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

The 4 gift rule: Four things for Christmas


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 four gift rule is a pretty simple concept and can be adapted to be as expensive or budget friendly as you like. These suggestions 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

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. There’s a little nod to our four-legged friends too. 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.

Scooters for young children from Skates.co.uk

Most children place a scooter at the top of their Christmas wish list at some point. If your little one is desperate for a scooter but they’re not quite old enough to master a two wheeler, Skates.co.uk have a lovely selection of three wheel scooters. The trail twister offers the stability of three wheels with handlebars that lean left and right for turning. Or, choose the Ace of Play three wheeler with light-up kinetic LED wheels. Whether you’re looking for a three wheeler or upgrading a confident tot to two wheels, check out the toddlers and young kids scooters on offer.

Trail twister kids three wheeled scooter
Trail Twister 3 wheel scooter
Ace of Play 3 wheel scooter

Yonex badminton racket and net set for the whole family

Do you ever use the four gift rule to buy for the whole family? This Yonex badminton racket and net set is ideal for everyone to play together. With four rackets, shuttlecocks and a net in a handy carry case, it’s great for playing in the garden. Ours is going to live in our camper van for setting up at the beach. Badminton HQ have loads of badminton sets available. You can also buy all your badminton supplies there, from shoes and clothing to rackets and shuttles.

Yonex family badminton set

Clixo magnetic play experience

Clixo is magnetic building toy designed to encourage fine motor skills, spatial reasoning, and creativity. Suitable for children from four years old, this STEM set can be used to create multiple 3D creations. Then, take them apart and make something new! The clicking feedback, both heard and felt when the magnets connect, lets young creators know that each piece is securely in place. Every click, snap, shape, and colour, works together to create a
highly enjoyable and engaging play experience. Made from reinforced synthetic paper with strong-embedded magnets for maximum safety, every Clixo piece is completely washable. Just wipe down or pop in the dishwasher for a deep clean. There is 25% off selected Clixo sets from Friday 25th to Monday 28th November 2022 on Amazon.

Clixo magnetic play set

The four gift rule: Something you want for pets

If you’re looking for a stocking filler for your pet, this selection of treats, toys and chews is ideal.

Vet’s Kitchen treats for cats and dogs

Whether you’re shopping for your own pet or buying a gift for a pet lover, these Vet’s Kitchen Little Stars for dogs and Little Hearts for cats are ideal. Vet’s Kitchen is based in a veterinary practice. They have seen the impact that poor nutrition can have on the health of our pets, causing avoidable problems. That’s why they make pet food with health benefits to help care for pets. Choose the right treat for your cat by flavour, or pick a treat for active, sensitive or smart dogs.

Vet’s kitchen dog and cat treats

Nylabone Extreme Puppy Bone

Anyone who has recently welcomed a puppy to the family will appreciate the struggle of finding something for them to chew. Strong dogs and puppies with sharp teeth will get through most dog chews within seconds. Thankfully, Nylabone is different. Made from durable nylon and flavoured throughout, this Nylabone extreme puppy bone chew takes dogs ages to get through. As they chew it, it doesn’t splinter but becomes rough instead. Tiny bristles become exposed, acting like a toothbrush to clean your puppy’s teeth.

Nylabone extreme puppy bone

PetLove Barn Buddies dog toys

PetLove Barn Buddies are a gorgeous new range of high quality plush dog toys. Each one is a different character and comes complete with a squeaker. They’re equally fun to cuddle up with, helping dogs to avoid destructive behaviour and anxiety. There are eight toys to choose from and my dogs are very much in love with Oinky.

Barn buddies dog toy

The four gift rule: Something you need

I have been focussing on the four gift rule for a few years now, and I absolutely love it when something you need and something you want overlap. It just makes the whole gift giving process a little more joyful. That’s definitely the case with some of the products in my “something you need” section this year.

