Creative Christmas Gifts: Want, Need, Wear, Read

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When my children were young, it was easy to purchase a few little gifts and have a perfect Christmas morning.  But then our children began to grow up and they began to bring us wishlists.  Long wishlists.  Lists full of toys and electronics.

Uh.  No.  I am sorry.  Five-year-olds aren’t going to get cell phones or laptops or every single toy at their friend’s house.

I am a planner and I knew we needed a plan.

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We had to figure out how to help our kids keep their Christmas wishlists reasonable and varied.  And we had to help ourselves keep our spending in check. Buying fun items for my kids was fun and it was all too easy to keep adding on additional gifts when a good deal popped up.

I stumbled upon a Christmas Gift poem online and it became our gift-giving motto.

In addition to their Christmas Stocking, our children receive 4 gifts:  Something they want.  Something they need.  Something to wear.  Something to read.

The concept quickly became part of our Christmas tradition.

When making their Christmas wish lists, my children fold a sheet of paper in half twice to create four squares.  The squares are labeled: want, need, wear, read.  Everyone makes their wishlist according to the categories.


 —-> FREE PRINTABLE: Christmas Wishlist for Want, Need, Wear, Read. <—-

This concept has worked very well for our family.  I enjoy focusing on a varied, yet limited number of gifts while my children enjoy creatively coming up with ideas for each category.

And we are very creative with the categories.

We use this poem for creative gift giving in our house. Click to read more about ideas for each category.

Christmas Gifts: Something I Want

This is the BIG gift. The one that they really really would like to have. It has typically been a toy, but as they have grown, electronics have made the list.

– Kinetic Sand – I recommend the 11 lb box with a medium under the bed type plastic bin with a lid to store it and several sand toys.
– Nerf Guns – The Nerf Rival Zues Blaster is on my 7-year old’s list this year.
– Kiwi Crate, Tinker Crate, or Doodle Crate for a gift that keeps giving each month!
– A 3D pen is a hot item this year.
– Razor Ripstiks are popular in this house.
Hover Board
– Kindle Fire or other tablets
– Lego Sets My kids have requested Star Wars Lego Sets and Friends Lego Sets in the past.
– Plasma Cars were all the rage for my kids
– Spooner Boards seem to be a hot item this year
– Razor Scooters are a fun outdoor option
– Toys for Kids who Like to Build
– iPod Touch
Tickets to a Musical or Show
– GoPro Hero+
Remote Controlled Drone

The options are endless because kids typically have plenty of items that they “want” so the challenge is picking the one item within reason.

Christmas Gifts: Something I Need

Kids need a lot of things. You can take this seriously or play with it.

Sports Equipment: soccer ball, new bike, volleyball, gymnastics leotard, balance beam

Clothing: winter coat, tennis shoes, hiking boots, leather jacket

Camping Equipment: sleeping baghammockflashlight

Bedroom Ideas: down comforter, fun flannel sheets, wall decals

Electronics: Headphones, Kindle case, Ipod Case

Other ideas: Nerf bullets, personal care sets (shampoo, lotion, body wash), make-up brushes, Movie Passes, electric razor (girl, boy)

School Supplies

Christmas Gifts: Something to Wear

Anything that can be worn qualifies here.

Athletic Gear
Movie ShirtsHarry Potter, Hunger Games, Star Wars
Shoes or Slippers
A New Purse or Backpack

Christmas Gifts: Something to Read

We interpret this one as anything you can read, even the directions to a new board or card game.

Magazine Subscription
Kindle Fire will work here too
Board Games
Card Games
Favorite Book Series: Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Divergent, GameKnight999
Comic Books – We love Calvin and Hobbes
Book Store Gift Card
make it “Something to Write” (journals and pens)

Using this same poem, there are ways to think VERY outside the box when your child or family has a really big gift in mind.

Take the iPhone for example. If you are considering a phone for your child for Christmas as their only gift then you can make it work. Write on the box, “This is something you want and something you need. This is something you’ll wear (in a purse or pocket) and something you’ll definitely read.

Or the iPhone can be something you WANT.  A case is something you NEED.  Touch screen gloves are something to WEAR.  And an amazon gift card will buy you something to READ on your Kindle app.

How about a family surprise trip? We have friends taking their kids to Harry Potter World as their gift. The trip is something they WANT. The purchase of wands is something they NEED. A souvenir shirt is something to WEAR.  And they can READ a menu at the Three Broomsticks and order a meal out.

There are ways to make the items into a complete set. If you WANT the GoProHero+, then you NEED some extra memory, and you’ll WEAR the GoPro headstrap, and you’ll READ your GoPro instruction book. (hey, that GoPro is pricey. HA!)

Do you have traditions or ideas when it comes to gift-giving in your family?


This post is Day 3 of the 5 Days of Meaningful Christmas Traditions.

We give our children four christmas gifts: want, need, wear, read. Click and discover some ideas for each category.



Also Make Great Gifts:


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3 thoughts on “Creative Christmas Gifts: Want, Need, Wear, Read”

  1. We do this four gifts rule, too, but I was stumped beyond the “want” gift for both of my kids. I hadn’t even thought beyond clothes for something to wear, or beyond food for something they need 🙂 Including all four into one category is brilliant! I’m definitely sharing this post. Thank you!


      Thanks Leah! It is always helpful to “brainstorm out loud” with others through blogging!

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