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4 Gifts for Christmas :: Free Printable Wish List + Gift Guide for Kids

This post: Your guide to 4 gifts for Christmas: want-need-wear-read ideas + a printable Christmas wish list.

Looking for a Christmas gift guide for kids + teens? Great! because that’s exactly what this blog post is about!

Here’s a sneak peak at what I have for you- (click the links to jump to a section, or just keep reading)

What is “4 Gifts for Christmas” all about?

I stumbled upon the 4 gifts for Christmas tradition when my kids were little. 

In case you’re new around here, we are a family of seven. My husband is a pastor, and I’m a homeschooling/work-at-home/ homemaker. We live on a budget. Maybe not tiny. But modest. You know, one-income-ish.

And did I mention the part about all seven of us living in an 1800-square foot farm house for ten years? With. Tiny. Closets. (read: no room for stashing tons of presents until I get around to wrapping them)

Having each family member choose four gifts: something I want-something I need-something to wear-and something to read, instead of over spending + stressing about Christmas giving… well, it didn’t take long to convert me!

4 gifts for Christmas doesn't mean stingy!
4 gifts for Christmas doesn’t mean stingy!

The 4 gifts for Christmas tradition has done a few good things for me, including-

  • making my Christmas shopping more enjoyable (because I know exactly what to buy for my kids)
  • streamlining our holiday budget (I can spend the money where it counts)
  • making gift giving even more meaningful (because my kids aren’t getting a lot of “stuff” they don’t want or need)  

The main reason we stick with it every year is because my kids really love it. Every year, they start thinking about their want-need-wear-read ideas; and every year I print our Want-Need-Wear-Read wish list + we start Christmas shopping.

It really is a fun tradition!

How it actually works.

The 4 Gifts for Christmas rule is simply a template for helping you shop smart for your kids at Christmas time. 

The really beautiful thing is that it pulls your kids into the process of choosing the best gifts. It really is a win for everyone! 

Another tradition that our family loves is opening stockings on Christmas Eve, so of course our kids get their share of “stocking stuffers” too. But as far as gifts that go under the tree, 4 Gifts for Christmas nails it

Want-Need-Wear-Read Printable Wish List

I’ve got a printable Christmas wish list for you! This is the same one my kids use every year; all you need to do is drop your name + email below, and then go check your email. You can download + print your want-need-wear-read wish list right away.

I hope this simple printable gives you permission to take the stress OUT of Christmas gifting… and rediscover all the joy in it. xo

Want-Need-Wear-Read Gift tags

I have a gift guide for you, but first I want you to take a look at these.

Want-Need-Wear-Read tags for Christmas gifts.
Want-Need-Wear-Read tags from GreatLakesCreative on Etsy. xo

I just love these want-need-wear-read gift tags + use them every year. For $5, you can download + print them as many times as you like!

Now let’s get to that fabulous Christmas gift guide I promised you: gift ideas for

Something I Want

Something I Need

Something To Wear

Something To Read

Of course, your kids will tell you exactly what they want/need/wear/read for Christmas. xo These are just ideas I curated from my own kids’ Christmas lists.

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#1 Something I Want

This single gift prompt is what most families make Christmas all about. But why not simplify things a bit and request one thing on the “want” list? Trust me, this is so freeing!

Ideas for something I want

A phone. For younger kids, I recommend Gabb Wireless phones. Gabb phones have unlimited texting, fun phone cases, a great camera, a music app- but no internet access.  If you want a safe phone that’s safe for kids ages eight – 12, check out Gabb Wireless. (Use promo code KRISTY10 to save 10% off your purchase.)

Airpods. Airpods have been a popular “want” gift with our teens. I like to shop online + catch them for around $100 (reguarly priced at $150). Airpods Pro a little more pricey, but include a noise-canceling feature.

Fitbit Alta and 12-pack of colored bands. Apparently, this particular fitness tracker is especially streamlined and chic for girls. For dudes, check out the Fitbit Sense or Versa 3… or, since this is a gift list for kids, the Fitbit Ace 2.

Razor RipSticks are all the rage right now among teens and preteens! (We’ve bought more than a few.) For kids ages six – 12, the Pulse Hoverboard is a fun option.

