Christmas time is packed full of gift-giving and receiving. If you are a minimalist at heart, like myself, the idea of filling up your home with hundreds of unnecessary items kinda sends you into panic mode. I hate the idea of people wasting their money on items that will go unused, and I also have a strong dislike for clutter in my home. Ever since having a kid this has gone up and notch. As we get ready to go into our 3rd holiday season with a little one in tow, I’ve noticed that since her first Christmas the toys are getting bigger and even more of them each year. I am so thankful for every single person who has ever given generously to my daughter, but I found there are a few ways to deal with the toy-mania that is sure happen every year.
1. When People Ask, Be Specific
The worst mistake I’ve made at Christmas time since being a mom is not being honest and upfront about we we need/want. My daughters first year I kinda just shrugged my shoulders and said anything is fine. Which is was. I mean, we were super blessed to have been given anything at all. But without specifics we ended up with a lot of clothes that didn’t fit and toys that were not age appropriate. I’ve given myself a pass as she was just 8 months old and I didn’t even know what she needed. Fast forward to this year and I have a nice list of things she is interested and her specific sizes. Not only does this help us, it also helps the gift buyer as they don’t have to
2. Suggest Non-Toy Items
As much as I love watching my child open and play with her new toys, we can only store so much in our little home, and she doesn’t actually need 13 baby dolls. But she does need clothes, and shoes, and books, and even school supplies (the cute ones, of course). Christmas doesn’t have to be just about the toys, it can be a time to stock up on some everyday must-haves, too. We always had a healthy does of practical and not-so-practical gifts growing up. Don’t be afraid of suggesting a non-toy item when the grandparents start their holiday shopping.
3. Ask For A Contribution To A Larger Item
Sometimes the one big item we want to get for our kiddos is just a tiny bit out of price range for just Mom and Dad, but we know this is all they really need or want. Why not ask Grammie and Papa to pitch in a little to make their Christmas wish come true?
4. Suggest “Activities” Instead
A good friend of mine threw a birthday party for her one year old daughter, and at that time they had decided that what would be most fun for her and their family was Disneyland Passes (perks of living in Southern California). It’s easy to pick up some new toys but the things our children will really remember once their grown is the experiences we have as a family. Take time to invest in those instead. Now, it does’t have to be a Disney pass. It could just be a ticket to the local zoo or aquarium, or even the music lessons they’ve been dying to start.
5. Don’t Open Everything
I don’t mean stopping your kids from frantically ripping open the wrapping paper. But once all those lovely gifts have been unwrapped leave some in the box, or tuck some away out of sight. It’s likely they will have so many, they wont event notice if a couple are missing. Pull those toys out in a few weeks or months when the excitement has worn off and it will be like Christmas all over again. You can also save them and re-gift for their own birthdays or for a friend. They probably won’t even remember they got it in the first place! Plus, this way all the toys get a good amount of use.