Minimalist Christmas Wannabe

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in stuff? Especially toys?

I’ve always done my best to keep the amount of stuff in our house to a minimum, but it never seems like enough. Christmas makes things particularly complicated. You see, my five year old daughter is an only child. I have one brother who has no children. My husband is an only child. Both of our parents are divorced (Though my mom and his dad have remarried). So, as you can imagine, my daughter gets LOTS of gifts. After her first Christmas, I wished I had bought stock in the company that makes Amazon’s gift wrapping.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful that my daughter is surrounded by so much love.

But when that love is translated into a house full of stuff, it can do more harm than good. Often times, she has so many choices that she can’t decide what to play with. She quickly loses interest in toys. She expects to get gifts every time we leave the house when we visit family. Oh, and my house is running out of room for all of it. And while I purge as often as possible, it’s hard to keep up. I had to come up with a better plan.

Enter Amazon wish lists.

I’ve been using Amazon wish lists to help family with gift ideas since my daughter was born. But this year I had to scale the list way back. I decided to adopt the 4 gift plan:

  1. Something you Want
  2. Something you Need
  3. Something to Wear
  4. Something to Read

I also added a fifth category that I call “consumables” which included things like movie tickets, Knock Knock Museum memberships, and Chick Fil A gift cards, and her college savings account.

What I’m about to say may sound extreme to many (unless you know me and know that I’m a bit of a control freak). I divided the wish list into 5 individual lists (one for each category). In the past, I added a wide variety of options so that everyone had plenty of choices. But it just meant that we ended up with stuff for stuff’s sake. This year, I made very intentional choices for each category.

I asked that everyone buy no more than one gift from each category.

Luckily, most of our family respects our parenting choices (and my neurosis). I’m hoping that it will be a win-win-win for Christmas. Our family members might save a little money, my house may not burst at the seams, and my daughter might end up with gifts that she will cherish for years to come (or at least until next Christmas).

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