Try This Genius Trick If Your Kids Are a Little Too Present-Crazy This Holiday

No matter how many times I try to convince my 4-year-old that the magic of Christmas is in our special family traditions cutting down and decorating our tree, watching Christmas movies (Elf is my favorite!), and being with friends and family — he still insists that the most important thing is the presents.

He's young, so I can definitely see his side of things. He won't be 4 forever, though, and I hope he'll eventually appreciate some of my favorite wonders of the holiday season that don't come in a box. In an attempt to keep his Christmas list in check, we've adopted another tradition that has saved us time, money, and our sanity during the holidays.

Instead of piling toys under the tree, we give him (and his toddler-aged brother, who still couldn't care less about presents) just four gifts — something he wants, something he needs, something to wear, and something to read. I have no idea about the origins of this tradition or where I first learned of it, but I was sold as soon as I discovered this creative approach to gift-giving.

If a less toy-crazed holiday sounds right up your alley, here are a few tips for doing this pared-down version of Christmas:

1. Something They Want

This is typically the most fun gift to choose. Our son's Christmas list this year is pretty long, but I've also been very clear that Santa doesn't bring every single thing we ask for. We'll choose one toy we know he really wants and wrap it up from the big man in red.

2. Something They Need

This doesn't have to be socks and underwear (actually, I'm pretty sure that is exactly what we did last year). You can make their "need" exciting, too. Our son, for example, is in desperate need of art supplies, so we might use this one as a way to stock him up on construction paper, crayons, and paints.

3. Something to Wear

Living in Indiana, this is the perfect excuse to load our kids up on cold-weather gear, but you could also get your little one a new costume, cute Christmas jammies, cleats for their new soccer league, or those awesome Paw Patrol rain boots they've been eyeing.

4. Something to Read

I love this one because reading is such a huge part of my life and I think it's so important for kids to spend time reading outside of school. Last year, we got our oldest son The Polar Express, but this year I think we may get him a personalized superhero book (not that he needs any help fueling his superhero obsession).

So, what do you think? Would you give this gift-giving method a try?