Lizs Book Snuggery

The Four Gift Christmas Challenge – Are Parents Up for This? Maybe.


Christmas is a time for giving, and that’s pretty much a given in today’s culture.

But how much should we give to our children at this time of the year when ads blare continuously from our “buy and throw” culture, that your children’s holiday will not be complete without THIS? Conspicuous consumption and frenzied consumerism run amok at this time of year when people get in the holiday mood, and bounty runs in our very veins.

While we are all well-intentioned, and believe me, I am in no way exempting myself from this pattern of buying, for it’s driven by one very heartfelt emotion. We want to make the people we love happy with the gift that will put a big smile on their face come Christmas morning. And what is wrong with that you may say? Nothing at all. But, it’s the quantity of the gifts that we feel it takes to generate that happy feeling in the ones we love.

Perhaps some of you remember the Cabbage Patch doll craze of the 80’s. It reached critical mass right in time for the holidays. Parents were literally desperate to find one of these dolls that came complete with a birth certificate. The mania reached epic proportions as stores sold out and parents trampled one another to forage through piles of the dolls when a  store announced a delivery of the precious ones.

Parents were waiting in line with a NUMBER to get into the store intent on plowing through the display pile to find the Cabbage Patch doll with the desired HAIR COLOR. And, there were even twins that were much harder to find.

I remember a disc jockey, in referring to the craziness, jokingly said on the radio that a helicopter would be over a certain field in the Tri-state area at an appointed time, dropping Cabbage Patch dolls from the SKY! I kid you not….tons of parents showed up at the appointed time, hoping for a haul from the heavens!

Sad to say, it was not a heavenly scene as no cuddly Cabbage Patch cuties appeared!

Let’s be honest, today, many children receive gifts, not only at Christmas,  Hanukah, and birthdays, but all year long.

Santa no longer brings the only gifts they might receive that year. But, it is a time when many children receive a plentiful number of gifts that boggles the mind.

So, I am making a suggestion for the “Christmas Four Gift Rule.” If you have never heard of it, as I never had, till recently, it is quite simple. Children receive four gifts at Christmas in four categories, and they are the following:


1.    Something they want.

2.    Something they need.

3.    Something to wear.

4.    Something to read.


When you think about it, it makes sense. It covers something they have have been longing for, something that perhaps is necessary for home or school, some piece of clothing that is in style and lasts, and certainly not least, something to keep those brain synapses percolating with pleasure, imagination and enjoyment through the long, cold winter. I would not be the least bit alarmed if some leeway were given with #4 and it magically became multiples of that category.

Why not give it a try this holiday season and start a new tradition? And maybe even use some of the disposable income that you would ordinarily have used to buy your children those extra gifts, and gift a child that would have a hard time ever reaching The Christmas Rule of Four.

Here’s a peek at the Cabbage Patch doll craziness of 1983! Don’t “buy into” this. Try the Rule of Four this year!

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