I'm not really going to go into the importance of teaching the kids to give instead of wanting to get…or about the importance of keeping our eyes on the reason we celebrate Christmas. Those are amazing and essential things about this season and I absolutely want to do many things to help the kids get both of these things. But…I really needed to set up some good boundaries for the presents department.
There were a couple things that led up to this decision. First off, it wasn't really a hard one, this year has been a bit different for us financially. My husband has been let go from two different jobs. God has totally provided…but it's not the same amount we were used to last year. This last time, he was laid off at the end of November. Thankfully, God has provided for us, but for a little bit, I was like, oh geez, what will do for Christmas?? It was in these moments that I came up with a few cheap-to-free ideas for presents (see no. 3- coupon book :)).
The next thing that made it an easy choice was us moving. We only moved up the road, so we didn't really have to pack a lot. I made the decision to de-clutter as we were moving and I told the kids they could only bring nerf guns, hockey equipment and of course….LEGOS, and oh, Clara was allowed to bring two of her gazillion tubs filled with her "treasures" aka, lots of little toys that are totally random. But everything else got left behind in storage.
And an amazing thing has happened. We've been about three weeks now without all those toys- the ones I was hollering at the kids every day to pick up….and we're doing JUST fine. So, this got me REALLY thinking about Christmas. I don't want to get the kids toys that they love for one day and then sit in a tub only to be dumped out and then put back in. I want to get them things they LOVE and will use a lot.
Here are a few of things I am implementing this year-
1. The kids can ask for two toys. One will be coming from Santa and from us (mom and dad). I explained that Santa discusses with mom and dad and agrees to a Christmas plan. LOL. (and I know the boys- they will all ask for at least 1 LEGO thing, and I'm fine with that. They still play with Legos everyday.)
2. I would like to get the kids each a CD to listen to. They love these and will definitely use them more than once. (Anne of Green Gables, Squire and the Scroll with CD, and a Jonathan Park set are my current choices). (on a side note, if you have any CD's your kids love…PLEASE leave me a comment!)
3. Coupon book…..these are the ideas I came up with that are very inexpensive or free-
The kids have been asking to go get their own library cards :).
Come on, what kid doesn't love ANY candy you want! (within reason of course)
So…I hope they like this. And, I hope they don't become instantly addicted, like me.
4. Giving an experience. I saw this in a magazine article and thought it was brilliant. A family started the tradition of giving an experience. They suggested lessons, trips, shows, plays, concerts, museum tickets, etc. I thought this was awesome. (I don't actually know if we'll do this one or not, but I have some ideas and I just thought it was a great idea for something that wouldn't take up space.)
5. Something to read- books are timeless and you can usually find dirt cheap ones at bargain stores or used book stores.
6. Something to wear. I gave the kids an opportunity to ask for something that they've been wanting clothes wise, but maybe isn't an essential. My oldest son asked for a raincoat and the other two boys wanted a item from their hockey club.
So that's it. That's my plan for this year. I wanted to give a quick shout out to my friend Robin at Neat Nest organizing. She has great articles on ideas for a clutter-free Christmas and they've been a help to me! You can find her here- http://www.neatnestorganizing.com/reduce-christmas-clutter-with-this-gift-giving-guide/. She also, along with this article, has a few more about clutter-free ideas to give teachers, so check those out too!
If you have any ideas for simplifying Christmas- LET ME KNOW! Haha. This is a work in progress and I'm really looking for ideas.