Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Simple Gift Giving

I love keeping gift giving simple and minimal.  I think having fewer gifts helps us focus on other more important things, makes us more appreciative of the things we receive, and helps keep our home from being overrun with clutter!  I also prefer gifts that are useful, so as not to burden others with things they don't need.

I love that since our kids are young, we have been able to establish simple gift giving from the very beginning, rather than having to realize several years from now that we need to cut back.  Since our kids are so young, they are so easy to satisfy, and they are really very happy with only a few things.  I have often seen kids quickly overwhelmed by too many gifts, when only a few would have been perfect.  I do really love toys, and get especially excited by all the wood, natural, and open-ended toys that are available and am often tempted to want more than we need.  Thankfully, my desire to keep things simple, and the fact that we have a small home, keep me in check!

With all that in mind, here's what we do in regards to gift giving in our family:

- Everyone gets a Christmas Eve gift, usually a new pair of pajamas, although we have previously done a "family" gift of a movie or something instead.  I'm thinking about possibly doing both this year, since I'm making pajamas for the kids, but I'd also love to get another "What's in the Bible" DVD.   We'll see.
- We always do stockings, usually with around 6-8 small gifts, a combination of useful and fun gifts.  I try to avoid "junk" toys, but try to keep gifts to an average of a couple dollars each.  This year I'm doing a number of handmade things, including small crocheted animals, playsilks, and candy bracelets.
- Because the kids are so small, so far we have only done one large combined gift for the kids.  A couple of years ago we made them a kid-sized kitchen, last year they got a doll bed, and this year we're giving them a nice wooden truck.  This will probably change as they get older, but we'll probably still stick to one gift per child.

- We do a family tradition called "birthday bags", which are basically like Christmas stockings.  In the bag they get around 6 small gifts, again, a combination of useful and fun things averaging a couple dollars each.  In Benjamin's birthday bag, he received toothbrushes, candy, and three felt masks that I made.
- In addition to the birthday bag, we give one large gift.  Again, because the kids are so little, many years we have given useful gifts, such as a potty chair or a booster seat.  Little kids are happy with anything, and they receive enough fun stuff in their birthday bag that they are satisfied.  Obviously, this will change as they get older; in fact, Benjamin's large gift this year, now that he's four, was all fun - a large stuffed dinosaur tail!

Benjamin's dinosaur tail - made from this tutorial.  He absolutely loves it!

These fun superhero masks were made from this tutorial.
Lest some should think that our kids are deprived and have hardly any toys, let me assure you that we have a large extended family that is very generous and they have LOTS of awesome toys!  That is part of the reason we keep things so simple in our family - because they get many gifts and simply don't need much more.  Besides, they are always happy with what they get from us, so why do more?  If a little satisfies, more is just unnecessary.

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