If you’ve been a reader here for a few months, you know that I’ve really been working hard at decluttering our overstuffed home and being more careful about keeping only items that we really use/need/love. I would not in a million years claim to be a minimalist, but I’m definitely making huge strides in becoming less of a consumer. Enough so, that the looming holidays and knowing we’ll be adding some new (and likely unnecessary items) has kind of been stressing me out.
One one hand, my kids are still in the prime years of believing in Christmas and Santa and I don’t think it will be lasting much longer for the older two. I want to embrace these ‘magic’ years while we have them…browsing toy catalogs and circling what they want, writing letters, the anticipation, the holiday movies, searching for our Elf on the Shelf (Stitch), and the excitement of Christmas morning and finding surprises under the tree.
On the other hand, I don’t want to buy my kids things just for the sake of having items under the tree. I don’t want them to think that ‘stuff’ is the best part of the season. I don’t want them to believe in quantity over quality. I don’t want to end up with a bunch of junk toys that have been played with once before being cast aside for the next toy.
Ideas for the Kids
It’s an interesting balance and it’s one I’ve been struggling with the past few weeks as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads started creeping in and I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with all of it. I realized I needed a plan and a way to stay mindful of my purchases. I have decided to adopt the “Something They Want, Something They Need, Something They Wear, Something They Read“ idea of gift-giving this year. This will help keep my shopping focused so I’m not buying a few items here and and a few items there without realizing how much it’s adding up. It also will be a great balance of fun and function.
As a family we also try to include a number of “experience” gifts – dance class, passes to the ninja warrior gym, lift tickets, etc. I love that it encourages us to try new things and do family activities. It also helps us budget in the extracurricular activities (which really adds up with four kids) by using some of our Christmas money throughout the year.
We are also going to embrace the season more by taking drives to look at lights in our PJ’s with hot cocoa. We’ll walk around the neighborhood to look at decorations. We’ll adopt a family to buy gifts and food for. And, we’ll spend a day clearing out toys that we no longer need, but that someone else could enjoy.
Last year we started a sibling secret Santa, which we will also continue this year. We put all of the kids’ names into a hat and they each secretly drew a name that they will shop and buy a gift for. Then, on Christmas morning, they each present their gift to the sibling. I think that was one of the highlights of last Christmas, so I cannot wait to continue this new tradition.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting pretty new things all wrapped up 🙂 Here are a few of my favorite jewelry finds that perfect for every day wear and are unique pieces that make a subtle statement. Plus, they are all small businesses run by amazing women!
I adore this ring set (and it’s only $30). I do not have any Native Clutter pieces, but I’ve been admiring them on Instagram for a while. The pieces are unique, very reasonably priced, and responsibly made right here in Colorado.
Nickel and Suede
The new starter sets are a perfect assortment of colors and styles in this lightweight, leather earrings. I got a few pair last year that I loved so much I bought a pair for my mom. They are so easy to wear and add a fun statement to any outfit.
Teeny Tiny NY earring set.
I recently discovered all of my earring holes from my teens were still open, so I bought two of these tiny gold sets and I LOVE them! I have worn them daily for a couple of months (even to sleep) and have had no issues with irritation and they still look great.
Gift cards often get a bad reputation of not being a ‘thoughtful’ gift, but it totally can be. Recognizing that someone is trying to be mindful of purchases and clutter and giving them a gift to use on something they NEED or LOVE (and on their own time frame) is a thoughtful way to honor where they’re at. Shops I’d love gift cards to: Brass Clothing (for beautifully made classics), Everlane (the go to for ethically made fashion) , Nordstrom (tons of made in USA options) , Levi’s (hello, denim!) , Etsy (the widest possible range of gifts), Lotta From Stockholm (for a pair of fun, new clogs)
Nisolo 5 for 5 club. This is a gift that just keeps giving. It’s a $500 investment up front, but that buys you two pair of shoes every year for the next five years (that’s $50/pair people!!). My husband and I decided to split this gift and we will each get one pair per year (he already got these and LOVES them). It surprised even me that I was willing to go for this big upfront cost, but in the long run it is a wonderful deal on some beautiful, responsibly made shoes. It’s also a great exercise in patience and making thoughtful wardrobe additions.
If you’re like us, getting out regularly for date nights is a challenge (whether it’s because of coordinating schedules, finding babysitters, or paying for a night out). Last year my friend, Kari, shared this idea and I loved it! Instead of purchasing gifts for one another, buy gift cards to restaurants, clubs, or activities around town. Put each gift card in a blank envelope and mix them all up. Randomly write a month (or however often you’ll have a date night) on each envelope. When the time arrives, open the envelope to see what you’ll be doing on your date. I love that it prioritizes time for your relationship, minimizes the ‘stuff’ gifts, and helps with the cost and planning of date nights.
As if it were planned, these two posts popped into my Facebook feed:
- Robin (at Simplify & Pursue) shares some ways to declutter (not just things) before the holidays. This was a great reminder to keep it simple when you know the nature of the season is going to bring on some ‘clutter’.
- Here is a great reminder from Joshua Becker (at Becoming Minimalist) about the things that do NOT make a perfect holiday (yet, they seem to be the things that often get the most attention).