How to prevent kids being overwhelmed with all the gifts.

(73 Posts)
pontpint Fri 03-Dec-21 21:44:22

Our almost 4 year old was really overwhelmed with all the gifts last year. Loves receive presents but just couldnt handle more than two or three things. Ended up saving lots of them until their birthday. I definitely didnt go overboard last time either. Anyone has any tips on how to ensure we dont get the same thing this year?

OP’s posts: |
SparklingLime Fri 03-Dec-21 21:45:58

Buy less?

Rainbowqueeen Fri 03-Dec-21 21:47:29

Give them less
If you exchange gifts with friends for each other’s DCs then chat to them and agree to stop doing that
Ask family to limit it to one gift each.
Then take the focus off gifts. Focus on the other parts of Christmas, like being together, the food, the music,the lights.

TheGirlWhoLived Fri 03-Dec-21 21:50:27

Space them out throughout the day. Say 2-4 in the morning (one big playable that they’ll want to get out straight away, one eg clothes/books, one slightly less exciting toy or game etc) then space the others out every couple of hours or so, or when the play value of the current toy has finished.

A lot of the time 4 year olds will want to immediately get out, play with and use the present so being overwhelmed comes more from not having the time to process it.

If you are seeing family over the Christmas period then maybe wait until you see them to open the gift (we open my side of the family on Boxing Day when we’re all together)

Finally if I know there are two ‘big’ items that I know will get lost amongst each other then I save one for Boxing Day. It’s not a surprise though, the kids call it ‘the beast of boxing day’ now.

InTheLabyrinth Fri 03-Dec-21 21:50:33

Buy less. Ask others to limit things to one presentveach. Let them be opened as they choose - over several days.

Cuwins Fri 03-Dec-21 21:50:48

Spread the gifts out? Nothing says they all have to be opened on Xmas day- open a few in the morning, a few in the afternoon then a few everyday until they are gone? Parents I know who have a child with autism do that as their child simply can't cope all at once

careerchangeperhaps Fri 03-Dec-21 21:55:38

Your OP suggests that there were lots of presents ("saved lots of them for later") yet you said you didn't go overboard.
At 4, no more than two or three gifts from you plus a small stocking is plenty. Ask friends and relatives to limit their gifts to one each. For minor friends, stop exchanging gifts (we agreed to not bother for Christmas and just get nice gifts for each others' kids' birthdays instead).
Don't feel obliged to open everything on the big day.


pontpint Fri 03-Dec-21 21:57:01

Honestly reading everyone else's lists - I already dont buy all that much. But my kid would get overwhelmed with more than two gifts per day, dont other four year olds? I did spread them out last time but even that took a week (if you include family and friends' gifts as well).

OP’s posts: |
InTheLabyrinth Fri 03-Dec-21 21:59:23

Then let it take a week. Thats fine. Gives them chance to play with them as they are opened.
There are 12 days of Christmas after all!

Lockdowninfinity Fri 03-Dec-21 22:01:39

We never bought our kids gifts. We always used Christmas to share experiences. That special west end play. That special trip. We would put anything they got from family under the tree. If a lot we would open one on each of the 12 days of Christmas.

m00rfarm Fri 03-Dec-21 22:02:51

Mine, at four years old, would happily have had 50 presents in one day, put them into some sort of order and start using/playing with them. They are all different.

ShortColdandGrey Fri 03-Dec-21 22:02:53

We spread the gifts out throughout the day. Last year my DD still had a couple to open on boxing day.

pontpint Fri 03-Dec-21 22:04:11

How many gifts do other 3-4 year olds get?

OP’s posts: |
WinoAnon Fri 03-Dec-21 22:07:23

What do you mean by overwhelmed? I always think it seems disgusting materialistic but the kids look forward to the big tear up on Christmas morning so I don't change. I do get fed up though - they don't appreciate their gifts at the time because they move onto the next one so quickly. They appreciate them eventually but for me it takes some of the joy away....maybe I'm overwhelmed grin

VestaTilley Fri 03-Dec-21 22:14:27

Spread it out - stocking, then a break, maybe breakfast, big present, time for playing, church (if you go), little present at the table, dinner, playing - then hold back enough from whatever everyone else buys her to give one each day for the Twelve Days of Christmas. We did that last year and it worked well.

