My kids are a little like the retail stores. They start thinking about Christmas just before Halloween. They daydream about the presents they will receive and plan the best things to ask Santa to bring.
I've always wanted my kids to see the magic of Christmas and dream those dreams, but I also wanted to try to keep the greed monster at least a little at bay. When M was a toddler I heard another parent explain that Santa brings her children only 3 gifts. She explained that the number three was arrived at because the wise men brought baby Jesus three gifts.
Three seemed like as good a number as any to me. So this is the number of gifts my kids ask Santa for each year. Maybe I'm a Grinch that I limit the number of things they are allowed to ask the big guy to bring, but it also makes them think more carefully about what they really want instead of simply asking for everything that looks even mildly interesting.
Because the kids only ask Santa to bring three things, Santa has (so far) been able to bring them all the items they request each year. They don't write their letters to Santa until they've carefully considered what they want to ask for and know once they've written the letters that they're committed to their decisions.
Santa still brings a few more gifts along with the requested items, and I've told them that Santa only brings one really big item per child because he has so many kids that he needs to bring presents to each year.
This has worked for our family so far. What do you do (if anything) to try to control the greed and consumerism of the holidays?