The four gift rule – What is it and how does it work?

The four gift rule – What is it and how does it work?

Mulled wine, mince pies, festive films, sparkling lights and quality time with family – what’s not to love about Christmas? Well, the cost of it for one thing. As much as we all love the festive period, it is incredibly expensive. The typical household spends more than £800 extra in December in comparison to the other 11 months of the year.

A huge chunk of this (more than £500) is on the presents alone. As a country we were estimated to have spent close to £27 billion on Christmas gifts last year.

As much as we hope we are buying a gift that the recipient wants, that’s not always going to be the case. In fact, on average, there’s £42 million worth of unwanted gifts received each year.

What if there was a way to cut down on your spending and ensure that what you do get is perfect? Sounds tricky but it’s not with the four gift rule.

What is the four gift rule and how does it work?

As the name would suggest each person gets four gifts, but not just any gift, each one must fall under a specific category, these are:

●      Something you want

●      Something you need

●      Something to wear

●      Something to read

This has become particularly popular with parents. Instead of sacks so full of gifts that they are spilling over, only to be discarded once the wrapping has been ripped off, their children are getting a few carefully thought out presents that they will love.

Speaking to the BBC when the trend first started to take off a few years ago, mother Sara Crowe said:

“I’ve got three teenage kids and we actually did the four gift rule last year. We explained beforehand and it meant we really thought carefully about each gift. I think children today get too much, so they don’t appreciate what they have…

“Christmas is a time to celebrate and enjoy yourself, whether you’re religious or not. We found the four gift rule helped us all appreciate what we received.”

Some parents did disagree, however – especially those with much younger children who didn’t feel it worked well for little ones. While you might not think it is right for youngsters, it definitely works perfectly for those with older children and means everyone has exactly the same amount to buy and the same amount to open.

But remember too, rules are made to be broken – so tweak it and make it fit your family.

There’s nothing better than buying your loved ones something they can do for their Christmas present – something that can be looked forward to in January, when the festivities are over. Of course, this can just be for the recipient but it might be an experience for parents to do as a couple or for the whole family, so you can all spend quality time together.

This may well fit under something they want but you could also swap out one of the others. Perhaps ‘something to read’ doesn’t tickle anyone’s fancy. If that’s the case – swap it for ‘somewhere to go.’’

So, do you think you could stick to the four gift rule? In a year where we are all watching the pennies more than ever, why not give it a try? You might just find a new gift giving tradition that works perfectly for your family.