly won’t figure out how much you paid for the stuff. However, if a boy sees that his sister got a bike and he got “only” a tiny tablet, even if more expensive, he might get jealous or sad. Keep that in mind when shopping for kids!

Changing the Tradition

Christmas is all about tradition, but every family has one on its own. You can make your own rules and practices, and that’s what makes this holiday special. Let’s take a look at some revolutionary and regular Christmas practices that might influence your decision about what gifts to give to your children:

Natural Change

The choices you make for child Christmas presents will change over time, naturally. As the years pass by, you’ll buy different stuff according to your child’s age. With that in mind, it’s completely natural that you’ll have gifts smaller in size as your child grows up. It’s also normal that your expenses will become higher as stuff for grown-ups is more expensive. However, you always have an option to adjust to natural change and opt for some DIY stuff when on a limited budget. The point is, things will change over the years and that’s completely normal. Try to follow up on your child’s needs, but also stay well aware of your possibilities and budget.

No Gifts Christmas

How to Tell Someone Not to Buy Christmas Presents? Well, it’s hard, especially with children. They love Christmas and they love gifts, so it might even seem impossible to tell them that this year Santa is not coming to town. However, if you do opt for no-gifts Christmas, we have a few suggestions. For example, you can tell your little ones that Santa is visiting those kids who need gifts more than they do. You can engage in a volunteer action with your children, what is to say help Santa in giving humanitarian aid. This way, your children will learn something very important, spend some quality time with you on Christmas, and also except no-gifts celebration easier. It’s a win-win situation!

Fun Alternatives

If you are tired of gifts and want to do something different this year, it’s time for some Alternative Christmas Ideas for Families. Yes, but What to Do for Christmas Instead of Gifts, you may ask? Most people don’t know that there’s a life on Christmas without gifts. Well, there is, and it can be so fun!

Our top recommendation is to engage in a fun activity with other family members. You can either stay at home and play fun games, watch movies, or prepare dinner, or you can go out. Have you considered making a trip for Christmas? You can go wherever you want, including somewhere where the sun is still shining during the cold snowy Christmas at home. These are only some of the fun suggestions. Consider doing something unusual this Christmas. Instead of spending money on gifts, your family can spend it on memorable things!


In the end, let’s sum up all the things we discussed on this article. This could also help those who are in a hurry and need a quick read-through. Here we go:

  • First thing first, don’t forget that there’s no general rule on how many gifts you should get for Christmas. It depends on your budget limitations, preferences, and family tradition. Maybe you and other family members will make a completely different agreement this year, who knows? Talk to others and see what they think. Include children in all conversations regardless of their age. They always want to participate and feel all grown-up.
  • Secondly, you don’t have to buy many gifts. Some parents have a concern that 2 gifts won’t be enough while others consider buying 10 more things over already bought 20 presents. Naturally, it’s a matter of personal preference but kids don’t really need all that stuff. Teach them to be humble and not to value material stuff that much. You certainly won’t succeed in it if you buy them a pile of gifts to open on Christmas.
  • Try to follow some basic rules when it comes to buying gifts. If you’re shopping for two or more children, aim for gifts similar in size and cost. This way, you’ll avoid them feeling left out or treated unequally.
  • There’s nothing wrong with breaking the tradition and coming up with new practices for Christmas. You and your family can do something completely different this year rather than exchanging gifts. You can do volunteer work, gather up some money to give in charity, or opt for a trip. It’s important that you spend some quality time together and enjoy Christmas, and you don’t have to have a fancy gift-giving event for that.

Now you’re all set to make this Christmas memorable! Take your time, explore all the possibilities, and talk with your kids and other family members. We hope our suggestions on how many gifts to buy a child for Christmas will prove to be useful for you!





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