3 Reasons We Won’t Give our Small Children Presents

The holidays are a stressful time for almost everyone. From coordinating travel plans, whose family we will see and when, to who is cooking what, there is a lot to think about.

For us though, we have eliminated one problem: gifts to our son Parker.

Parker will be 18 months old this Christmas, but Nate and I have talked about not giving him presents until he is around 3 years old.

Let me clarify something first. Even though Nate and I don’t give him presents specifically from us, his parents, we do not stop other people from getting gifts for him. So yes, his grandparents still spoil him unconditionally as well as any of his aunts, uncles, or friends – just not us.

Read on to learn 3 reasons why we won’t give presents to any of our younger children.

Reason #1: They Still Receive Presents

Like I said, Parker still receives a lot of presents even if none of them are from us. In fact, he has gotten so many toys that I have hidden some of them until he gets older. They still have the plastic wrapping on them!

I prefer to use what I call the “swap method.” I’ve also heard it called the rotation method. Basically, it’s where you swap out the toys your kids play with every once in a while. You can choose to rotate them every week, every month, every couple of months, you get the idea.

As you change the toys your children play with, it makes them think they are new toys (even if they aren’t). They won’t get bored of them so fast and the toys will stay in better quality for a longer period of time.

Parker has enough toys without us having to buy them that he has about three to four rotations at a time.

Reason #2: They Won’t Remember

For Parker’s first birthday, we only invited Nate’s parents and one of our best friends. I made a simple dinner and homemade cupcakes. Of course, we let Parker eat a cupcake on his own, but that was it.

I told Nate early on that I didn’t want to have a big party because it would put stress on my shoulders to plan it and because Parker wouldn’t remember it. Luckily for me, Nate agreed. Our son turns two in June and even then Nate and I think that is still too young.

On average, children start forming their first memories at three years old. (Nate has a degree in social work so we know all about this). How old are you in your earliest memory? I personally don’t have any full memories until I was 6. So for all you who are thinking that we are going to completely ruin our children’s lives by not showing them “love,” I would have to kindly disagree.

In addition, Nate and I want to show our children, whatever ages they may be, that there are more to holidays than just presents. We want to teach our children to help others and understand the spirit of Christmas or Easter, or any special day. That is what we want them to remember.

Parker French

Reason #3: We Can Save Money

If I’m being honest, we don’t have a lot of money right now. Nate works full-time as a social worker (they don’t make a ton), and goes to school part-time. I teach voice lessons, which doesn’t make me a ton either. Together, we live in a basement apartment for free in exchange for watching two elementary aged girls that live above us.

It feels like we both work a lot, but there isn’t a huge cash flow coming in. It can get rough.

That’s why I’m so big on budgeting and saving for what you need. That’s also part of the reason why we jointly decided that Parker doesn’t need gifts on his birthday or holidays right now.

We know so many people who don’t know what it means to save their money. They go out to eat and/or the movies often, and they overspend on their children and spouses. Then they complain about the debt they’re in and how many credit cards they have. Does that sound like you? If so, please reach out! I would love to help you create a budget and actually stick to it!


My goal in this article isn’t to convince you that you should never spend money on your children or show them your love. All I want is to tell you that there is another way.

Do you agree with me and Nate? Or do you disagree? What do you do for your children around the holidays? Tell me in the comments below!

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