I’m always torn about how soon is too soon to be thinking about the holidays, but as of today there are less than seven weeks until Christmas (and less than a month until Hannukah), so I don’t think it’s too early (but you won’t hear me whistling Christmas carols just yet.)

How do you handle the holidays? Are you a die-hard Black Friday shopper, or do you go for Cyber Monday? Do you use the holidays as a time to shop local? (If you do, this week the Briar Patch is having a 20% off sale!) Do you have any rules or traditions you follow to keep the spirit in check, and what do you do when your kiddo requests something you would really rather keep out of your house (be it a pet, a toy gun, a Barbie, or the loudest plastic toy ever?)

In our house, we’ve adopted the Rule of Four, and try to stick to “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” Our kids also get stockings, and of course, gifts from doting grandparents and aunts and uncles, but having the Rule of Four helps keep OUR spending in check. And a favorite gift in our family is the renewal of our Maine Discovery Museum membership — that is one gift that we enjoy year-round, never have to store, find all the pieces to, or trip over, which is always a plus.

What are your plans for gift-giving this holiday season?

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