If you are a parent you probably know all about the stress of constantly picking out gifts for kids birthday parties. This week it’s what does 5 year old Johnny like, next week it’s what does 10 year old Claire like? Who knows! All this gift giving can be majorly stressful, especially for us busy parents.

Enter: the answer to all your birthday gift giving problems … the “one birthday gift idea per year” rule.

The idea is that you choose one gift idea that would work for kids of all ages, and that is the gift you give to all of them for the entire year. So essentially, you are deciding one time and then you don’t have to think about it again for a whole year.

Now, I have to tell you, I am unfortunately not the genius who came up with this stroke of genius. Kendra Adachi, author of The Lazy Genius Way, is that genius. All hail queen Kendra.

I read her book a few years ago and it was life changing. So first, get the book, and then, let’s talk about these birthday gifts some more.

More About How This One Gift Per Year Rule Works

It’s all about eliminating decision fatigue (read her book to learn more about that), but as a mom of three kids who gets stressed out about gift-giving and already has 1,000 thoughts in my head at all times, eliminating the things I have to make decisions about is a game-changer.

The first year I did this, I chose a subscription to National Geographic Kids. It was appropriate for kids of all ages and it was the gift that kept on giving. For around 20 bucks, the kid would get a magazine every month for a year.

Plus, I didn’t have to go to the store every time there was a birthday party, I just made up a little sheet with a photo of the magazine that said that was their gift for the year, printed it, put it in a card, ordered the subscription online and bam, done.

You can use this idea for adults in your life too:

Again, read the book, I can’t take credit for these genius ideas, but Kendra also points out that you can use this idea for the adults in your life, too. Have a great book you love? Gift it to all of your girlfriends, sisters, mothers, etc for their birthday that year. You get the idea.

It may sound like a small thing, but eliminating decisions like this from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives is actually huge. It leaves room in our brains for more important things, or just peace and quiet. What a novel idea.

Ideas for Your One Yearly Gift

After that first year, I have generally moved to gift cards (mostly because it’s easy and all kids like to pick out their own stuff). However, there are plenty of things that are perfect gifts for kids of a wide age-range.

Here are some gift ideas:

Digital Camera:

This is a great gift for kids of all ages, even if they are younger they still love taking pictures and this gift can grow with them and get use for years to come.

Walkie Talkies:

My kids have always loved and used walkie talkies at all ages, and again, these can be used for years and have multiple uses.

Art Supplies:

You can’t go wrong with art supplies, even if it’s just a sketchbook and some colored pencils.

Shape Shifting Box:

My oldest son has one of these, but the entire family actually loves it, from my youngest to my husband and I.

Customized Duffel Bag:

This is a gift that is great for any age that can be used for years. When they’re little, parents always need to bring activities and things and kids love bags with their names on them. As they get older, they end up needing bags for sports, trips, etc.


I hope this one gift idea per year rule helps you as much as it has me, and I hope you read The Lazy Genius Way for more of Kendra’s life-changing ideas. Have an idea for a good gift to add to the list? Comment here!

More Ideas for Kids You’ll Love:

Party Favor Ideas that are Not Junk

Books that 6th Grade Boys Will Love to Read

Non-Candy Easter Egg Fillers

one gift per year rule