People generally look at me like I'm crazy, and I probably am, but O and P get one gift for Christmas. If it is a large, shareable item, like last year's doll house, they get one shared gift. Otherwise, they get one each. Santa fills their stocking with art supplies and other practical items. We ask family to give experiences, like lessons or museum memberships, and that is it. Seriously.
I have a long list of reasons, but I think the main one is pretty obvious. We are opting out of the Christmas chaos, of the conspicuous consumption, of the excess, of the piles of stuff. It makes the whole holiday feel lighter, and easier. At least, it does for me.
I do worry how they will feel as they start to compare their holiday with their peers. I guess I hope that our Christmases will be so filled with love and fun that they won't even notice that they aren't filled with presents. As they get older, we might transition to the rule of four: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read, but for now, the one present seems to be working out just fine.
I'm very aware of how some of our parenting choices are going to set O and P apart from their peer group. This is just one small example of that. I wish I could tell you that I am 100% confident that I am doing the right thing. I can't. As with all of these choices, I'm just making my best guess, doing what feels right for our family, and trying to make conscious choices rather than just following blindly. I'll get back to you in thirty years, but for now, at least I don't have to figure out where to store all those new toys.