Simplifying Christmas Shopping for Your Kids

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Parents tend to bend over backward to make Christmas magical for their children. Their hearts are, of course, in the right place. Despite their best intentions, however, many overdo it when it comes to purchasing gifts and can regret the sheer quantity (not to mention cost) of their overzealous shopping.

Just like you can have too much ice cream and chocolate cake, your children can have too many Christmas presents. An overwhelming amount of stuff detracts from the beauty of each individual gift and from the spirit of the season.

As you make your list this year, be sure to check it twice and aim for quality over quantity. Here are some ideas to keep your children’s gift list simple without sacrificing any bit of magic.

Choose a Theme

Perhaps you have a trip coming up or your children have developed a particular interest of late. Choosing a theme to focus your gifts on can help narrow your choices and ensure meaningful and useful gifts that everyone can be excited about.

If there’s a theme for each child or a theme that works for the family as a whole, run with it.

Experiences Over Things

Thinking of booking a family adventure? Make that a Christmas present. Interest-specific lessons, theme park tickets, theater tickets, museum passes—gifts like these, especially when they center on the child’s individual interests, are exciting to receive. Not only do they reduce the clutter in your home, but they also offer something to look forward to, enjoy, and remember for a lifetime.

One Big Treat

Rather than a million little toys to open on Christmas morning, go for the one big item. Focusing on the joy of a singular, special gift is so much better than rushing through unwrapping a bunch of expected, easily forgotten items. Pare down the quantity and go for one big wow.

Tools and Consumables

Children today tend to have too many toys, to the point of overwhelm. Rather than adding to the pile, give supplies they can use to make and do things. Art supplies, sewing supplies, bird-watching supplies, woodworking supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments—hone in on the activities that light your children up, and then gift them whatever they need to do their thing.

Quality Classics

For the littlest gift recipients, Christmas can be a time to provide the fundamental toys that are essential to healthy play. Wooden blocks, beautiful dolls, a play kitchen, bouncy balls, toy vehicles, or a dollhouse are all examples of toys that encourage active and imaginative play. Look for toys that aren’t made in China and choose one or two items of the highest possible quality.


Christmas is a great time to add quality books to your child’s library. Stock up on the timeless and classic reads that have been enjoyed for generations.

When in Doubt

You may have heard parents using the maxim: “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.” This simple rule of thumb can be a helpful tool to remind you to not overdo your Christmas shopping, keep your children’s gifts simple, and maintain focus on the true significance of the season.

Barbara Danza


Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart.
Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.

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