Tips for Minimizing Gift Overload this Christmas

Tips for Minimizing Gift Overload this Christmas‘Tis the season of giving, and when you’re a parent it also becomes a season of overflowing toy chests. Our kids seem to get gifts from all directions and sometimes it’s hard to know how to minimize the influx. Here are a few ideas to keep the deluge to a trickle.

Want, Need, Wear, Read: Basically each child gets four gifts: something they want, something they need, something for them to wear, and something for them to read. I love it because it sets a concrete boundary for gift purchases. Our family chose to use this strategy this year and it really helped me focus my gift planning and stay on budget. It also keeps excessive amounts of toys down because each child is only getting one or two actual toys.

Gift an Event: For older children, a gift of a special family outing might be a great alternative to toys or more stuff accumulating around the house. It could be museum passes, zoo passes, or a concert or show to attend.

Limit the Number of Gifts: For your immediate family, choose a number of gifts to give each child. Choosing two or three things per child instead of five or six could cut the stuff accumulation down dramatically.

You’re in Charge of Your House: My mantra with gifts from extended family is that though I can’t control what they give, I do get to decide what to do with that item once it enters my home. We have had gifts from grandparents in the past that have immediately gone to a thrift store or been returned because they don’t fit our parameters for suitable toys. I offer loose suggestions to grandparents if they ask, but if they choose to buy us junk or things that don’t fit the kind of things we want our kids to play with, I reserve the right to make that toy disappear after it comes home.

Hopefully these ideas help you find some ways to minimize the overflowing toy bins and keep your holidays low stress this year.

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and a couple rabbits. 

Tags: christmas, gifts, giving, holidays, toddlers

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