Text: The Four gift Rule. Background: Festive decorations and foliage.

The 4 gift rule: Four things for Christmas

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The four gift rule has become a popular concept over the past few years. Many of us, recognising the fact Christmas is becoming expensive and commercialised, are looking for ways around it. Choosing just four things for Christmas is a great alternative. So, here is an outline of the four gift rule and a few ideas for the whole family in each category. There are even a few gift suggestions for pets.

The 4 gift rule

  1. Something you want
  2. Something you need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read

The 4 gift rule is a pretty simple concept and can be adapted to be as expensive or budget friendly as you like. The suggestions in this gift guide are all things you could buy that won’t break the bank. But you could definitely pick up an item for each category from a charity shop or make them yourself. We wrap all our presents in brown paper and string to make them a little more eco friendly too.

Text: The Four gift Rule. Background: Festive decorations and foliage.

The four gift rule: Something you want

The focus is on children in the “something you want” section of my four gift rule gift guide this Christmas. After all, this is the part that children look forward to the most. Receiving a coveted toy that they can play with on Christmas day or all year round with family and friends.

Don’t worry, there’s something for the adults as well – and even a little nod to our four-legged friends! If you buy your pet a stocking filler gift, you’re not alone. Many of us pop something under the Christmas tree so they can feel included on the big day.

Roller Skates from Skates.co.uk

Most of us remember the joy of receiving roller skates for Christmas as a child. These retro roller skates will make any child smile on Christmas morning. My girls love the pastel colours but a variety of colours and shades are available, including black and rainbow designs. Skates for younger children are available too, with adjustable sizing and wide rear wheels for additional stability.

White roller skates with blue wheels and detailing displayed on a wooden shelf with red flowers behind
White roller skates with purple wheels and detailing displayed on a wooden shelf with red flowers behind

Cat-astrophe Game

Cat-astrophe is a game that everybody can get involved with. It’s ideal for playing over the festive period, and would make an ideal “something you want” gift for the whole family. The box is full of kitties that balance on top of each other. Stack them up and try to make a tower with all the pieces. Play the game alone or challenge each other. You’ll need a steady hand and a calm demeanour to get the cats to behave!

Catastrophe tower game displayed next to red bunch of flowers in front of a white wall

Crimbo Limbo Gin Calendar

Do you struggle to know what day it is between Christmas and New Year? Perhaps you miss your pre-Christmas advent calendar to keep you on track. For adults who need a handy reminder of the day and date, the Crimbo Limbo Calendar has got you covered. Count down to the new year with a miniature bottle of Pickering’s gin each day, along with a handy note to remind people of things they might want to get done that day – from checking whether the turkey is still edible to packing the in-laws off home. Look out for Pickering’s signature London Dry gin alongside festive flavours such as spiced pear & cinnamon and chocolate orange. These calendars make a unique gift because they are limited edition, with just 10,000 available on the Summerhall Distillery website and handpicked independent retailers.

Photo gifts from Vistaprint

There’s nothing more personal than a photo gift at Christmas and Vistaprint have a vast number of options available. There’s something for every recipient, from pens and key rings to large canvases, cushions, mugs and these fabulous photo tiles. These are available in various shapes and finishes and I absolutely love the way they look on our stairs. The order process is nice and easy, so I picked a few of our favourite photos from the last year and got them printed up. If you order some of these for a recipient this year, it could even become a tradition to buy them a few more each year and start building up a unique photo wall.

Four hexagonal photos displayed against a white wall

Hot water bottle and fluffy mulled wine cover from Vendula London

This hot water bottle and cover from Vendula make an ideal gift for someone who could do with a little bit of extra warmth and comfort this winter. The cover is made from faux fur with a red velvet bow and faux fur pompom. It is extremely soft and an absolute delight to cuddle up to on a warm night. The cover comes with a rubber hot water bottle inside that is nice and easy to fill up. Thanks to the luxurious cover, it stays warm for ages too. The Vendula website mentions that you’re going to want to get more than one of these hot water bottles and I couldn’t agree more. Everyone in our family has already staked a claim to ours, so I will be back to purchase a few more.

Red faux fur hot water bottle from Vendula London displayed against a wooden backdrop with red flowers beside

Ultimate Sushi Kit from Kelly Loves

Buying for someone who gets fed up of turkey by boxing day? The Ultimate sushi kit from Kelly Loves makes the ideal gift for them! It contains all you need for rolling sushi whether you’re making lunch or having a family sushi night. Better still, it’s all palm oil free, GMO free, MSG free and it even includes a gift box! All you’ll need to purchase separately is the veggie or fish filling you want to use. The kit contains a rolling mat, spicy mayo, sushi rice, wasabi, a bento lunch box, crispy fried onions, sushi vinegar, sushi ginger and nori sheets.

