Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fighting Consumerism During the Holidays

I am pretty adamant that I don't want to raise spoiled kiddos. I think getting 20+ presents during the holidays is pretty insane. What better way to kill an imagination than to have everything possible in front of their eyes- no pretend play involved. We limit gift giving to make sure that giving is the reason for the season not getting.

Here are some tips that we use if you are so inclined.

1. Jesus got three presents. Maybe you don't need 10. Generally we give three. Something to play with, something necessary, and then something to learn from. I do allow for one Santa present. The focus is on presents that will last- generally wooden toys that inspire creative play.

2. Don't buy toys every time you visit the grocery/general goods store. There are a bunch of times each year that Sammy is given presents. His birthday, grandparents coming to town, Easter, Valentine's Day... Ect. It seems like gifts are given a lot more for our kids than they were when we were growing up. If your child gets a toy each time they leave the house the excitement of wanting something and then receiving it is gone. Also it teaches delayed gratification. Sometimes wanting something is more fun than actually having that item.

3. Stick a couple of things away for later in the year. If the relatives give a nice toy but it is getting lost in the crowd- put it away and bring it out on a rainy day or when you hear the I'm bored whine. That present gets the limelight that day and it helps them use what they've been given.

4. Pump your kiddos up about giving. Involve them in the process of selecting presents for their parent, their sibling, grandparents, ect... Give them an opportunity to see how great it feels to have someone unwrap something you've gifted them. This year we've adopted a child to bless and shopping for that child will be great.

5. Have an activity at Christmas that does not involve playing with toys. Baking and decorating sugar cookies, a gingerbread house, or an arts and craft activity that they can delve into to give their mind a break from the "Oh my goodness TOYSSSS'' chaos that always comes with opening presents. Show them that Christmas is not about things but people and spending time together.

6. Finally set a good example. Say Thank You. Work on Thank you notes together. Take a walk. Sammy and I are going to do some really nice Yoga Gratitude Sessions together where we talk about how it feels to be with family during special times.

7. Scale back on the amount of relatives you exchange gifts with. Nothing is worse than an hour plus of everyone opening things. I don't exchange with my sister. I think she is wonderful but it is easier to just buy for the kiddos and not worry about wrapping another thing.
Hope this helps! I like to scale it back during Christmas because spending thousands can be really stressful. No one should go into debt to celebrate!

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