gifts-152432_640Struggling to make decisions about what to buy friends and family for Christmas this year?

With less than three weeks to go, the pressure may be mounting – and funds running short.

On BBC Breakfast this morning there was a discussion about The Four Gift Rule’ and I found a BBC article online about it, too.

Some of us like rules, others don’t. And whilst some of the parents quoted in the article seem to find this a trifle sanctimonious, others think it takes us back to the spirit of Christmas and gift giving and reminds us of simpler times.

How it works: parents pledge to give their offspring just four presents:

  • something they want
  • something they need
  • something to wear
  • and something to read

Of course this doesn’t put any value limit on the individual gifts, but it does limit the size of the pile – and the time it takes to work through it.

The TV discussion also included ideas to involve children in giving to people who are less fortunate. I particularly liked the idea of creating a ‘reverse advent calendar’ where an item of food is put in each day and then the total given to a local food bank just before Christmas.

And, for the adults – and perhaps older children – a friend recently reminded me of the ‘IOU’ approach which I love. If you’re wracking your brains on what you can buy for someone who already has everything they need, or if you feel you’ve not spent enough time with them recently, why not write them an IOU for something you will do for them or with them instead? Ideas – which don’t have to cost a lot – might include:

  • a day out together, just you and them
  • watching a film they want to see – something you might not have chosen yourself
  • doing the washing up for a month
  • babysitting while they go off to do something they love but haven’t had the time to do for a while
  • and, particularly thinking of people who might be on their own, ill or elderly: helping them with a task they might have been putting off or struggling with – such as clearing/tidying the garden, garage or loft