Last updated on November 5th, 2021
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Christmas wishes start to surface in our family around September 1st. It’s like the change of seasons (even though much of September is still warm around here) causes holiday thoughts to bubble.
All of a sudden there are comments such as “I’d really like for Christmas…” or “If only I could get…” dropped at the breakfast table. I try to make vigorous mental notes. There’s no way I want to forget that one thing that will make Christmas morning perfect.
And about Christmas morning. So, I admit that I’m the parent who has insisted over the years that the tree needs be brimming with gifts. It must be the designer in me. I will spend hours wrapping boxes in assigned wrapping paper, labeling them with everyone’s initials and perfectly placing them in the right spot under the tree. A tall one needs to be in back. And don’t block that one – it needs to be seen.
This happened even in our more minimalist years when we lived in an apartment. For some reason, I was convinced that the more items under the tree to unwrap, the happier everyone would be on Christmas morning.
One year, after Mr. Mountaineer had had enough, he suggested that I just wrap empty boxes like they do in shop displays. They could use them to make cardboard creations. And my obsession seemed to be the look of the tree, not exactly what was inside the presents.
So, I started to curate our Christmas gift giving more over the past few years. I’ll admit that it’s easier now that the kids are older. They seem to want fewer little things and bigger presents anyway. Plus, our home has started to look like a toy store. And not in a good way.
After awhile, I noticed that most gifts were the same concept. Just a different design.
Then, I saw a lot of very brave parents using the four gift rule for Christmas gift giving. Each child received something they want, need, read and wear. That’s one way to cut down on the number of gifts under the tree.
As an only child, I grew up with big Christmases. The kind you saw in movies. Where the tree was brimming with gifts and they were all for me. Alright, so I was quite spoiled. But, it was a lot of fun on Christmas morning.
My parents did give a lot of variety of gifts, though. There was always something I wanted, needed, read and would wear. Just a bit more abundance.
The other thing is that we spend all year saving for Christmas. It made me sad to think that I would be limited to only giving four gifts to my kids.
I want to give them so much more. And even though it’s not about the gifts, I love their excitement on Christmas morning and awe of the decked out tree in all of it’s beauty. They are little for such a short time, I didn’t want to miss out on any of these special moments.
So, this year we are trying something new. No, not fewer gifts exactly.
Instead, after much reflection, I’ve realized that my gift giving over the years has been solely focused on the kids’ wants. They get an abundance of things that they desire. Although this is nice, I think it’s important that they also receive items in the other categories.
To get started, I created this Free Printable Christmas Wish List. The list asks them to write down some wants, needs, reads and wears. Also, there is space at the bottom to write down something that they would really love.
Why are Multiple Lines in each Box Important?
I have seen a few different Christmas wish list designs. Although they are pretty looking, my biggest complaint is that they have one line for each of the categories. I have never met a child who only has one want, need, read and wear.
Even if you plan to choose only one item from each section of the list, it’s helpful to have multiple items to choose from. I hate the idea of a child writing down their one perfect idea and then discovering that it’s really expensive. Or you can’t find it that season because of supply issues. Welcome to 2021.
Also, I found letting them record a few things in each category gave me ideas to give to other family members.
The other thing that starts in September is the constant requesting for gift ideas from friends and family. Neither set of grandparents wants to wait until December to do their Christmas shopping. And they also like a few ideas to choose from.
How Do the Kids Fill Out the Christmas Wish List?
One of the most exciting parts about the Christmas wish list is filling it out.
I create a little ceremony around completing the wish list. Once my littles start mentioning their Christmas wishes, I wait a couple weeks so they can think about all of them. Then, on a Friday morning usually in October, I give them the list.
I ask them to spend the weekend filling it out as they think about the things they’d like for Christmas. Now, sometimes the list takes more than a weekend. But, I do have a due date. After that, I will take more suggestions, but not huge wants.
What Happens if my Child has More Wants?
I find my kids’ desires, like so many children, change with the next breeze. Typically, a new catalog arrives in the mail and all of a sudden their must-have list adjusts.
It can make early Christmas shopping very complicated. Already this season, a few items that were ordered online had to be returned due to changes of heart (and interests).
My recent conclusion is that those new wants aren’t really that important anyway. If mentioned recently, they haven’t been the heart’s focus for months on end. So, the new guideline when making their Christmas wish list is that after they give it to me, adding new things is limited.
But for every guideline, there is always an exception. Some newly discovered items might be important and could be added to a list for consideration. Just try to set some boundaries in place before adding, though.
One thing that determines if a new desire needs to be added to the list is listening to how much they talk about it. My little saw this Tiny Camper Model Kit (affiliate) in a toy store recently. She spent the following two weeks chattering about it and all its wonders. I finally relented and told her to add it to the list. We will see, but her constant mentioning of it gave me clues that this might be an important wish.
What if My Child has No Needs, Reads or Wears?
One of the reasons I found this Christmas wish list template so helpful this year was because it forced all of us to look beyond the wants of life.
Kids learn about needs and wants early in school. And they understand the difference pretty quickly. When I think about Christmas, though, my focus is on the wants. And so are theirs. Who wants to receive a need for Christmas?
But needs are important too and Christmas is a great time to receive something that you need. The best part about putting needs on the list is that you might receive a more luxurious version of it. Everyone in our family needs bed sheets this year, but I’m able to shop for a nicer variety than if they were on my monthly household budget list.
If your child has trouble thinking of needs for their list, help them. It’s the perfect moment to reinforce what is really necessary in life. I worked with one little to figure out some of his needs this season. Pajamas were one of the top ones. It turned out that he wanted a new set of pajamas with his favorite character on it. This was a perfect wear request for Christmas.
Same thing goes for reads. Not all kids love books, but most will get excited about a new one to enjoy. If they don’t have one for the list, make a trip to the book store. Usually kids get excited about books when they see them in person.
How Do I Manage Wants that Aren’t Possible?
A parent recently mentioned to me that her son wants a video game system, laptop and race car track for Christmas. I asked her which one she was planning on getting. She said all of them, but they’re so expensive she’s picking up extra hours at work to afford them.
The one rule I have about Christmas is that it has to be in budget. And there are wants – many of them actually – that my littles come up with that aren’t.
It can be hard as a parent to have to say no. Especially when the next response is that Santa can get it then.
That’s one reason there is room for multiple gift ideas in each box. If one of the wishes isn’t possible, the next one or two might be. The child can still receive something that they really want.
When making their Christmas wish lists, I always suggest that they name some big and small items. This also helps when I give relatives gift suggestions. I usually know their budgets and can recommend the best options.
How to Make your Christmas Wish List Printable
So, here it is. Your Free Printable Christmas Wish List. The design includes four boxes – want, need, read and wear. There’s also space at the bottom for your child to write something that he really wants. I suggested this to be something from Santa or a really big Christmas wish.
To make your Christmas wish list template, download your Free Printable design here. Then, you can print it on white copy paper. If you want a sturdier list to write on, you can use medium white cardstock (affiliate). Check out our printing guide for more tips.
Love this Christmas wish list printable and want to save it for later. Be sure to pin it below.
Looking for more Christmas printables? Our shop is stocked with LOTS of Christmas printable designs to make your holiday celebrating super easy this year. We also have some free Christmas printables on our blog. Check out this Free Printable Roll a Christmas Tree Game or add these Reindeer Food Toppers to your magical reindeer food.
And just remember that celebrating the holidays doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all about hosting one simple party.