'Want, Need, Wear, Read': The Christmas Gifting Trend All Over TikTok

These four presents are all kids need – and parents are obsessed.
Daniel Grizelj via Getty Images

Want, need, wear, read is the gifting trend dividing parents on Tiktok right now. The premise is simple. Instead of splurging on loads of Christmas pressies, you buy just four gifts for your kids – or a couple of gifts from the following categories:

  • One present is something your kids really want (for example, a toy they’ve asked for)
  • The second item is something they need
  • The third gift is something for them to wear
  • And the final gift is something for them to read.

The trend isn’t new. In fact, a BBC article in 2016 asked parents what they thought of it, and they didn’t hold back, with reactions ranging from “it’s a great idea” to “I think I’d feel sad if that’s all they had” and “it’s a tad sanctimonious”.

Fast forward to 2022, at the height of the cost of living crisis, and it’s something more and more parents are raving about on TikTok. But of course, for every parent that loves the idea, there are plenty who think it’s stingy.

Mum-of-two Jamie Rose recently took to TikTok to explain how she’s spent around £40 this year using the gifting rule. Her video blew up, being liked more than 295,000 times.

Some of the categories have a couple of presents in them, so technically her kids end up with more than four gifts each. But on the whole it’s a useful way to keep things from spiralling out of control.

The mum wrote in the caption for her video: “I spent £40 this year, we have done less other years. I’m well aware that this will be out of some people’s budget, especially this year. Just remember – you are amazing, you’re doing your best, and you are a wonderful role model in your child’s life. I promise.”

For her daughter, she explains how she bought her a £15 karaoke machine from Amazon and a £5.99 den kit via Aldi Special Buys (something she wants).

For the ‘something she needs’ category, she bought socks and pants, and then for ‘something to wear’ she got some reindeer pyjamas in the sale for £5 from M&S and a printed Boden dress from Vinted, which also cost a fiver.

In the ‘something to read’ category, she purchased a Lego games book (which comes complete with Lego to play with) and a fairy doll’s house sticker book for 89p from Home Bargains.

She had almost 10,000 comments in response to the video – and while there were some who couldn’t believe she’d only bought her kids a handful of presents, lots of parents were on board with the idea.

“This actually made me cry,” wrote Cara Booth. “I don’t mean in a bad way. It’s made me realise how much pressure and stress I’ve put on myself over the years at Christmas.”

Another parent added: “I think this is wonderful. It’s totally unnecessary to spend hundreds/thousands on Christmas. There are so many fun free activities and ways to celebrate.”

“They’re fab presents,” added another commenter. “I think no matter the budget your rule is sensible and sustainable.”

Of course, there were some who couldn’t get on board with the idea and preferred to splurge. “This defo isn’t for me,” said one mum. “I’m a single mum of two boys five and 16 months and I’ll give my last penny to give them a brilliant Christmas.”

There were some suggesting she was being “tight” by only spending £40 – and some took issue with the fact she’d bought her daughter socks.

“Times are hard,” wrote one person. “But [that] doesn’t mean you have to buy your six-year-old socks for Christmas. That’s something you should be buying her regardless?”

But lots of parents disagreed, adding they (and their kids) used to – and still do – receive socks and pants for Christmas.

Kimberly Walker replied: “I’ve never gone a Christmas without being brought socks and pants from my mum! It’s tradition.”

Whatever your thoughts, it’s clear more parents are going to struggle to afford nice presents for their little ones this year – and if a gifting rule helps people steer clear of debt, surely that can’t be a bad thing.

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