When you have 6 children, who live in 4 different households the thought of Christmas can be extremely overwhelming. Every single year, it gets more and more difficult.
8 years ago, Christmas of 2007 when I had just 1 kid, no problem. He was 1 month old. I could have gotten away with buying as much or as little as I wanted. No one would have been the wiser. Though, because I only had the 1 kid that is when I had the most money available to spend on Christmas gifts.
7 years ago, still just the one kid who enjoyed the gifts a lot more, but still didn’t really understand. By that time we had added a niece into the mix, so another child to buy for. When the kids are this young, they can’t tell you what they want, nor can they complain about what they do receive. Easy Peasy!
6 years ago, 2 children to buy for. Split the Christmas money, they are still only 2 years and under. Again, it isn’t that difficult. You buy what you buy. If you are like me, you start buying now in June or July so that you can afford to buy all the things for your children. Something inside of you tells you that you have to fill underneath the Christmas tree (you don’t).
5 years ago, my first and only Christmas as a single mother. I was responsible for buying the gifts for both of the children. My son now was at the perfect age to be over the top excited about gifts. I bought them both a ton, probably trying to make up for what a crappy year I believed they had. I bought them the same amount of things though, each same number of clothes/toys/etc.
4 years ago was mine and Paul’s first Christmas together. This meant having to figure out how to make 5 kids have a great Christmas. Money was an issue, because 1 week later we were getting married and 2 days after that we were moving. That year we decided to go with one big family present, get each of them a couple other things that they wanted.
3 years ago we had added another kid. 6 children to buy Christmas gifts for. That year I believe they each had 6 presents. There was no real rhyme or reason to the gifts, I just wanted it to be even. We tried to listen to things they were looking for, would enjoy and could use while at our house.
2 years ago, a lot of time and effort went into our HUGE gift for all the kids. We overhauled our living room and made it into a video game room. Complete with a couch, lockers for all 6 kids, a new TV, posters on the wall and lastly the newest/hottest gaming system. We saved, we had A LOT of help from friends and family, we spent!
Last year my Christmas was revolutionized. I don’t remember where I first heard it, how I came across it, but now I can’t imagine doing Christmas without it. It is called the 4 gift philosophy. Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. This is what we did last year for our kids and it was amazing.
As I am putting together my plans to go shopping this weekend, I have my list with all 6 kids written down. Each of them with the words want, need, wear and read under. These 4 gifts are what Santa brings them. When mom and dad decide to, they can add to that pile.
I read something on Facebook this year that made me even happier to decide on this Christmas gift giving philosophy. Make the big presents, the expensive, hard to get gifts from Mom and Dad. Kids have an easier time understanding that parents make different amounts of money, then being able to understand that Santa “likes” some kids more than others. Kids undoubtedly go to school and talk about what they received for Christmas. Just a thought, but I think it is a good one.
One last thought, our kids are amazing. They have had HUGE Christmas gifts or just a few under the tree, never once have they complained. They always say Thank You, they always dive right into whatever was purchased/picked out for them. Honestly, the 4 gifts of want, need, wear, read simply makes it easier for me!