Are you striving for a more minimalist Christmas this year, but don’t know where to begin? It’s not about eliminating gifts, but rather being intentional about what we buy and give to our family. Most people know deep down that stuff won’t make us truly happy. But somehow during the rush of shopping season we can get sucked into purchasing more than we need.
Here 5 ideas for moving towards a more minimalist experience of gift-giving:
1. Set an expectation around Christmas gifts.
Start by setting a guideline for the number of gifts. What this really does is set an expectation within your family so that everyone knows what will happen. Our consumerist society would make us believe that setting limits somehow deprives us or will make us sad. However, setting limits can teach your kids to appreciate and ask for what they really want, and also learn to find satisfaction and contentment rather than always wanting more.
Think about it, discuss it, and find a balance that works for your family. For example, we’ve started the tradition of 3 gifts under the tree for each person. The kids also receive gifts from family and friends, and we each have a stocking full of small gifts to open on Christmas morning. The 3 big gifts are labeled with tags that read: ‘gold’, ‘frankincense’, and ‘myrrh’ (traditionally the 3 gifts the wise men brought on the first Christmas).
The gift labelled ‘Gold’ is something you want.
The gift labelled ‘Frankincense’ is something you need.
The gift labelled ‘Myrrh’ is an experience.
There are other really neat traditions like this. I’ve also heard of the rhyme, “Something you want, and something you need. Something to wear, and something to read.” There end up being four gifts that are under the tree, and there is an expectation about what they might be. Find a fun tradition that everyone in your family is happy with and excited about experiencing.
2. Find toys that are good for creative play.
This will change depending on the age of your children. My girls are quite young, and I’ve learned that there are some toys that really stand the test of time. These include: building blocks, books, and dress up clothes. There’s a reason why these toys stick around, and it’s because the kids can make new games with them over and over again. There isn’t one right way to play dress up, or one thing to build with a box full of blocks. These toys encourage your child to use their imagination and create their own new games every time they play. I’ve seen our Duplo blocks turn into airplanes, princess castles, bridges, pretend food items, animals, stairwells, a hospital, and more! Encourage your kids to play and create new things.
3. Build On Favourite Toys You Already Have.
Begin with an emphasis on creative toys, and this step will become even easier. For example, if your child likes Duplo or Lego then a new set can be a novelty at first. After some time, it often gets added to the rest when they want to make something new. Eventually you’ll have one box for the blocks, which makes it easier to clean up, store, and have everything in one place when the kids want to grab them to play!
4. Foster Creativity.
In our house, creativity is fostered especially through music and the arts. My husband and I are both musicians so there is always music in the house, and we want to encourage our kids to be creative too. We always have a collection of arts and crafts supplies for the kids. Christmas is a great time to bring in new craft ideas and new things for them to discover and make. Visit a local craft store and find a new activity your child would enjoy. This provides not only an outlet for creativity, but an activity to do together if you sit down with your child. Make some quality time together for you and your child. I really enjoy the adult colouring books and will often open one up while my kids are making their own art or drawings at the kitchen table.
5. Ask for experiences instead of more toys.
This is my favourite by far. Ask family and friends to think about spending money on an experience for Christmas instead of more physical toys. Unless your child really needs something, it can be nice to experience new things and go on outings. This could be a simple outing for ice cream, or a chance to see a new movie. Or it could be in the form of an extracurricular activity that your child shows an interest in. After checking with the parents, the gift could be to help pay for swimming lessons, music, or basketball for the next season. Another suggestion could be to put money towards a new bike or sports equipment that they need.
Are you looking for gift ideas for adults? If you want some more minimalist gift ideas, check out the post Gifts For A Minimalist.
Comment on our facebook page and let me know what other minimalist gift ideas you have for the kids!