The golden rule for a frugal Christmas - want, need, wear, read

Good rules to stick to when considering your Christmas gift purchases.

Good rules to stick to when considering your Christmas gift purchases.

If Christmas feels a little out of control and you'd like to resist spending so much this year, then help is at hand.

By adhering to the golden rule of one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear and one thing to read, you'll be on your way to a more frugal Christmas. You might find more gratitude going around, your bank balance will be healthier and by default you will be less stressed.

Carefully curating a Christmas list is not only satisfying, it means less time at the shops in silly season and offers a lesson to our children, about abundance, consumerism and entitlement. Many of your kids will be at ages where they can understand yet not fully be able to process these concepts and Christmas is an opportunity to teach them, without denying them the joys.

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Many families are trying the following rule, so they can have a better Christmas:

Books are always a winner when it comes to gifts for children at Christmas time.
Igor Yaruta

Books are always a winner when it comes to gifts for children at Christmas time.

1. One thing they want

Growing up in a society where everything is available can send confusing messages to children. Learning to receive less and put more into giving is a valuable lesson in life, but it doesn't mean a complete drought of receiving something they really do want.

Get them to make a list of things they desire and choose one from it without comment or judgement on its merits.

Choosing gifts can be one of the best, and worst, parts of the Christmas season.
123rf.com

Choosing gifts can be one of the best, and worst, parts of the Christmas season.

2. One thing they need

There might be an unavoidable purchase coming up that can double as a Christmas gift. For some people, this gift might be a cricket bat, sport bag, swimming lessons, or stationery for the next school year.

Whether it's something exciting or not-so-exciting, it's not unreasonable to give practical items as Christmas gifts. How else will they have the memories of feeling deflated upon opening a gaily-wrapped gift, only to find it's a pack of socks? We all have those memories, and so will they.

3. One thing to wear

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This might be a new dress, shirt and pants for special occasions (they can wear them for Christmas lunch if you are early morning present openers).

It could be next year's school uniform, shoes and bag or a casual outfit. It can cost a lot to clothe children, so make receiving clothes part of the Christmas (and birthday) experience.

4. One thing to read

We would never suggest limiting to just one book. Break the one-book rule all you like and give five if it's within your means. The fact is that children can never have too many books. Pick a special hardcover edition, a nice boxed set, or several novels. Books are always the perfect gift for a child.

For reluctant readers, tap into their currency - by that we mean, if Batman is her thing, get her a Batman comic. If he loves craft, go for a step-by step craft book. It doesn't have to be a novel or picture book; anything that gets them reading words is worthy.

It really is as simple as that and if you're toning down the gifts for the first time, you might be in for a little grief, however we promise the rewards will be there in other ways.

 - Stuff

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