Musical instruments. Over the years, our kids have asked for guitars and ukeleles. Our youngest enjoyed this instrument set when he was a preschooler. (I have yet to allow a child to request a set of drums!)

Legos and Playmobils are by far the most requested gifts by my boys. Here are a few favorite sets over the years:

Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter starship

Castle and knights

Drone Explorer toy helicopter

Rise of Skywalker Resistance A-Wing starship

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Duel on Mustafar

Camping Adventure carrying case set

American Girl doll. When my daughters were little, getting an American Girl doll for Christmas was a dream-come-true! Check out the Holiday Shop for accessories, clothes, and lots of gift ideas. ($20 off $100 orders with code SURPRISE).

#2 Something I Need

Depending on the ages and interests of your kids, “something I need” ideas might include:

Sports equipment. Have a child in martial arts or sports? Wrap up a new set of sparring gear, punching bag, youth baseball bag, weighted training basket ball, a new gym bag, or a kids’ size football.

A new bike or scooter is always a win!

Ice Skates or roller blades. A new pair of ice skates or roller blades, + with a rink membership or skating lessons, makes a great gift.

Camping + outdoor gear. One of our sons loves nature, and something like this outdoor exploration set frequently made his list. Other favorite gift ideas: binoculars, camping hammock, walkie talkie set, and glow in the dark mummy sleeping bags.

Bedroom decor. A make-up organizer for a teen; mermaid tail blanket for a younger girl; Beddys, a comfy bean bag, a reading lamp, or wall art might make the “need” list. One year, our oldest daughter – a Blue Belt in American Karate – asked for these.

Art supplies pretty much always appear on my kids’ Christmas wish lists, or stocking stuffer requests. For artsy teens, check out Copic markers, this Covacure colored pencil set with cool canvas bag, these leather notebook journals, a Canon camera (this is a big ticket item, but a great investment for a teen who’s serious about photography). For younger kids: Aqua Doodle Mat, finger paints, sticker book, jumbo coloring pad and Crayons.

#3 Something to Wear

Who says kids don’t like getting clothes for Christmas? My kids have yet to complain about the “something to wear” section of their wish list.

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Hoodies, tees, fleece pullovers, and pajamas are popular among my boys.

My girls enjoy hoodies, graphic tees, jeans, and jammies, too.

Of course, “something to wear” isn’t just clothes:

Shoes. A new pair of Vans or Converse.

Hand bag or tote. A small crossbody purse, like this; a sparkly pink backpack purse, like this; or a sequen drawstring tote, like this.

Jewelry. A personalized gift, like this custom name necklace, would make any girl’s day! Other jewelry gift ideas: a bracelet charm, fun initial necklace, pack of earrings, or a pretty bracelet.

#4 Something to Read

This is probably my favorite part of our “4 gifts for Christmas” tradition. I absolutely adore books and am so happy that most of my kids do too. (I’m still working on that one kid.)

For littles who aren’t reading yet, opt for picture books (to read to them), or something educational + fun instead of “something to read.” 

A few gift ideas for non-readers: Magnetic Letters & Numbers Board (our youngest son loved his set), coloring books and Crayons, or sticker books.

4 gifts for Christmas rule- Here's our family's want/need/wear/read gift guide, plus a free printable kids' Christmas wish list.

Favorite books my kids have asked for on their “something to read” lists:


The Green Ember books, by S. D. Smith

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, by Nathan Hale

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series, by Brian Jacques

The Shiloh series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The Boxcar Children Mysteries, by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Keith adored the “Shilah” book series!

Classics for Kids:

Paddington Treasury, by Michael Bond

Classic Starts series, various authors

Chester Cricket and His Friends books, by George Sheldon


The Baby-Sitter Club Graphic Novels, by Ann M. Martin

Enola Holmes Graphic Novels, by Serena Blasco


The Four Loves, by C. S. Lewis

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey

The First 24 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast!, by Josh Kaufman

4 Gifts for Christmas Rule- Printable Wishlist & Kids' Gift Guide

And that wraps up my Christmas gift ideas for kids, and why you really only need four gifts for each kid for Christmas.

Want more gifting inspo? Check out my shopping guide :: 30 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Teen Girls.

Your Turn.

Have you ever tried the 4 Gifts for Christmas rule? Drop a comment and let me know.

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