Don't Get Buried Under Toys this Christmas - TT#13

As we try to live a frugal and simple life style, we are trying to instill the same values in our children. Part of that life style involves not accumulating mountains of stuff. When you have children, mountains of toys; gund, Tonka, Barbie, and more, can be expected this holiday season. How do we teach our children to appreciate the simple things, and not focus on the material things when we are constantly bombarding them with stuff?

I don't want to be a scrooge. I want my children to enjoy opening their presents, and appreciate the presents they get. Frankly, when it come to Christmas presents, I think less is more. How many times have you watched children atack their mountain of gifts. They rip open one present, throw it aside, and move onto the next. I know mine do it. Then they don't even remember what they got or who gave it to them. The opening doesn't seem to be about what is actually in the boxes, but about how many boxes they can get through. A few well thought out gifts let them enjoy the process and appreciate the items in the boxes.

Most of our kids' already have more toys than they really need. It is fun to get a few new ones, but when you are buying presents, and other family and friends are also buying presents, well it just gets to be too much. Soon we are all buried in toys.

Here are some ideas to help you keep it simpler this year, and limit the amount of toys.

1. Declutter the toys now.
Make room for what is coming.

2. Start by limiting yourself.
Set yourself a limit, either in dollars or quantity of toys, you will buy for your children. To see the system we use please refer to Four for Christmas.

3. Talk to others about your wishes to keep things simple.
This can be really sticky. Approach with caution and with out self righteousness in your voice. Some people may be relieved that you don't expect them to buy your children a load of presents. Others though may not be so receptive. Only you can decide how much you want to push the issue, and if it is worth hard feelings with your family or friends.

4. If they still want to buy, try to redirect the purchases to more useful things.
Even if people don't agree with your desire to limit the number of gifts, they do want to give gifts that are appreciated.

Here are some ideas to suggest to your friends and family as gifts, that will help limit the clutter and piles of toys.

5. Things they need.
Clothing, shoes, and the like.

6. Decorations for their rooms.
The kids appreciate making their room fun. We've asked for curtains, sheets, and bath room accessories.

7. Lessons
Swimming, dance, soccer, music, or whatever your kid is into. Maybe as a present for you the giver could provide the transportation too!:)

8. One large item.
Instead of buying lots of little things give the children one that will wow them. If you have multiple children, you can ask for something they all will use, like a swing set.

9. Time with a special person.
A gift certificate for one on one time, or even lunch out and a movie.

10. Money for the college funds.

11. Donations to a good cause.
If your children are involved with you in a charity, they may appreciate having a donation made in their name, or maybe sponsoring a child through an organization like Compassion.

12. Art supplies.
These are useful, and they will get used up instead of cluttering the house for years to come.

13. Outside toys.
At least you can get the kids out of the house for awhile and store the toys in the garage!

If you have little children implementing this type of plan is easy. If your children are older and used to a mountain of gifts under the tree, it isn't going to be so easy. I want my children to enjoy their Christmas, but I don't want them to think that it is about how many toys you get. When the amount of gifts is overwhelming, none of the gifts are appreciated as much as they should be. Simple is just better.

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Don't Get Buried Under Toys this Christmas - TT#13 + Thursday 13