The Five Gift Rule and Why I Swear By It


Comfort in the five gift rule

Before each holiday season gets into full swing, I end up with a donation bag of things to cart off that we’ve simply outgrown. This year, I’ve decided to go with the five gift rule. The something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need is going to guide me past the end caps of big box retail, and right into supporting local businesses this holiday season. Here are my five tips to shop local for the most meaningful gifts this season. 

Something They Want

My kids get so excited to see the Amazon toy book come in the mail, the same excitement we felt circling the Sears toy catalog, they get out of Amazon. The toy possibilities are endless, and their list seems to grow by the day. I want to make sure that they absolutely get something they really want, within reason. The great thing is that local stores carry everything from video games for my older child, to building blocks for my younger one. Places like G. Wilikers downtown Portsmouth have a mix of trendy toys to local books, there’s something for everyone. 

Something They Need

While it’s a loose interpretation of need, I love the idea of giving self care items. One of my favorite places is Portsmouth Soap Company. They have everything from handmade artisanal soaps to body wash to hand soaps. It’s perfect for a self care Sunday, which is a family favorite day in our house where we simply get cozy and take care of our mind and body before a busy week ahead. 

Something to Wear

I love taking the time to find a dress that twirls just right for my daughter, or a beanie that slouches perfectly on my son’s head. The seacoast area is in no short supply of amazing local clothing stores for both adults and kids alike. Puddlejumpers in Exeter has the sweetest clothes, and if you’re looking to stay sustainable, Sweet Pea in Portsmouth has an amazing selection of resale clothes. Being able to have so many options makes it easy for me to shop for my two children with very different opinions on fashion choices. 

Something To Read

This is my favorite gift on this list to shop for. Reading is such a powerful gift to give and receive. It means so much more than the book you’ve chosen, it also means time that I get to spend reading with and to my kids. It’s such a treat to see them grow as independent readers, and even more of a treat when they ask me to read to them. When I’m in Exeter, I try and pop into Water Street Books

Something Unexpected

The element of a good surprise is looking for something they don’t expect. Since the holiday season often means tangible things, I think an experience is a perfect option for this. Whether it’s a Summer camp at a dance studio, or tickets to a local play, giving my kids the gift of experiencing something rather than receive something is the right fit for us. I like to look at local events to see what’s going on around us, and with any luck, find an experience the whole family can enjoy. 

With so many places to turn to locally, following the five gift rule should make holiday shopping not only easier this year, but much more meaningful. Giving way for us to spend time creating traditions and building memories that are centered around each other. 

Previous articleBest Seacoast Stores for Your Holiday Shopping
Next articleTablet Options for Kids Made Simple
Hello! I'm Holly. I spent half of my life in North Carolina, where I developed a love of food and college basketball simultaneously while studying for a modern east Asian history final at UNCC. Since moving to the Seacoast, I'd say i've had a series of rather fortunate events. I am a wife to an Air Force veteran, a mom of two kids and a super happy golden retriever. In 2018, I quit a career trajectory that did not fill my bucket to be a stay at home mom. The things that do fill my bucket include cooking, random Spice Girls sing alongs with my kids in the car, and bringing our house out of the 80's through several both successful and unsuccessful DIY projects. You'll find me on the field, coaching my kids various rec sports, as well as helping them blaze their own trail in the scouting world. My world right now is family centered, and it's absolutely perfect for me.