As parents, grandparents, Aunties and Uncles, we’ve all been there: Christmas is fast approaching, and the age-old question resurfaces – “How many presents should I get my child for Christmas?”. Well, fret not, because at Hippychick we have been in the business of toys for babies and toddlers for over twenty years and are here to help you navigate the treacherous waters of Christmas gift-giving without feeling like you’re funding the North Pole’s entire toy factory. Here, Hippychick’s founder, Julia Minchin gives her top tips for new parents trying to cut through the festive noise so, grab your cocoa (or mulled wine!), put on your Santa hat, and let’s unwrap this merry mystery together!
“Reining” in the gifts
Most parents get caught up in the excitement of Christmas even as adults, especially when it comes your own children. The desire to create magical, memorable moments can sometimes lead to the tendency for over zealous gift giving after all, who doesn’t want to see their children’s faces light up on Christmas morning?
The whole Christmas hype machine doesn’t help either – the constant ads and promotions make it hard to resist and that’s before we’ve even popped onto Instagram and seen other’s perfectly curated Christmas gifts and experiences. But, as much as we might want to splurge, it’s important to find that sweet spot between making Christmas special and not blowing the budget.
How many Christmas gifts should I buy?
There is no magic number but the general consensus seems to be between three gifts potentially up to around five. There will be many factors that contribute to this decisions; how many children you have, presents other family members may buy, how old your children are and, of course, budget.
I had three children and it was always my mantra to buy no more than four gifts per child. One splurge, and three smaller presents. I’ve stuck to this throughout their little lives and it’s always worked well.
It is very easy to get very excited on baby’s first Christmas but, often, more less expensive gifts work well for younger children and babies and fewer, well thought out gifts for those slightly older children. Many parents like to choose one main gift and then a selection of smaller, less expensive ones.
Can you give your child too many presents?
I remember one Christmas, when I went to spend Christmas with some friends. Her children had at least three times the amount of gifts than mine piled up under the tree which is always difficult for a young child to understand. All I remember is watching in astonishment as her children tore open their gifts, tossing them aside, without even pausing to see what was inside each. Then, when they’d finished opening theirs, they proceeded to start on ripping open my children’s presents!
My father always used to say we had to unwrap a present and look at it properly – and appreciate it – before rushing on to the next one. He would have turned in his grave had he been witness to this unfortunate episode!
How to pick the right gift
Gifts that keep on giving will not only be an investment but will also tick the sustainability box, too.
Look out for gifts, such as our Classic World range which are beautifully crafted and made to an unrivalled quality. They last not only from child to child but for generations and can become a much cherished family toy.
Above all, and I know it’s easier said than done, but fewer quality presents that can be used, cherished and remembered for years to come are so much more rewarding than those that are poorly made, with little play value that will probably hit landfill before the year is out.
Should I hold out for a bargain?
If you’re anything like us and many families, you’ll be leaving your gift buying much later than usual to make the most of any sales that might pop up before Christmas.
And this is a strategy worth holding out for. Many retailers may find that this season, when customers are tightening their belts, they are still overstocked before the big day, forcing them to start their sales early, rather than sit on the stock into the new year.
The downside is that you may not have quite as much choice as you go head to head with the rest of the world who are also holding out for last minute bargains, too.
What about buying second hand gifts?
Pre schoolers will never know the difference between new and used. So if you’ve got your eye on a particular toy for Christmas, you’d be sensible to shop around the internet to see if you can pick it up second hand. Hippychick has a much loved Preloved Page on our website, where you can take advantage of some real deals on used, seconds and unboxed items – some for as much as 50% off the list price. But you need to make your decisions quickly as these bargains won’t hang around for long. Check it out at: https://www.hippychick.com/shop/pcategory/preloved/
How can I teach my children to be appreciative?
All children are hard-wired to be compassionate and to care about others. Even an 18 month old will attempt to soothe a crying baby.
It’s never too early to encourage your children to appreciate gifts. Although most pre-schoolers may not be in a position to understand the concept of gratitude and may shrug off a gift, or even throw it across the room, much to your disappointment, remember that you will be their most influential role model. So, If they give you a present – perhaps a drawing, or a clay model they’ve made that’s supposed to be an owl but looks more like something that came out of the dog’s bottom, always be extravagant with your appreciation.
My parents were also sticklers for thank you letters which I’ve passed onto my children. As soon as we could write we had lines drawn in pencil on a thank you note and we had to write at least three a day from Boxing Day.
How can I teach my children to share?
Teaching young children who may feel possessive about their own belongings to share is a difficult task. But parents can help to introduce children to the concept of sharing through role play.
When you open your gifts on Christmas day, offer them to your child so they can touch and feel them. You can then ask your child to let you do the same with theirs.
Purchase gifts that require another person to get involved will help to oil the wheels. Games and Puzzles are always a great option and will allow you to practise, encourage and, most importantly, praise the ritual of turn taking.
But above all be patient. Sharing is a difficult concept to grasp at any age, even, as I’m sure we’ve all witnessed at some point, for some adults!