I have decided not to give our kids lots of presents.
My husband and I have long not given presents to each other to save money and to reduce clutter and stress. I want to reduce the quantity of presents on birthdays and Christmas.
For years, I said we would downsize Christmas and birthday present piles. Yet, I would weaken and buy stuff anyway.
Having four kids is expensive, and it’s hard to be fair and equal and equitable with different ages and interests.
And I have issues with stuff. I feel less than and so bought more to combat those feelings.
I loathe the expectations and inevitable disappointment.
We moved to Germany. We purged and sold loads of stuff before moving. I have no desire to re-clutter. We had little storage.
We purged again when we moved to Ohio.
I feel that having too much stuff is the root of discontent.
And I’m really tired of arguing about the cleaning up and the putting away.
So, again a great purge.
I’m being very intentional and proactive about what I purchase for our homeschool and for the kids to play with. Mostly, if we get something new, something old has to go.
I don’t really want underneath the Christmas tree to be empty or the birthday child to wake up with nothing to unwrap.
I just want those special days to be about more than stuff.
Because holidays should not be about stuff. Birthdays should celebrate the child. Thanksgiving should celebrate gratitude. Christmas should celebrate Jesus and love.
Celebrations should center on relationships.
I want to make memories with my kids and teach them the value of family.
I have lovely recollections of family gatherings, and since my kids live far from any extended family, I want to cultivate a loving home atmosphere with our little circle of six.
As with any worldly thing taken away, it should be replaced with a meaningful option.
Our goal is to be debt-free and Christmas is no exception.
When we lived in Germany, we traveled every Thanksgiving (Prague and Porto and Venice!) and Christmas (Rome!) and during birthday weeks. It was convenient and usually not very crowded, so we took advantage of these opportunities. It became a new tradition.
Now, we’re back in the States, in Ohio. And we have to reinvent our priorities again.
5 ways we cultivate relationships over stuff:
- Cooking and eating special meals together as a family, passing down fun recipes.
- Focusing on serving others instead of ourselves by donating our time and money.
- Attending religious services to worship, sing, celebrate, and fellowship.
- Creating new traditions for our family to promote togetherness, such as board game nights and movie nights, as well as nightly read alouds all year round.
- Making gratitude a lifestyle and teaching our kids how to be thankful for everything that comes from the Lord and content in all things.
Yes, this is difficult and I’m a work in progress!
We try to overcome the obstacles to being frugal or debt-free during holidays.
I participate or lead a Blue Christmas service.
We read lots of Christmas and holiday books.
For us, books and apps and travel are great presents. We can never have too many books! The kids love educational apps on their iPads, and as they grow in knowledge and understanding, they need more mature learning games to replace the old games they’ve outgrown.
I only buy clothes as needed or when I find a great deal and know it will be needed soon. We don’t have too much storage for handmedowns.
I’ve never seen kids so excited about socks in my life, y’all.
I’d rather make travel memories with my kids than buy stuff that gets stuffed in a dresser or collects dust on a shelf. We’re trying to be minimalist and I hate dusting.
Presents are not the focus of our celebrations.
Guide for gift-giving:
- Something they Want
- Something to Wear
- Something they Need
- Something to Read