Every year I take the kids on what we call a “scouting mission”.

Kraus House Mom

This is when we go to the toy store and look at all the toys and take pictures of or point out anything that they may possibly want for Christmas.

It doesn’t matter what it is, they can take a picture of it.

As it gets closer to Christmas, they need to narrow their choices down to the top three items they want to put on their list for Santa, within reason.

Right now, Stella has about twenty two things on her list.

There’s a reason they only pick their top three items. In their top three items, they know that Santa doesn’t bring them electronics or elaborate gifts.

One, Teddy and Maizie both have birthdays fairly close to Christmas (November and December).

Two, because of what I do, they get a lot of toys sent to them anyway.

And three, they know that Santa needs to make sure that he gets gifts to the less fortunate kids before them.

Because of reason number three, my kids know that Santa won’t bring them electronics or anything expensive. If they get something like that (tablet, game system) it will be from us.

We have done this for several years and they love it.

When we go see Santa and he asks what they want for Christmas, they can tell him without hesitation.

This way everyone can have a Merry Christmas.

How do you handle super long Christmas lists?

43 Comments on Christmas Scouting Mission

  1. I always have my grandkids make a Christmas list for me beginning in October. Then it changes a couple of times and they know they probably won’t be getting everything on that long, long list and I always look for those items that make it to their new shorter lists. I love how you do it with the photos. I might need to try your way next year.

  2. We have a long list too! When it comes to my son I take him to Toys R us and I get an idea of what he wants and write it down as we go. Then at christmas we have all sorts of fun opening gifts.

  3. What a great idea with the picture taking. More importantly you are teaching your children it is not about them but making sure other children receive something

  4. I love your approach to picking the top three. Right now, it is hard to get my girls to identify anything they want! Which is a great quality but can make the Christmas shopping difficult

  5. Scouting…hmmm, I like that idea. My children usually create their lists with the flyers and stuff that come in the mail. So far it’s worked pretty well for us.

  6. This is actually pretty amazing that you do this. I feel like a lot of kids tend to act on their impulsivity and this teaches them how to slow down, weigh the pros/cons, and choose the thing they value the most! Way to go, Mom! I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I may take a page out of your parenting book!
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  7. I did something similar with my four year old. We walked around the toy section and whatever he got excited about I took a picture with my cameta and said mmaybe he will get it for Christmas. It will be nice when he gets older he can take his own pictures and do something similar to what you do with your kids.

  8. we are having our first baby in February so this will probably be something I deal with in a few years. hopefully just lists 🙂

  9. What a fun tradition you have created with your family. I know my three kids would also enjoy something of this nature.

  10. If only I had the long list problem. Getting my son to make a list is hard. Going to the store and taking pictures would probably be a good idea.

  11. Growing up, my mom always had my sister and I write a list with our top three dream Christmas items (usually ones that were pricey) for Santa. Then, she would usually pick one from the list to be our Santa gift!.

  12. I think a scouting mission is a fantastic idea. My kids like to be able to look at a toy in person before they decide if they want it.

  13. I used to do this with my kids when they were little. It is a great way to get a good idea of what the kids want for Christmas.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing what you do to find out what the kids would like for Christmas. This is such a great idea. I am going to take my little one to Toys R Us this week and do the same. I think he would enjoy just going and looking at all the toys.

  15. I love the idea of a Christmas scouting mission wit the kids. The idea of the bigger items from you instead of Santa is a great idea also. Thanks for sharing the tips and I will have to share this info with my niece.

  16. Giving to others in need is always at the top of our list! And I am loving your ideas about the bigger presents. Something we totally do the opposite in our home but now I think I need to rethink it!

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