Mum-of-six Madeleine West shares her hard and fast rules for kids' Christmas presents.

If you thought your Christmas gift list was long, take a peek at Aussie actress Madeline West’s. Then promptly stop your complaining.

Why? Because the Neighbours and The Wrong Girl star is mum to six kids. Yes, SIX. Oh, and they’re all under 11.

This makes thinking of and buying presents for her children – with partner and Masterchef chef, Shannon Bennett – a task that’d send most of us into the foetal position.

To cope with said panic, West has come up with a few hard and fast rules to make sure a) the kids won’t cry when they open their presents, and b) their house won’t fill up with mountains of useless Christmas crap.

“Basically I don’t buy them any presents and little trinkets throughout the year. So when it comes to a birthday or Christmas it’s something to really look forward to and it’s exciting,” the 37-year-old told News Corp.

“I have a rule that I buy them one large gift that is something they really need, then two small peripheral gifts that fall in the sport or craft category. The last thing they need are little bits of rubbish that clutter up the house. And they definitely don’t get anything that needs batteries. I don’t need to be making a trip to the service station at 8pm to buy batteries.”

Listen: Speaking of useless Christmas presents, a teacher called up This Glorious Mess with some ‘feedback’ about the gifts she’s received from her students. (Post continues after audio…)


As for why this specific combination of gifts works, West explained it’s easy for kids to forget Christmas isn’t all about ripping open toys and counting their presents.

“If there are too many gifts they can get into the mode of just ripping paper. But if it’s a few considered gifts, they pay attention to what they are given and examine them closely,” she said.

“I also make specific requests to family and friends as to what to buy for the kids so that they get things they actually need, and it makes life easier for the person buying the gift, instead of them just wandering around a toy store and buying the latest Nerf gun.”

Another idea for clueless family members are IOUs, which West said is “so much more meaningful”. It also feels cheaper at the time, making the actual paying for the IOU future you’s problem.

While this advice is pretty practical, it could be too late for some prepared parents who did their Christmas shopping in July.

If that’s you, we guess it’s never too early to start thinking about next Christmas, right?

Listen: You can catch the full episode of This Glorious Mess below…