Stacy - posted on 10/26/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )
I would love to hear your ideas and stories about Christmas shopping. I am constantly asked by others "how do you do it?" during the holiday season. I personally have my thoughts and ideas, but would love to hear from others. Change can be good and I love to hear how creative others are.
Here are a couple ideas.
When I am downsizing rooms (clearing out toys that kids have outgrown), I put aside a couple toys that are clean and in good condition. I put these toys in a box that I keep in storage to use for future Christmas gifts for the little ones. My one and two year old will not remember that there six year old brother had the "same toy" and if they do.... being able to touch the "once forbidden toy" will be exciting and not disappointing.
Being a large family, people often feel the need to give me there hand-me downs and used stuff. (I never complain-there is some good stuff in those bags! hehe) Often I get brand new toys or clothing. (those items- if not needed at the moment go into the gift box as well).
2. Keep it simple
We have had our "obnoxiously" huge Christmas mornings. And we have had our "just enough" Christmas mornings. I can honestly tell you, for our family, less is more! With less mess, less pieces to put together and more time to really figure the new toy out... Christmas is more enjoyable for everyone! My husband and I realized that getting socks and underwear are not really the highlights of any child's Christmas experience. So, why waste our money and time wrapping them just to "fill under the tree". And NOT every child needs underwear at that time. I would buy one package of socks and underwear for each child (to keep it even)... this was a waste of money for the child that did not need them. The same went for clothing. We buy clothes when they need them, not as gifts. Maybe a special item they requested... but basics are not put under the tree.
What is left? If there are no socks, underwear, jeans or shoes... what is there? Well, 1-2 toys they will really enjoy. And a couple new board games for the family can use together.
Lets do a quick math lesson- 7 children. (each get 2 gifts from parents, 1 from each g-parent (we have three sets)). One family friend buys them each a gift for Christmas. Then at there birthday, they get one gift from parents, one from g-parents., an average of five more from friends at a small bday party. Easter, each child gets 1-2 small gift items from parents and maybe a relative gives one more small item. That means during a typical year, there is 112 new toys coming into this household. Wow... that is why...less is more! I do give them stocking stuffers above the two gifts.
3. Encourage them to give to others.
Even the youngest get into this part of the holiday. They love to buy small items (dollar tree) or give one of their toys to the other sibling. This really has been a fun part of our morning. Some fond memories: my son who was 13 at the time being polite when he recieve a view finder from his brother. (his old one, with a small bag of used reals to go with it) or that same son getting a baby stroller from one of his sisters. (that gift was re-gifted at a another sisters birthday- and the recipient was VERY happy that time around).
Hope you enjoyed some of my ideas... would love to hear yours.