Bloomsbury Mill Kids’ Bedding Set

Bloomsbury Mill bedding is affordable, making it an ideal way to save money on kids’s essentials if you’re on a budget this Christmas. And let’s face it, most of us are. The bedding is great value for money, being well made and long lasting. It’s super easy to wash and dry and children love the fun designs, making bedtime a little bit more fun and less of a battle. I love the versatile designs for the festive season. If you are looking for something that is Christmas through and through, the Winter Wonderland design is perfect. Whereas if you’re looking for something with a nod to Christmas that can be used all year round, check out the grey and white stars – a reversible design with both grey and white backgrounds.

Christmas duvet set
Reversible star duvet set

Knotty’s Peanut Butter

Sometimes when following the four gift rule, it’s nice to make it up as a little hamper. Popping in something edible is always a treat, especially when something you need is going to be utterly delicious. Knotty’s make a selection of delicious nut butters with added extras. Think peanut butter with crisp rice, American style peanut butter and jelly (jam) and my personal favourite – peanut butter with dried banana. Conceived to make nut butter less boring, Knotty’s definitely achieves its purpose. The products contain no added sugars or palm oil and are naturally gluten free, vegan and delicious.

Knotty’s Peanut Butter

Babycup Sippeco First Cups

For baby’s very first Christmas, it’s always a little difficult to know what to get for them. In fact, following the four gift rule can be a great option so you don’t overcomplicate it. Did you know that Dentists and orthodontists recommend babies use an open cup to encourage sipping and support healthy teeth and jaw development? Babycup Sippeco First Cups are mini open cups. They are carefully proportioned for little hands and mouths and made from high-quality, non-toxic, baby-safe materials. They’re also BPA-free, dishwasher and steam steriliser safe. These were made in the UK by a mum. They are 100% Recyclable, there’s even a recycling scheme where customers who don’t have a suitable local recycling facility can send their cups back for recycling. The cups are biodegradable too – if Babycup Sippeco First Cups end up in general waste, they will biodegrade and so will not contribute to longstanding landfill.

Babycup first cups

Cotton Traders toy box

Any pet owner will tell you that they absolutely need somewhere to put their pet’s toys. Without a designated place to keep them, toys get left out in the rain and end up smelly and dirty. Then, dogs tend to leave them around the house looking rather a mess. So, this Cotton Traders dog toy box is the ideal “something you need” gift for a dog parent. The basket comes with helpful carry handles and a red inner lining for long lasting durability. It’s easy to wipe clean and extremely durable, made from 100% polyester. This would definitely work as a children’s toy box as well!

Large grey fabric basket with TOYS written on it and white polka dots for pet toys included in the something you need section of the four gift rule
Pet toy basket

The four gift rule: Something to Wear

Tommy & Lottie polar bear organic cotton sweatshirt

As an open water swimmer, I have a bit of a soft spot for a really good, warm sweatshirt. This Tommy & Lottie polar bear organic cotton unisex sweatshirt is PETA certified and vegan friendly. They are available for babies, kids and adults. Ideal if you want matching jumpers for the whole family. These sweatshirts are free from plastic, long lasting and made from 85% sustainable organic cotton. £2 from every adult’s organic cotton polar bear sweatshirt sold is donated to  Ocean Generation via Work For Good. Helping to protect polar bears, marine wildlife and our oceans. Looking for a sustainable Christmas card to go along with the jumper? Tommy & Lottie can help with that too! I love their Robin Christmas Seed Card. It’s made from biodegradable paper embedded with seeds that you can plant indoors or outdoors after use.

Tommy & Lottie polar bear organic cotton sweatshirt

Moshulu Slippers

I don’t know about you, but one thing I am fully intending to spend a lot of time wearing this winter is slippers. With the rising cost of heating the house, we’ll be keeping the temperature down and wrapping up warm. Moshulu have a gorgeous variety of ladies slippers, as well as slippers for men and children. These Mirissa Turkish mule slippers are made from recycled felt. They have a sturdy but flexible rubber sole with plenty of grip, along with soft, recycled felt uppers and rainbow stitching. They’re great for around the house and will cope with the odd dash out to the car or into the garden without getting ruined.

