Tis the season for overabundance! Haha, I kid, but it seriously feels like “more is more” these days and I don’t love it. I wrote about it in my post on Friday, but while we’ll have bigger rooms in the new house, we’ll actually have less storage, so we’re trying to get rid of clutter and have less “stuff.” This segues nicely into our Christmas gift giving philosophy with Alexander- which is minimalism.
Each Christmas, Alexander gets one big present from Mommy and Daddy and a stocking. We know our family (especially grandparents), love to give gifts- which is great, but then if we get him several gifts in addition to theirs, we feel like it’s toy overload in our house. So every year we have given him one big gift and that’s it. The price of the item varies from year to year. Last year it was an indoor bounce house (more for my sanity during the winter months when it’s too cold to play outside) so that he could burn energy with friends. (It has been a FANTASTIC gift, so if you see one on sale, grab it! We picked the one with the roof so when we move it outside, they have some protection from the sun.) This year he’s getting this scooter. As you can see the price difference varies significantly because it’s more about the actual gift. We’ve had countless playdates with friends in the bounce house, and we knew that it was going to be an investment. I wanted to encourage more outside play at the new house, so the scooter was the best option.
We’ve also noticed that he will pick one gift to play with at grandparent’s homes on Christmas and the rest we put in a closet and bring them out later in the year. We’ve used them for prizes to reward a specific behavior, or even just when he (and me) are having a rough day to ease the transition for when daddy comes home from work. (Is it just me or do some afternoons draaaaaaaag on for what seems like 10 hours??) For example, last year Ian’s parents got him this awesome tool bench, but he was so obsessed with the fire truck toy, we just put the tool bench in our storage room and brought it out in April. Alexander had completely forgotten about it and was super pumped about his “new” toy. We even hide half the toys he has now and rotate those back in periodically so they’re fresh and fun. (I take no credit, my awesome mom friends gave me these tips.)
I know it seems silly for a person that literally shops for a living to talk about minimalism, but I give a large amount of what I get away so it’s not all staying in my house. Also, in the world of materialism, as a Christian, I fight the battle with “stuff” competing with my faith every day to make sure it doesn’t become a problem. We want to raise our son to appreciate what he has and take care of it (ie, not just break things and be rough with them), but not get caught up in the trappings of having “all the things.”
As we get older the stuff may transition to experiences/memberships/etc., but for now, this is what we do. If you’ve ever watched the first Harry Potter- there is a scene where his cousin is counting all of his birthday presents and complains that there are fewer than the previous year. Ugh. We’re trying to do what we can now while he’s young before he’s at school with other kids and the comparison game begins. Teaching him to be thankful with less will always be part of our parenting style, and I love it because it constantly reminds me to do the same. (And I can always use the reminder.) 😉