I have been struggling to find my joy the last few Christmases. Everywhere I turn I am just surrounded by stuff and all I see in our future is more stuff piling into our house. My kids get so many presents between all the holiday gatherings, and honestly, maybe 20 percent of them get played with. It gives me anxiety. And the last thing the holidays need is more anxiety. AmIRight??
This year when I asked my kids what they wanted for Christmas, Silas couldn’t even come up with anything. Hannah listed off a few random things, and Lily said she just wanted two things. I would like to think that is a result of our efforts to try to get our kids to be less consumed with things, but I think it is also because they just have too much. This just makes me sad.
Last year, we really changed the way we approached Christmas and it truly made a difference in my attitude, in my kid’s gratitude and in the general enjoyment of Christmas in our house. We limited our presents and made each gift very intentional. I know this idea isn’t revolutionary or invented by me, but I hadn’t heard of it before last year and it was a total game changer.
At Christmas, each of our children gets four gifts under the tree. Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. We call it “the four gifts of Christmas.”
Four presents for each kid might still seem like a lot to some, but really the “want” gift is the main one and the others are much smaller. (Although, as Lily nears the teen years, her wants and clothing gifts seem to be overlapping. I could not have been prouder that one of the two things she wanted for Christmas was a leather moto jacket #proudtears).
Santa brings stockings. We have asked the grandparents to all significantly cut back and/or get “experience gifts” rather than presents. And we are doing several things to make sure we focus on others throughout the holiday season. Suddenly I can breathe again.
How does your family simplify gift giving?