Moshulu Slippers

Cotton Traders Stevie Check Maxi Shirt Dress

Cotton Traders’ ladies clothes selection features everything you could possibly want for each season. Better still, most of their pieces are timeless classics that are made to last. So, there really is no need to replace your clothing regularly. Which is great for the environment and your bank balance. This Stevie Check Maxi Shirt Dress is from the Cotton Traders Christmas outfits collection. It’s a classic shirt dress style with a button-through front and a thin detachable belt, waist seam and bust darts. The skirt is bias-cut skirt for a full and flattering shape. Made from breathable cotton, the dress comes with a slip to wear underneath, plus modesty buttons to the chest to help prevent gaps. It’s machine washable and versatile enough to wear as a work outfit, or pair with trainers for the smart-casual look.

Cotton Traders blue and white tartan long sleeved dress photographed against grey floor tiles with red flowers at top of image something to wear section of Four Gift Rule gift guide
Cotton Traders dark blue tartan dress

Cotton Traders Classic Overcoat

As well as a fantastic ladies clothing selection, Cotton Traders do great men’s clothes too. This stylish classic overcoat is made from a wool blend with plain or herringbone patterns available. It has a contrast lining for extra warmth and a luxury finish. The cut is neat, with narrow lapels and a single-breasted mock horn button front for a modern look. Shoulder pads add structure and shape and a vent to the back of the hem makes it easier to move around. Twin welt pockets and an inner security pocket give you plenty of places to keep your valuables. This coat is dry clean only.

Grey Cotton Trades formal men's coat photographed on grey tiles with red flowers in left corner of image something to wear section of four gift rule gift guide
Cotton Traders men’s coat

Trendhim Black Stainless Steel Minimalist Dress Watch

Trendhim has a fantastic selection of watches including formal and pocket watches. This minimalist watch is made by Seizmont, who pride themselves on making expert minimalist watches. This outstanding timepiece is no exception. Its plain black matt face is punctuated by a simple white logo and numerals. The watch uses a Japanese quartz movement for accuracy and is 3 ATM water resistant. The interchangeable strap is lightweight and made from stainless steel, offering a stylish way to tell the time.

Black men's watch with black stainless steel strap presented in a black case on a wooden board with silver tinsel and Christmas balls around
Trendhim Black Stainless Steel Minimalist Dress Watch

Little Hotdog Watson Ele-folk Arctic Cub Hat

Little Hotdog Watson sell a range of gorgeous hats for all seasons that little ones love to wear. This Ele-folk Arctic Cub hat is water resistant and lined with Thinsulate© lining, along with soft jersey. They feature a reflective piping trim so little ones are more visible to traffic and they’re long lasting and machine washable. This Arctic Cub trapper hat is made from BCI cotton using 75% solar energy with non toxic Oeko-Tex inks. It’s designed for winter adventures with ear flaps that can be fastened under the chin to prevent windchill.

Little Hotdog Watson Ele-folk Arctic Cub Hat

Planet Buddies Wireless Headphones

Planet Buddies is an environmentally conscious children’s brand with fun, exciting tech and accessories including a selection of headphones. Brand new to the range are these adorable wireless headphones with a cute penguin design. They also feature fish and a turtle. All products feature a character and an associated story to create awareness of how children can help to protect the planet and endangered animals. Planet Buddies have also partnered with World Land Trust and the Marine Conservation Society. A proportion of revenue from each sale is donated to these charities to support their various projects. All products are available on their Amazon Store.

Planet Buddies Wireless Headphones

The four gift rule: Something to Read

After all the excitement is over, the rest of Christmas is for snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket and something to read. Whether that means flicking through a photo book, magazine or newspaper or getting stuck into a novel, it’s a lovely way to relax and unwind. These new releases will make an ideal gift for the “something to read” section of the four gift rule.

For Adults

The Old Familiar Places by Sam Emony

This was a book that I couldn’t put down. I got through it in a couple of days, having put virtually everything else on hold. It’s an extremely compelling story that makes you want to keep reading.

