Momtroversy: How many Christmas presents should you give your kids?

The responses vary widely.

December 4, 2019, 4:31 AM

It's a common question this time of year: How many presents is the "right" amount to give your kids?

On the one hand, you want them to feel the wonder of the Christmas season and most kids love receiving gifts. On the other hand, you don't want them to be greedy and not appreciate the gifts they're given.

Not to mention you don't want to go broke in the process.

"Good Morning America" reached out to real-life moms to see if there was any particular number of gifts that people collectively felt was the sweet spot for their kids. But like with most of parenting, what works for one family does not work for another.

With that in mind, we picked three moms who each had a different perspective on why they gave their kids many gifts, no gifts, or something in between.

The bottom line: For this one, there is no right answer -- you just do what works and have a Merry Christmas.

Lots of gifts

Ann-Margret Gidley goes "all out" for Christmas with her children, who are 5 and 2 years old. She estimates her kids receive 20 gifts each.

"As a kid, Christmas was always a big deal and I just continued the tradition assuming it was normal for kids to receive a lot of gifts. I now see how privileged we were and are," Gidley told "GMA."

The children don't receive gifts other times of year, she said, except their birthdays, which are in the summer.

"Their playroom gets stocked once in the summer and once in the winter," she said.

"I also want to note that we also make a point to shop for other kids who are less fortunate and my kids select toys for them and then attend an event where we talk about kindness and ways to help others and then wrap the donations," she said. "We all look forward to it each year."

No gifts

Caroline Notin has one child, a 2-year-old. She plans to give no gifts this year.

"She already has plenty," Notin told "GMA."

She said that since they don't have any relatives nearby, it won't be an issue telling them not to give gifts, either.

"I don't believe in this society of consumption," she said. "Time, sleep, outdoor activities. Things that aren't material in nature are what I believe brings more joy to a family."

As for when her daughter gets older, Notin said she plans to keep it low-key in the gift-giving department.

3 gifts

Kate Stahl's two children -- ages 7 and 4 -- will receive three gifts this Christmas.

"The three-gift rule was actually suggested to me by a mom friend who has kids a few years older than mine. As her kids were getting older, more aware of Santa and his potential largesse, and more opinionated about what they wanted to find under the Christmas tree, she said the rule helped her rein the Christmas craziness in," she told "GMA."

She said other relatives give additional gifts, so the kids have plenty to unwrap.

"At the time, I thought it took a little fun out of the holiday, but I had a baby and a toddler who weren't really aware of Santa yet. Once that changed and they started making wish lists long about a minute after Halloween was over, I realized how genius it was," Stahl said. "I tend to go a little Christmas-gift crazy, and it helps me from getting too out of control.

"Plus, it keeps things equitable between the kids," she added. "They totally accept that it's Santa policy to bring three gifts and are thrilled to receive them."

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Dec. 17, 2018.

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