I love gifts! The right gift can warm my heart, leave me feeling slightly twitterpated and ignite giddiness for hours if not days. I love gifts so much that when my mom and step dad announced that they were no longer buying gifts for adults at Christmas time, I pretty much had a three year temper tantrum about it. There was no question that my feelings toward their new “tradition” were beyond grumpy.
Gifts are my love language. They fill me in on how well the giver knows me and being known well delights me.
What I don’t love is crap people give me out of obligation. These aren’t really gifts. There is very little thought that goes into this sort of present other than I need to get so and so something (or something else to go along with the something I already got them that doesn’t feel like enough).
I’ve heard rumors that these people are often grandparents and other family members looking to “love” on the kids through a bounty bounty of presents rather than a bounty of presence. (Not my kid’s grandparents. They’re really great gift givers!)
Before I give you some ideas for combating the mountain of toys that breed under Christmas trees every December I must warn you. You can not change anybody but yourself.
All of my suggestions might fall on deaf ears and you will be left to sort through the piles of plastic anyway, but at least you will know you tried.
I have a few ideas on how to keep Christmas crap out of your house when the holidays roll around again, but you need to start now. People take a long time to let go of old habits so giving them roughly 10 months to get the idea that you don’t want anymore Walmart clearance items from them will hopefully be sufficient.
Talk up your favorite Christmas gift.
December 25th was not that long ago so it totally wouldn’t seem kooky to gush about the best gift you (or your kiddos) received. If it was consumable (like tea, chocolate or wine) hint that you hope you get more next Christmas. (Or your birthday, anniversary, happy Wednesday, whenever).
Share your interests.
Are you excited about watercolor painting right now? Maybe you’re keen on cake decorating. Have you fallen head over heels in love with audiobooks? Tell the people in your life about it! Stuff gifts are not all bad, if the stuff adds value to your life. Help them fall in love with the idea of helping you live more abundantly.[bctt tweet=”Help them fall in love with the idea of helping you live more abundantly.”]
Ask a giver to partner with you.
Maybe your kids love to ski but a season’s pass is out of your budget. Or perhaps there is a robotics class your son is itching to take that you can’t quite afford on your own. Pitch the idea of going halfsies to a doting grandparent. Pooling their cash with you means they have less to spend on unwanted toys.
Give experience gifts yourself.
Humans often need to see something before they catch on to it. Be the experience gift pioneer in your family. I have a great resource for putting together a date in a box. It’s a gift that works for nearly any occasion and was a hit with my parents and my in laws.
Spell it out to the people who give your family gifts. tell them you are striving to make this stressful job of parenting less stressful and that will probably mean giving away a lot of the gifts they have given to maintain your sanity. This approach will probably make you a not so nice topic of conversation at the next big get together, so make sure to prepare yourself for that.
Do you have any tips for helping the people in your life give clutter free gifts? Leave your advice in a comment for me!
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