Ultimate Sushi Kit displayed in a box against a white background with the box open containing a variety of sushi ingredients and kit needed to make sushi

Festive ToyChoc Boxes from Play in Choc

This eco-friendly alternative to Kinder Surprise makes a fabulous stocking filler for little ones. Better still, all Play in Choc products are vegan, cruelty, allergen and plastic-free. The Christmas ToyChoc Box contains two allergen-free organic chocolates, a 3D Christmas card puzzle toy to build and a fun Christmas fact card. These boxes are also available to buy in a 6-Box gift set, ideal for posting to friends and family you can’t be with on Christmas Day.

Play in Choc Christmas gift box open showing six boxes of chocolates, displayed in front of red flowers

Cocoba Chocolate and Hot Chocolate Christmas Gifts

Do you have a chocolate lover in your life? If so, this is going to be the thing they want for Christmas. The Cocoba Christmas gifting range is ideal for stocking fillers. Choose a milk and white hot chocolate bombe in the shape of a Christmas pudding, complete with marshmallows. Or if you want to hang your gift on a tree, go for a hot chocolate bombe Christmas bauble. If your recipient prefers to eat their chocolate rather than drink it, a range of chocolate gifts are available including sets of both large and small festive characters made from chocolate.

Cocoba Chocolate and Hot Chocolate Christmas Gifts displayed on a wooden shelf with red flowers behind

Grow It Bonsai Trees

Are you buying for someone with green fingers this Christmas? They’ll love this Grow It Bonsai set that allows them to grow their own tree from scratch. The pack contains mixed Bonsai seeds, growing pots made from coconut husk and natural coconut husk compost disks. Full instructions are included so your recipient can grow something amazing.

Grow It Bonsai Tree Kit in a white box displayed beside red flowers next to a white wall

Tasty treats from Doodlebone

If you’re buying for a pet lover or putting together a stocking for your dog, make sure you include some tasty and nutritious grain-free Doodlebone treats. These soft bites come in various flavours including delishy duck and super salmon. Baked for taste and texture, these contain added flaxseed for its healthy Omega 3 fatty acid. They’re conveniently sized with a resealable packet. Ideal for putting in your pocket if you’re training your dog whilst out and about.

Doodlebone dog treats displayed against a wooden backdrop with red flowers beside

PetLove Hunt n Squeak Wild Turkey toy

Dog owners will love this PetLove Hunt n Squeak Wild Turkey toy. It’s made from safe, non-toxic materials with no plastic. Even the squeaker is made from natural, biodegradable rubber. Crinkle paper adds another sound element to the toy and dogs will love to chase, carry, bite and shake it. It’s machine washable too, so if it gets a bit grubby you can just pop it into the washing machine. Other characters are available, including a pheasant, duck and even a stork.

PetLove Hunt n Squeak Wild Turkey toy displayed against a wooden background with red flowers under the turkey's head - part of the pet section of the four gift rule Christmas gift guide

The four gift rule: Something you need

Gardeners are in for a treat this year in the “something you need” category of the four gift rule Christmas gift guide. I don’t know about you, but I love getting things for the garden at Christmas. It reminds me that it won’t be long until the Spring, when we can get back outside and start planting. Pet owners are going to enjoy this section too!

Christmas dinner for a dog in need from Miracle’s Mission

There’s always one person at this time of year who insists they don’t need anything at all. And that’s where charity gifts come in. If you’re buying for a pet-lover who has it all, why not purchase a Christmas dinner for a dog in need on their behalf? Choose between an email or physical certificate to give to your recipient so they’ll know that their Christmas present has done some good this year. Miracle’s Mission provides a place of safety for animals in danger around the world and educates people on the need to neuter their pets, as well as helping to neuter stray dogs and cats. They also rehabilitate and re-home dogs with disabilities in the UK.

Certificate for a Christmas dinner for a dog in need from Miracles Mission pictured with red flowers beside on a wooden shelf with white background

Kit Out the Shed With a Christmas Mega-Deal

This Christmas is looking like a good one for gardeners. If you know someone who lives for their tool shed or garden, check out the BigDug Mega Deal this Christmas. It has everything you need to fully kit out a garden shed with a workbench, a toolbox and various types of storage. The BigDug Mega Deal includes the following:

  • 5-level Shelving Unit (pictured)
  • Boltless Workbench
  • Bott Perfo Wall Panel
  • 5x Bott Perfo Double Hooks
  • 10x Plastic Parts Bins
  • Professional Tool box
Blue-edged shelving unit displayed on a wooden decking with a vase of red and yellow flowers on the top shelf

Qwickhose Starter Set

If you’ve ever struggled with the hose attachment popping off when you’re using it, you’ll understand the joy your recipient will feel when they receive this gift. The Qwickhose is designed to be easy to use with a wing-lock design instead of those frustrating teeth that break and leak. This is a family-run business that manufactures in the UK to reduce carbon emissions. The plastic they use to make it is extra-robust so it will last longer and need replacing less frequently than other hose attachments.

