Every year it’s the same dilemma. What do we get them for Christmas? It seems that we spend so much time and money on Christmas for our kids to pick out one thing to play with and then proceed to play with only that thing… forever. Until I get fed up with all the stuff laying around and decide all toys need to be sold or donated. All of a sudden the kids love whatever I’m tossing out.
It was about a year ago a friend of mine introduced me to the concept of minimalism. I joined a small online group of friends and over the course of a month we all got rid of so much excess stuff (aka junk we didn’t need or didn’t use). For us this journey has been more about simplifying and learning how to think about the items we bring into our house. Not to buy just to buy. Not to keep things just in case. To love people more than things.
As Christmas approached, my husband and I knew we wanted to really focus on the true reason of Christmas. We have always wanted our children to understand that while its fun to exchange and receive gifts, on this day we celebrate the biggest gift ever. The gift of a savior! How were we to go about simplifying things and magnifying Christ? What will that look like for our family?
Of course we wanted our kids to have presents under the tree the next morning (We aren’t total monsters). We just didn’t want them to be meaningless trinkets that would get tossed aside in minutes or things that would break in 5 seconds just so we could have more presents under that tree. Sometimes less really is more.
I came across a great idea and we decided to implement it. It was a perfect guide and we will continue to use it!
- Something to wear.
- Something they want.
- Something to read.
- Something they need.
- Something to share
The original list I saw only had four but we added a 5th. Something to share. Every year we try to add a new board or card game we can all play as a family. Maybe even a family trip or anything that can be enjoyed by all. As for the other four, that looks different for each child. Overall for us it was perfect. We didn’t break the bank. This gave us some order and a way to decide WHAT to get them. Clean up was way easier too! They weren’t overwhelmed with choices and they really loved what they received.
I LOVE Christmas. I love to see how peoples attitude changes around this time of year. Our hearts seem to soften as we think of others. It’s not even thanksgiving and I’m itching to get my tree up! We have our traditions like spending time with family and friends, we go to our Christmas Eve service, we love to drive around looking at all the lights, we make cookies to give and to eat, and play Christmas music (OK OK I do that sporadically throughout the year anyway). We love seeing our kid’s faces light up with joy when they see the gifts under the tree. We love the joy they get when they see they received something they’ve been asking for. We love receiving Christmas cards in the mail.
Our journey to simplify Christmas isn’t about not giving less, its not about avoiding the holidays, or becoming a scrooge. For us simplifying Christmas is about focusing on what was important to us. Jesus and people. We love giving and receiving gifts (I mean come on who doesn’t!). We want to be joyful givers and love the people more than we love the gifts. We want our children to know it is better to give than it is to receive. Above all, in the midst of all the giving and receiving we pray we don’t forget the biggest gift of all. The gift of a Savior.