Shy, bookish, Sonny Jackson attends a family funeral and in that instant, transforms his future. From a student pianist to playing with legends, this is the tale of how one extraordinary meeting can change your life. Ruby, the striking young widow, tears up the rule book, and pushes Sonny to believe he can escape his semi-detached suburban hell in Manchester. Ruby pulls the strings, schemes with others, and manipulates Sonny as he she sees fit. London’s calling and New York is on the horizon, but behind the fancy façade are dark secrets. Hang on tight as the past catches up with the present. You can order a copy from Sam Emony’s website.

The Old Familiar Places by Sam Emony

Rock n Roll Nanny by Sally Arnold

Sally Arnold is a shining example of someone who has really lived. This always makes an autobiography extremely readable and exciting.

From Rock and Roll legends to ministers of state, this literary journey brings in some of the most iconic and formidable characters of our age by a formidable, trailblazing woman who has lived through myriad incredible moments in time. From The Who and The Jaggers to the Royals and State leaders, Sally has seen it all and worked with massive household names.

From her time with the fated American rock band Lynyrd Skynyd, through to Classic FM and all round the networks of Charity Projects, Comic Relief and numerous other high-profile events with the likes of Princess Diana, the stories are vivid and eye-opening. Sally was the first woman in the UK to get a tattoo over her mastectomy scar having battled breast cancer. Sally was the first female tour manager for The Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, The Who and Lynard Skynard. Sally really is the epitome of a true, strong, independent, trailblazing woman. Order a copy from the rock n roll nanny website.

Rock n Roll Nanny by Sally Arnold

For Children

Poppy Loves Devon by Gillian Young

Animal-loving children are going to have their noses stuck into this fabulous book about a fun dog on an adventure in Devon.

Poppy Loves Devon is the second in the Crazy Cream Adventure Series. Following on from Poppy on Safari, the pampered life of this crazy cream retriever is turned upside-down when she discovers a lost puppy whilst on holiday with her family. Poppy wants to befriend anything that moves, but she’s never successful. It seems all the other animals find her too big, loud and boisterous. Dad is convinced she needs a playmate, but Poppy’s unsure. She enjoys the fuss and attention from her family so much, she is not willing to share. The choice is taken away from her when one day a puppy comes along.

However, Poppy soon discovers the puppy is lost and alone. Her big heart and caring nature kicks in when she discovers a monster lurking in a nearby wood. Poppy must act fast to save the farm, her family – and the puppy. Meanwhile, a handsome border collie ticks all the boxes as the ‘perfect’ dog – but is he? Poppy Loves Devon follows her pursuit of making friends but not realising what’s under her very nose. Order a copy from Gillian Young’s website.

Poppy Loves Devon by Gillian Young

Jump by J G Nolan

Sometimes, football is the one thing that gets children interested in reading. I worked with the Premier League on their writing stars initiative a few years ago and the inspiration their players provided to children when it came to literacy was incredible. Jump builds on that love of football and tells an inspirational story that will make kids think.

Robbie Blair is a talented young schoolboy who dreams of being a professional football player when he grows up. He possesses the necessary skills but unfortunately is also set apart from the pack by his tendency to break bones – lots of them! When Robbie breaks his femur for the third time during an important trial, he discovers he has a form of brittle bones and is resigned to the grim fact that his footballing dream is finally over.

But is it over? A chance discovery of an old football shirt and then an encounter with a World War 2 veteran in a local
old people’s home trigger a mysterious chain of events in Robbie Blair’s life. Already a Celtic fan, Robbie is introduced to the club’s rich past and in particular, the world of the legendary Celtic footballer Patsy Gallacher who bamboozled defenders with his mercurial skills over 100 years ago. Robbie is guided by a mysterious voice, by a face which urges him to think “outside the box”, to train in a different way if he wants to fulfil his ultimate dream of playing professional football for Celtic one day. Jump is available to buy on Amazon.

Jump by J G Nolan


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  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