TAKE INVENTORY AND GET ORGANIZED
Things get lost in overflowing toy boxes. Taking inventory of what you already have is a great way to figure out what your kids need and an opportunity to set aside items they’ve outgrown.
Items in good condition can be donated or sold in online marketplaces to other parents looking to catch a deal.
KEEP TRACK OF EARLY PURCHASES
Gifts bought weeks or even months ago may have fallen off your radar — especially if you’ve hidden them well. Before hitting the stores, make a list of previous purchases.
“If you’re not writing down what you bought, you’re going to forget what you had,” says Woroch, who suggests using an app called Santa’s Bag — although a note on your phone or old-fashioned pen and paper can work just as well. Tracking purchases throughout the season can help prevent overspending.
FIND A GIFTING STRATEGY THAT WORKS EVERY YEAR
“Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read” is a popular phrase, and for good reason: It sets parameters on gift-giving and works no matter how old the child.
Another strategy is buying fewer toys and focusing on what supports your child’s development, which is especially important for younger children. Kathryn Humphreys, an assistant professor in Vanderbilt University’s Department of Psychology and Human Development, suggests finding toys that allow collaboration and open-ended play.