Apparently, three is the magic number when it comes to your children's Christmas presents 5 months ago

Apparently, three is the magic number when it comes to your children's Christmas presents

It is all too easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy and the madness of the season when you are a parent at Christmas time.

I mean; my four-year-old is frantically trying to figure out just what to ask Santa for this year, and every time an ad for Smyth's Toys or Argos or whatever pops up when he watches TV, his list changes again. It's endless.

However; having been through seven Christmases as a mum already, I know one thing for sure: When it comes to presents, it can all quickly become too much for kids. And, as a parent, I not only want to make sure my children don't become spoiled but I also want them to care about the environment in this ever-changing world. Oh, and avoid my house looking like a branch of Hamleys too.

The amount of presents you buy is a personal choice, and most of us are in the position where the kids not only get stuff from Santa but also from aunts, uncles, grandparents etc – all of which are a little out of your control. Which is why, to me, it is even more important to make sure Santa only brings a sensible and sustainable amount of presents each year.

To us, in my own family, this usually means one or two bigger things (a Barbie house, a race track etc.), and one smaller thing too – often a surprise, and not something that was necessarily on their list. In their stockings, Santa always leaves a little sweet, a mandarin and a new DVD each for us all to watch together. Done and dusted.

This American mum thinks three gifts is the magic number – and her reasoning makes all sorts of sense, I think.

In an article on Popsugar, writer and mum Katherine Stahl recently explained her stance on presents:

"Buy fewer gifts for those special little darlings of yours. Three each, to be exact. Not only will this new Christmas strategy save you time, money, and a piece of your sanity, but most likely, your kids won't even notice. After years of research, I've found that three Christmas gifts will make them feel like they've scored some serious loot while still being invested in every single item they receive."

Most importantly, I cannot agree more with her reasons why any more than three is too much.

"More than three, and their eyes start glazing over. They become present-opening machines, requesting the next one seconds after they've opened the last gift, which they haven't even processed, let alone appreciated. It becomes an unfulfilling game of quantity over quality. They could be opening the same FurReal Friends puppy over and over again and they probably wouldn't notice until about the fourth one. In short, buy too many presents and not only have you wasted your hard-earned loot, but you've also ensured that your kids won't even remember half of what they've received."