Christmas was always a HUGE deal for me growing up. I was an only child and I was spoiled. I got loads of gifts from my parents and grandparents. Way more than I needed for sure but it did make Christmas such a special time. I'll admit that for most of my children's Christmases I have gone overboard on the gifts. In my defense I tend to get their gifts at really great deals! However the excess usually ends up in a yard sale in a year or two. Hubby grew up with 2 brothers and never got the bounty that I did.
In the past few years I've heard of parents sticking to 3 or 4 gifts for each child (some do even less and I have to say there have been a couple of times when 1 child got an expensive gift and that was pretty much it). I like the idea of 3 gifts like the 3 wise men and so that's what our plan is this year. I've heard of several different categories but ours will be something they want (or play with), something to wear, and something to read. Those seem reasonable and in a smaller house we need to limit the excess (hey grandparents/ aunts/ uncles/ friends I'm talking to you!).
I'm just starting to get ideas and we've already taken time to explain this to our kids. Apple has asked for new perfume (hey friends more stinky tween perfume, sigh). Speedy hasn't asked for anything yet (hello they have everything). I love a good plan and I feel like this will work well for our family. Apple loves to read and Speedy is slowly getting into reading so I think the something to read category will be a popular one.
How does your family do Christmas gifts? Do you make a plan or just buy? I've heard arguments for and against Christmas lists. We do short lists so that I have ideas to give family and friends but we don't make a big deal out of it and my kids know they likely won't get everything on the list. If you want to give your kids something nice to read for Christmas make sure to enter the two giveaways happening now: http://carterchaos-ecarter.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html.