Quick Hose Starter Set in box displayed with red flowers behind

Wahl Rapid Clip Cord / Cordless Hair Clipper

When barbers and hairdressers closed during lockdown, I think a lot of people got into the habit of cutting their own hair at home. My husband has never ended up going back to the barbers because it’s so easy for me to cut his hair for him. If this sounds like somebody you know, they will probably need a hair clipper. This Wahl Rapid clip hair clipper works both with and without the cord, with a 120 minute run-time after a three hour charge. It has precision blades and an adjustable taper lever. This makes it suitable for many different cutting lengths. It is compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to use and works well around the contours of the head.

Wahl Rapid Clip Cord and Cordless Hair Clipper

Doodlebone luxurious faux fur dog blanket

My only complaint about the faux fur dog blankets from Doodlebone is that they are designed for dogs. I have honestly never seen such a luxurious blanket for humans, and I was very tempted to keep this for myself! It’s super cosy and soft, as well as being tough enough to sustain some wear and tear. These blankets are available in two colours with a double-sided design. Doodlebone are so confident that these are made to last that they come with a lifetime guarantee.

Turquoise and grey doodlebone dog blanket displayed against a wooden backdrop with red flowers beside

Bamboo Palm Dog and Cat Brushes

As the owner of a fluffy dog that sheds hair ALL the time, brushing him is a firm part of our routine. Unfortunately, our staffy doesn’t always get the same level of attention, because she simply doesn’t shed as much. So, she has been rather happy to see these gorgeous bamboo palm brushes appear in the house. Their different bristle types ensure that you can find the right one for your pet – whether they’re long-haired fluff-balls or short haired pets that just enjoy a massage. They’re great for grooming nervous pets as they fit neatly into your hand and they’re planet-friendly too, due to being made from natural materials including sustainable bamboo.

Bamboo palm pet brushes from Mikki displayed against a wooden background with red flowers beside for the something you need section of the four gift rule Christmas gift guide

Gourmet Style Nylabone Chew

This one could have gone in the “want” or “need” sections of the four gift rule. But I’ve put it under need because anyone with a dog that chews things definitely needs one! This Gourmet Style Nylabone Chew boasts extra bold bits of flavour that you can see in the chew. This makes it tempting for dogs, who in turn chew this rather than your table leg, wall, shoes etc! It has an ergonomic design that is easy to hold and chew from any angle. With three different chewing ends, it helps to clean dogs’ teeth as well!

Gourmet style nylabone chew displayed against a wooden background on top of red flowers. This is in the something you need section of the four gift rule for owners of dogs that chew things they shouldn't.

Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser for Cats

Anyone who has a cat that gets anxious due to more people in the home or lots of noise at Christmas needs one of these calming diffusers for cats. They release a drug-free pheromone formula that is odourless and mimics chemicals that signal familiarity and safety to cats. If cats are grooming excessively, scratching furniture, hiding or peeing where they shouldn’t, these diffusers can help to calm them down so these behaviours dissipate. Most cats show an improvement after a fortnight.

Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser for Cats displayed against a wooden background propped up by red flowers - something you need for cats in the four gift rule Christmas gift guide

Christmas cards and calendar from MFPA UK

Whether you send Christmas cards to friends near and far or just use a few when you’re giving gift vouchers, most of us need to buy Christmas cards. These beautiful cards from Mouth and Foot Painting Artists UK are a great option. Each one is a reproduction of an image painted by one of 33 British artists who paint without the use of their hands. They also have a lovely selection of 2024 calendars and diaries.

Christmas cards and a 2024 calendar from MFPA UK

The four gift rule: Something to wear

Miracle’s Mission Charity T-Shirt

Dog lovers will adore this Miracle’s Mission charity t-shirt. Your recipient can show their support for this fantastic charity that provides a safe place for animals around the world. They also educate people about taking care of their pets and help to neuter strays. Here in the UK, Miracles’s Mission rescue, rehabilitate and re-home dogs with disabilities. The t-shirt is available in small, medium and large and in an assortment of colours including this striking pink.

