You know what stresses me out more than anything? STUFF. JUNK. CLUTTER. Whatever you want to call it. Why do I love minimalism? Simple, it helps me from not having a mental breakdown. From July to December our family celebrates all three kids birthdays + Christmas – can you say hello, stuff!
Let me take a step back, I don’t hate all stuff. I hate too much stuff. I hate stuff that gets played with for a week + then becomes nothing more than a random toy laying on the floor. We live in a small space + I enjoy keeping my space tidy. It makes me a better mom + therefore makes my kids happier.
So, how do we survive the holidays + gift giving? The following 6 tips help us:
1. Non-toy gifts. I’m not a scrooge. I want my kids to have great birthdays + Christmas’, but I also don’t want them thinking all that holidays are are the next excuse for more toys. This year we took my 3 year old to the zoo + spent money on a photo shoot for our daughter’s first birthday. We love finding ways to give joy outside of toys! Memberships or experience gifts are a favorite for a minimalist! This year my husband and I are looking into opening college funds for our kids – a gift we hope will provide great value to them later in life.
2. Pre-holiday purge! When we know we will have an influx of toys, we use that as an opportunity to take stock of what we have. What toys are played with all the time? Keep! What toys are broken or missing pieces? Trash. What toys did the kids just not fall in love with? Donate to someone who will get more value out of it!
3. Be honest about expectations. I probably drive my parents crazy, but I think it’s important to be honest about what we would like to have in our home or given to our kids. I try to provide lots of quality ideas that I know will be well-loved – or what I THINK will be well loved because with kids you just never know. It’s also a good time to ask for things the kids need – new clothes, art supplies, ect.
4. Be grateful. Just because I may not love getting tons of new toys to sort through + organize into our toy rotation, I’m very grateful we have so many people who love our children + want to spoil them with gifts. It’s the thought behind the gift that matters more than the gift itself. The holidays are a wonderful time to teach our children the gift of gratitude!
5. Just because someone gave it to you doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. Again, sorry family – but it’s true. People get joy out of giving gifts, but once the gift is given it becomes a part of our everyday life. If it’s not providing us joy I think it’s perfectly find to pass it along to someone who will truly get joy from it. If a gift provides joy for years – great. If it provides joy for a few weeks – that’s fine too!
6. Create fun traditions! When I think back on my childhood I don’t often think of what things I accumulated over the years. I think of visiting my grandparents + doing crossword puzzles with my grandfather. I think of decorating the Christmas tree. I mentioned in my last blog post (here) how much fun the holidays are as a parent + how much I love the traditions we are creating with our children. I hope that my children look back with the same fondness of the holidays that I do. I hope that those feelings aren’t rooted in gifts, but in family, laughter, + love.
I hope these tips help you this holiday season. Feel free to leave your own tips, minimalist gift (or non-gift) ideas, or favorite holiday traditions in the comment section!