We appreciate how fortunate we are that DS has a lot of toys to open.

InTheLabyrinth Fri 03-Dec-21 22:18:22

My kids have only ever got a stocking, plus maybe half a dozen presents. But then DHs family dont do Christmas, so they get cash at another point in the year, and I have a very small family.

pontpint Fri 03-Dec-21 22:18:29

So my kid gets this look when it all got too much and it was like that, eyes glazed over and flustered, couldn't decide what to play with next. It wasn't the family as we see them every week, it was the cycle of receiving a gift, getting really excited over it, playing with it for a bit, over and over again. I think it just got too much.

OP’s posts: |
InTheLabyrinth Fri 03-Dec-21 22:19:40

Should say, even with a small by most lists presents pile, toddler DS still used to take a couple of days to open them.

FissionMailed Fri 03-Dec-21 22:19:58

First of all, ignore people's lists and face book posts of piles. it's all bollocks.

No kid needs 40 50 60 boxes of shite for Christmas just because their parent wants likes on Facebook.

Better 5 loved gifts they really want than tat.

pontpint Fri 03-Dec-21 22:24:09

Part of the reason is maybe that we see all our family on Christmas day as everyone lives very locally. Obviously the grandparents, aunts and uncles want to see them open their gifts. But obviously is would be really weird if we didnt also give them the big present from Father Christmas, with the added stocking.....mayhem

OP’s posts: |
pontpint Fri 03-Dec-21 22:27:07

And they managed to find their main present about two weeks ago - which they've obviously now been playing with these past few weeks. Bad planning on my part, so am now feeling a tad insecure about the whole gifts thing. So the new main present will definitely be much loved but isnt as exciting on the day. It's a Yoto player so my kid will absolutely love it but you know not as fabulous on the day. So trying to figure out how best to manage the smaller/other gifts

OP’s posts: |
Pipsandseeds Fri 03-Dec-21 22:28:57

We give our DC one gift or none depending on how much we think other people will give. I think just having a few things is nicer because they can appreciate them instead of going glazed or crazy. Agree with changing the focus of the day so it is about the nice dinner, church, carol singing, games or whatever you do.

CatOfTheLand Fri 03-Dec-21 22:32:31

Oh god - I really feel you! My DC are exactly the same.

What we do is slow things right down - stocking is opened in our bedroom. Pause to play with toys and for dh to put on coffee / start breakfast.

Father Christmas toys are put in a sack so that they can dip into them when they are ready and aren't visually overloaded by all the presents (only a few). The presents from family are under the tree and mummy + daddy presents are put in another place. This sounds like loads, but it's only a few.

We let the DC pause to play with and enjoy each gift before moving to the next. We don't rush them through and opening presents can take two days if that's what they are feeling.

We pause for breakfast, sausage rolls at 11am, and a walk before or after Christmas dinner.

I'll put things in their advent calendar that hints to the main presents eg. Peppa Pig figures and the main gift will be a play set for them.

They get a Christmas Eve box which has a few bits they'd otherwise get on Christmas Day - toothbrush, bath stuff, new clothes, pjs etc

I think the key is letting them go at their own pace and not letting adults egg them on to churn through the gifts.

Fizbosshoes Fri 03-Dec-21 22:33:57

When we were kids we often spread them over a few days .
I did the same when my own DC were little. One year when DS was about 4 he was so excited with the first present we gave him, (something to do with Octonauts) we didn't give him anything else all day blush

Happyface120 Fri 03-Dec-21 22:34:48


We give our DC one gift or none depending on how much we think other people will give. I think just having a few things is nicer because they can appreciate them instead of going glazed or crazy. Agree with changing the focus of the day so it is about the nice dinner, church, carol singing, games or whatever you do.

Really? You give your own DC no gifts at Christmas?! This really is mumsnet at it's finest confused

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