Simplifying Christmas: Want, Need, Wear, Read Gift Idea

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Somehow every year Christmas sneaks up on me. Every year I say “I’m going to start in July so I’m ready to go by December.” And every year I find myself a few weeks before scrambling.  This year I decided to bring back a gift idea to simplify Christmas.
Simplifying Christmas - the Want, Need, Wear, Read idea with cute printable gift tags

Years ago when I was reading one of my favorite blogs I came across an awesome idea- want, need, wear, read.   It’s pretty simple.  Instead of getting a stack of presents for each child, they all get one want, one need, one wear, and one read.  They will still each get a big gift from Santa and stocking stuffers but this will help cap things.  For some reason as Christmas gets closer, I start spending more and adding more to my cart.  It’s so silly.  And wasteful.  And brings more clutter.  It gets way out of hand.  So I’m reeling it back in.

Something you WANT 
Something you NEED
Something you WEAR 
Something READ

Obviously this can be interpreted however you’d like – wear doesn’t have to be clothes.  It can be jewelry or accessories or whatever.  Read could be a magazine subscription.  You get the idea?

A long time ago I decided that each person would have their own wrapping paper.  It makes it easy to hand out and my family gets excited about their wrapping paper.  So I pulled out some paper and I designed cute gift tags to go with this idea.

Simplifying Christmas - the Want, Need, Wear, Read idea with cute printable gift tags

Dremel had me test out their VersaTip  to see what I could come up with.  I’m here to tell you that if I can use this tool, you can too.  I created something so simple but it got me excited about other ideas — using leather and other wood pieces to make something special.  These etched tags just add a little something extra to the cute packages for Christmas.

Etched Gift Tags for Christmas presents! So easy to make and a fun way to package.

To make them you need:

  • wooden tags (I found these mason jar ones at Michaels and fell in love)
  • Dremel VersaTip
  • butane gas
  • well ventilated area

The VersaTip comes with a guide on how to get it set up.  I had to buy butane gas at the home improvement store.  When I went there I wasn’t exactly sure where to buy the gas from.  A nice employee directed me to wear the blow torches are.  All the guys walking that aisle looked up at me surprised that I was there.  I like keeping them guessing…..
To make the tags I free handed words, letters, hearts, dots.  You could use a pencil or design something with vinyl and use it as a guide.   For my first showing they turned out pretty cute but I’ll know a little better for next time.  There’s kind of rhythm to the pressure to use and how to sketch with this tool.   There are also a few different attachments to try out.  It can be used for soldering, melting, hot cutting, welding, shrinking, pyrography, and paint removal.  Crazy!

Etched Gift Tags for Christmas presents! So easy to make and a fun way to package.

Simplifying Christmas - the Want, Need, Wear, Read idea with cute printable gift tags | Thirty Handmade Days


Want need wear read tags for Christmas

Download these printable gift tags.  For subscribers and personal use only.  Thanks! 

What do you do for gifts?  Do you package them up a certain way?
This post is sponsored by Dremel®. All opinions are 1 million% my own and I’m happy to be working with a company I believe in about an important topic.


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  2. says

    I love this idea! Simple yet everyone gets a good amount of gifts. I also think it is a great balance: want and wear are usually the things on peoples lists but needs and read can let the gifter show what they know about the person receiving. Or show that they are thinking of them. :)

  3. Michelle says

    we have this tradition too! We have two girls, and they each receive “something to play with, something you need, something that is good, and something to read”.

    Now that our eldest is 15, this can come is coming in the form of iTunes gift cards, or wool socks, a pizza each month gift certificate and a great book! Our nine year old still plays with ANYTHING, so the toughest thing is to narrow it down! She also receives new hip hop shoes, a fruit bouquet each month and a book.

    It is fun, less money, and it lasts each month. The best thing is that it creates memories….not debt.

  4. says

    Hi there! I love the idea of gift tags for wear one, want one, read one, and need one. As a wellness coach, I am always looking for ways to keep things simple…I love this for the holidays. Found this post through the Link Party Palooza, you have great ideas!

  5. Crystal says

    What a great idea! My girls are 21 L& 17 now and I still do something different with the presents so they never know whose is whose. One year, they each had their own distinctive ribbon, one year I did different wrapping paper, but lately I’ve been picking random names like SpongeBob and Patrick, Laverne & Shirley, Minnie Mouse & Daisy Duck, etc. I thought that this year I would just do the traditional “normal” way, but they baulked at that so I’m trying to figure out what names I will do this year.

  6. Gina Egg says

    When I was pregnant with my daughter – she was an infertility baby, the first girl in our family in over 30 years…kind of a big deal! We didn’t want things to get out of hand and so we took a cue from my sister and BIL — Jesus got three gifts, so will she. Who knew we would go on to add 3 more kids?! So, that idea ended up being one that has kept us out of debt at Christmas time. One of their gifts is always a DVD of their choosing. The other two gifts they have to think VERY carefully about (and they do, when making their lists). The get a stocking filled with fun things, too — but also practical things (new toothbrush, fun toothpaste that they don’t get any other time of the year, kiddie bandages that they also don’t get at any other time of the year, etc…they love those things!!). I think this is a great idea as well.

    • Nance in Reno says

      Our daughter is a miracle after several miscarriages. She’s still an only child. When she was 8, she decided one of her three gifts would be a llama from the Heifer Project (a wonderful organization that teaches families animal husbandry and then provides a family with a pregnant animal. The family promises the “pass the gift” to another family by teaching that family how to raise the animal and gives the 2nd family a pregnant animal. And that family passes the gift to another family . . .). So for about 12 years we’ve donated llamas and she gets two other gifts.

      Because we’re a small family and she only gets three gifts, it doesn’t take too long to unwrap presents. We started a treasure hunt . . . the Grinch has stolen the gifts and left clues about where to find them. Sometimes the clues are in a substitution code (I just typed up the clue and then converted it into Wing Ding font) or required research “Arlo Guthrie’s pickle” (clue to look in the garage where the “motorcicle” is). She still has her clues from 10 years ago!!!

  7. Nance in Reno says

    Since our daughter was born, we’ve always told her that “Baby Jesus got three gifts, so since no one is more special than He, you get three gifts for Christmas too.” As an only child and first grandchild, we encouraged our parents not to spoil her with too many gifts but to use the money for savings bonds for college. We also did a stocking that had individually wrapped gifts; we also simplified things by just exchanging gifts with her cousins (no gifts for our siblings and spouses).

    Well, she’s 21 now and she is finishing college debt-free (thanks to some fantastic scholarships and savings)! At church a few weeks ago a friend mentioned Christmas gifts and said, “I still remember Alycia when she was about six and in response to my question ‘what are you getting for Christmas,’ she excitedly replied, ‘I don’t know, but I know I get three presents!!'”