Miracles mission charity t-shirt in bright pink with a picture of a dog on the front displayed beside red flowers on a tiled background

Lovall Pyjamas

There’s nothing more cosy than chilling at home in your pjs. This soft-touch button up pyjama set from Lovall boasts a shorts and t-shirt style, ideal for wearing all year round. Available in three different colours, these pjs are designed for comfort. Whilst many people are investing in festive or fleecy pyjamas at the moment, many of us get too hot at night even during the Winter months. This set offers comfort without overheating.

Navy blue pyjamas by Lovall displayed against a wooden background beside red flowers

Lovall Black Everyday High Waisted Leggings

Formerly known as Love Leggings, Lovall has remained true to its roots with a fabulous selection of leggings available. These everyday high-waisted leggings come in multiple colours and sizes from 6 to 28 as well as four different lengths from petite right through to extra tall. They are supportive, sculpting and non-see through, offering security and comfort. Their soft cotton fabric and brushed lining make them super comfortable and ideal for wearing with various looks all year round. Pair them with a casual dress or sweatshirt and trainers, or go for the smart look with a blazer and heels.

Black high waisted leggings from Lovall displayed against a wooden backdrop with red flowers beside

Doodlebone Dog Collars

If you are looking to purchase something for your dog to wear this Christmas, you can’t go wrong with a Doodlebone padded collar. These are easy to adjust and they stay in place once you’ve got them to the correct size. Padding provides extra comfort and their strong material ensures that they are durable – even for dogs like mine that tend to grab each other by the collar when wrestling! These are machine washable at 30 degrees and come with a metal buckle. They are available in a range of colours and sizes so you can find the ideal collar for your good boy or girl.

Turquoise doodlebone dog collars with white stars displayed on a wooden backdrop beside red flowers

The four gift rule: Something to read

Weird Walk

Anybody with an interest in Britain’s ancient landscape, rituals and folklore will enjoy Weird Walk. For every season, the author shares a place to visit, a description, photos and the rituals and folklore associated with the location. From seeing the equinox sunrise in spring to wassailing in Winter, this book offers the reader an opportunity to connect with the beautiful British Isles on a deeper level.

Yellow Weird Walk book with red flowers in front displayed on a wooden shelf

Bright Midnights

Amelie has always been different. Most high school students find life challenging, but 17-year old Amelie has a  lot more to contend with than typical teenage angst. Ever since she turned 11,  other people have been irresistibly drawn to her—with tragic consequences.  Amelie’s only escape is at night when she flies to different times and places through her dreams. Her life begins to change when, on one of her flights,  she meets Clovis. An alluring and mysterious young man who hides a secret. As Amelie finds herself irresistibly drawn to him, she learns his story and how it intertwines with her  own, and finally discovers how to live her life in the real world. Until her own secrets are revealed to the  wrong people and that world turns upside down. Bright Midnights is the second in the Limerent Series and continues in the thought-provoking and  beautiful style of the first as it considers different dimensions, different ways of looking at the world, and the transcendent power of love.

Bright Midnights book with red flowers in front displayed on a wooden shelf

The Legend of Childer’s Forest

Fans of Gillian Young’s fabulous Poppy Loves Devon book (including my daughter Lia) will be delighted to read the latest in the series, The Legend of Childer’s Forest. Poppy the golden retriever is back with her younger sister, Devon.  When a family of rabbits are driven from their home, Poppy and Devon make it their mission to help. Their quest takes them to Childer’s Forest, the site of ancient and mysterious events. But when the safety of their human brother,  Jack,  is also threatened, Poppy and Devon call on the famous Legend of Childer’s Forest for help.

The Legend of Childer's Forest book displayed on a wooden table beside a bunch of red flowers for the something to read section of the four gift rule Christmas gift guide

The Secret Life of Clutter

Helen Sanderson MSc, MBACP, author of The Secret Life of Clutter is a psychotherapist, professional organiser, and interior designer. Her award-shortlisted book has been described as “a love letter to clarity and a recognition that when we create more physical space, we create mental headspace and momentum in our lives. If you don’t want your possessions to possess you, this is a book you must read.” The powerful truths she reveals in her book can inform and inspire anyone who wants to build a better relationship with the place they live.

The secret life of clutter by Helen Sanderson - a book with a blue cover with a key on the front - displayed against a wooden background beside red flowers

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  1. I have never heard of the 4 gift rule – but what a good idea.
    We scaled our Christmas’ back a few years ago and refocused on time.

    I love these suggestions of gift ideas – as we still do secret santa and get a few gifts – I like the 4 gifts rule to help with these.

    1. Thank you. I really like it as well, I think it’s a great idea to scale back on gifts a bit and put more thought into them. Although I am pretty much asking for books from everyone so maybe a one gift rule would work better for me as a recipient!

  2. The heat sensitive magic photo mug my daughter just got married this would be a perfect surprise for her if i used a wedding photo