Are your worried your kids or family members require too many Christmas presents?
I absolutely love the memories I have of Christmas! It was always such an amazing time of year as a child. I remember the excitement of waking up our parents to go see what Santa brought us, ripping open the wrapping paper, and opening our stockings to our heart’s content. As with most kids, it was my absolute favorite time of year. It was magical. My absolute favorite memory was my dad putting a bale of hay on the roof one year and waking up to see that Rudolph and his crew really did eat it!!! I mean, how cool is that?!
You know what I don’t remember about Christmas? Each and every gift I ever received, whether there were too many Christmas presents or not enough. Do I remember a few? Sure. However, it was the magic, the feeling of giving (and receiving) and the family gatherings. Those are the memories that are stuck in my head and still make me absolutely love that time of year, even as an adult.
What my parents hide well from me was the stress of Christmas. You see, we were not wealthy. In fact, I’m sure some years it was a miracle Santa made it to our house. My parents never let on though, even when we were older and wiser about how money and Christmas worked.
Too many Christmas presents?
Do your children get too many Christmas presents? How many gifts do our kids really need for Christmas? Are we bad parents if we give them too much? What about too little?
Honestly, I don’t know the right answer, but I do know I was probably spoiling our children unnecessarily in years past. Living a simpler, more minimalistic life has made Christmas a little easier and a little less stressful. It certainly isn’t as expensive!
Should you get your kids only 4 items?
You’ve seen the Pinterest posts and social media shares. Parents everywhere are giving their kids four items this Christmas:
- Something they need,
- Something they want,
- Something to wear, and
- Something to read.
While I really love the concept behind getting my kids only four items for Christmas, I admittedly struggle with this one. Why? I know I really want to avoid the excess of Christmases past. I mean, I preach minimalism and simple living through an entire blog!
I think I struggle with the four gifts rule because we live super minimalistic lives all year long. I buy my kids toys twice a year. They get presents at Christmas and then again on their birthdays. That is it. There are no summer gifts, good behavior gifts, gifts for big accomplishments. Is it so bad they get two or three toys they really want at Christmas? I don’t think so, not when you have so much other balance the entire rest of the year. And, believe it or not, there are benefits to kids when they have fewer toys!
Find your own balance
That’s just it though. You need balance. Don’t go buying your kids half of the toy section and every circled item in the toy catalog if you also shower them with gifts throughout the year. Even if you restrict your kids’ new toys throughout the year, you probably still don’t have to get them everything on the list. You see, kids will circle a billion and one things, but what they really love is the magic of Christmas.
I think my kids are just as excited about driving around the neighborhood every night leading up to Christmas to look at the Christmas lights as they are for actual Christmas morning. They also love candy canes dipped in hot chocolate, and they squeal with delight if I announce we are making cookies all day for teachers, neighbors, and friends. That is the magic of Christmas!
Give something homemade
I remember being a teenager and my parents going through a particularly tough time, financially and in their relationship. My dad built us a desk. It was all he could afford that year. I probably don’t have all the facts straight about what happened behind the scenes, but I know one thing. He made me something with his two hands, and I LOVED it! I loved that he took his time to make me something, as that was something he could give easily, even when money was tight.
Make something for your kids this holiday season as one of your gifts. You don’t have to be great seamstress or woodworker to make something wonderful. There are so many ideas out there. Check out these simple homemade gifts you can make for kids. Some of them are very easy to make.
My kids’ favorite gift they received this entire year? Babydoll blankets. My grandmother made them for their baby dolls from scraps her church was throwing away. She hated to see the waste, so she made something small. Y’all, my daughters have owned these blankets for over three months now, and they still sleep with them every single night. If you have young children, you know very few gifts make the cut every single night for months on end. These were gifts made from scraps but made with LOVE!
You don’t have to be the only crafty one this holiday season to make it a little more special. Get your kids involved too. Have them make something for a friend or a sibling. Teach them the pride that goes with making something with their own two hands, out of love, for someone they know will appreciate it.
Also, involve your children in giving to those in need. I have lived through the times of writing a check to my favorite charity around the holidays. While this is still nice to do, take action as well. If you can’t write a check, taking action is the best thing you can do. Volunteer at a favorite charity. See if you can bring the kids along with you. Go visit a nursing home or Children’s Hospital. Get creative!
Shop for a family in need and have your kids help pick out the gifts. My kids love shopping for other kids, knowing they are giving them a more magical Christmas. When you involve kids in the process of giving back at Christmas, you can remind them how fortunate they are to receive what we would consider too many Christmas presents.
Celebrate with experiences
If you feel like you give your kids too many Christmas presents, start shifting the focus from gifts to experiences. Talk to your kids about this shift as well, especially if they are older and notice things are changing around your homes and lives. Talking to your kids about living with less is very important. There are also many benefits to families that practice minimalism.
Even if you are not a minimalist, you can still practice a holiday season with less stuff. You can give thoughtful experiences or go ahead and experience them with your family. It doesn’t have to be all about the receiving. Make your focus about the season instead. We all say that’s what we want, but admit it, it is really easy to get caught up in who is getting what gift and finishing up all your Christmas shopping!
Don’t let too many Christmas presents define your Christmas
If you think you are faced with buying too many Christmas presents, stop and rethink how you want your Christmas season to look for you and your family. Do you really need to buy gifts for all those people on your list? Would a simple card and hug work? Do your kids really need every toy they circled in the magazine or the latest and greatest tech device? Most likely, no.
I know what it is like to want to give to everyone on your list exactly what they wanted. It is hard when you first transition to a simpler lifestyle. Sometimes the expectations of your family and those around you are used to Christmases of the past, full of excess and way too many Christmas presents. Don’t let that deter you. Choose the Christmas you want. Don’t let your past define your Christmas now.
Check out my Pinterest Boards for a Minimalist Christmas and Minimalist Gift Ideas!
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