That's how Santa rolls in this house!
A couple of years ago a really good friend of mine (Hi Emily) read about this idea in Readers Digest, I decided to give it a shot last year and it was a success! So much so that this year when the kids were ready to make their lists they came to me and asked exactly what are the four words for our list!
Each kid gets 4 presents: Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read
I feel like this concept has really brought gift giving and asking into perspective - I never hear after every cheesy toy commercial on TV - "I WANT THAT", I don't wander the stores not knowing what the kids really want or need. By having to "fit" their list into these four categories it really forces them truly think about what they are asking for. Now while it seems extremely structured and somewhat rigid -- there are plenty of ways to make this process work it basically just forces kids to narrow their list.
I always tell my kids that they may list more than one thing for each category but Santa will choose one! Also just because you list it does not guarantee that you get it - Santa always calls me and makes sure that I am OK with it!
Ed. note - This in no way makes Christmas any cheaper like I originally thought it would, but it does simplify and take away the stress.