Mom Reveals That She Only Gives Her Kids Four Small Gifts on Christmas

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Dec. 4 2023, Published 3:41 p.m. ET

TikToker @afmuscato said she only gets her kids small gifts for Christmas.
Source: TikTok / @afmuscato

While lots of folks adore spoiling their kiddos with holiday magic, they're starting to tighten the reins on the number of presents they (er, Santa) shower on their little ones each year. It's all about quality over quantity, people!

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Take it from TikTok creator Annie Muscato (@afmuscato), who recently went viral for sharing her Christmas gifting wisdom — and guess what? Her secret holiday formula involves just four gifts for her little ones. Dive into the full story below, and keep scrolling to hear the social media chatter about this game-changing festive revelation!

Three kids throw wrapping paper on Christmas morning.
Source: Getty Images
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This mom only gives her kids four small gifts on Christmas.

In the viral video, posted on Nov. 20, 2023, Annie explained that every Christmas, she gives each of her children only four gifts: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Annie adopted this gift-giving approach after a friend shared that her family faced financial challenges during her childhood, leading to a lack of extravagant Christmas presents.

"My kids go to a small rural school that I absolutely love, but it has a really high threshold of kids who live below the federal poverty line," Annie said. "I am very aware that my kids are going to school with a lot of kids who are probably going to get things like hats, mittens, and presents that they already need on Christmas morning from Santa Claus."

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Annie noted that her kids will "get plenty for Christmas" from her, their grandparents, and their aunts and uncles. They won't be in dire need of anything, so Santa can bring the kiddies smaller, more meaningful gifts instead of a couple of overly expensive ones.

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She shared that the "something they need" gift usually involves a necessary clothing item, often not extravagant — a hat, mittens, or a pair of socks. For the "something they want" present, Annie picks something from their Christmas list that costs $20 or less. The "something you need" gift relates to school, while "something to read" is, well, a book.

"As much as I want to say this would have occurred to me at some point on my own, I'm not sure it would have," Annie pointed out. "So I am so thankful that my friend had that conversation with me."

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She added, "In case you have never thought of this before, I just want to throw it out there that it might be something to consider, especially if your kids are surrounded by a lot of kids who are potentially not going to have a ton of stuff from Santa Claus on Christmas morning. I don't think my kids are any worse off for knowing that the big ticket items come from family and friends, and not from Santa Claus."

TikTok users expressed their admiration for Annie's gift-giving approach.

At the time of writing, Annie's video has amassed over 211,900 views and counting. The video has also received more than 1,000 comments from fellow TikTokers who loved this minimalist idea and found it highly practical.

"I do the same," one TikTok user said in the comment section, "but in part because I think it's important for kids to see mom and dad work hard to get them the big-ticket stuff and to appreciate it."

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"My parents told us Santa brought us smaller presents because he had to give the bigger presents to families that couldn’t afford it"
Source: TikTok

A second person agreed, writing, "I wish everyone would understand that the big presents do not come from Santa."

"Santa only brings $30 or less gift in our house," a third TikToker commented. "And if my kids asked why so so got an Xbox, he'll be told that the parents set up a [payment] plan with Santa."

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Another user replied, "Santa doesn't bring expensive gifts in our household because Santa couldn't afford to do that for all the kids in the world, and it would be fair for my kids to get new expensive things while their classmates get small, not so expensive things. Mom and dad buy the big gifts, and Santa covers the little [ones]."

"I spread this idea every year. I studied social work/child protective services. you never know what your kids friends are going thru."
Source: TikTok

"Love this so much!" someone else commented. "We don't do the exact same plan, but [we've] been working with [the] family to make sure [they know] the Santa gifts are the small things."

What do you think? Will you follow the four small gifts guide this Christmas? Let us know!

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