Halloween is over. Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, which means that Christmas is right around the corner. We also have two family birthdays – one right before Christmas and one soon after New Years. It always feels like a whirlwind.
How will we celebrate Christmas this year in light of a desire to keep clutter to a minimum and experiences and relationships as the focus? How can we simplify the holidays?
Growing up, birthdays and Christmas were the main times that we received gifts. When I was decluttering our photos it was fun to see photos of us as children opening gifts on Christmas morning. There were usually clothes, books, and some kind of toy. We always had the Lifesavers book that they sell at Christmas time in our stocking. There was usually a fire in the fireplace and a big Christmas turkey. I still have the Winnie the Pooh book series that I received as a gift one Christmas.
My husband and I as a general rule only give gifts to the children on their birthdays and at Christmas as well. This means there is a lot of build up to these two special occasions for the kids and also for me (the main gift purchaser). They have in the past kept an Amazon wish list, putting things on there that strikes their fancy. I’ve learned, however, that the things that strike their fancy don’t usually last in keeping their attention when they actually receive them.
There’s a delicate balance that we haven’t quite reached yet in balancing out the kids’ desires and parents’ wisdom when it comes to gift giving. I’m definitely guilty of being swayed by my sons’ pleading and persuasive arguments…which is how we got the XBox last Christmas.How are you planning on simplifying the holidays this year? Reflections on what has worked in… Click To Tweet
How We Simplify the Holidays
One way that we keep Christmas simple on my side of the family, is to only give gifts to the children. We’ve done this for years now. As the children get older, however, and prefer gift cards and money over actual gifts, the joy of opening gifts on Christmas morning is fading. This is also another reason that I would love to move more towards shared experiences as the bulk of the holiday celebrations.
My husband’s side of the family has always done two separate Pollyannas – one for the adults and one for the children. Each adult gets one gift from another adult, and each child gets one gift from another cousin. It’s another way to keep Christmas simple and the focus on Christ and our relationships. Last year the Pollyanna was made optional. Another year we shared “gifts/talents” with one another instead of exchanging presents.
In the weeks leading up to the Holidays, I plan on sharing ideas about how we can keep the Holidays simple, less stressful, and clutter free. I’m eager to hear from you as well!
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What steps have you taken to simplify the Holidays?
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