Photo by scottfeldstein
With the holidays now behind us, I took some time to review how it went. This year was more relaxed, and in large part it was because of the attitude our family took toward “stuff.” Particularly, simplifying my child’s gifts went a long way. Here is what we did to make the holidays more sane:
Limit the Stuff
We make an effort to limit the amount of stuff my daughter gets. Before every gifting season (holidays, birthdays) we do a room cleanup and get rid of toys that are no longer played with. We also get rid of craft supplies that are no longer usable.
To limit the stuff coming in, we have requested that gifts be limited: small gifts, clothes or money. We did this very tactfully. Not everyone will agree, but 90% of the people who give gifts to my child follow the rules.
One of our mothers did not agree to the request, and seems to try to make up being hours away by smothering my daughter with gifts. Last year the box contained eight gifts. I reacted by going out and buying more, because I felt it was more important for my child to receive the bulk of the gifts from us. Needless to say, my daughter was overwhelmed, and I was cranky. Worst of all, I realized my daughter wasn’t keeping score; she didn’t know who gave what.
This year I changed my attitude. I decided that my level of gift-giving would not be dependent on anyone else. We gave three movies my daughter had requested. Santa complied with the one gift he had been asked for, and a few small toys in the stocking. My daughter was not overwhelmed and she is playing with what she received.
Spread Out Gift Opening
I always had to wait until Christmas morning to open any gifts. We have taken another approach in our house: my daughter can open gifts gradually. This allows her to fully enjoy each toy before moving on to the next new thing. So as the gifts came in from relatives, she was allowed to open them. She has played with more of her toys this year than in any other year.
This also has worked with our multiple holidays. We celebrate Yule in addition to Christmas, and this year the creative supplies were given at Yule, and Santa came as usual on Christmas. This also allowed my daughter to be creative and relaxed.
I won’t say that our holidays were stress-free this year. But they were definitely more relaxed than in past years, and I attribute a lot of that to how we handled gifts.