Wednesday, December 1, 2010

simplifying christmas

Asher dressed as a shepherd last year at my parents house.

I really want to keep Christmas simple this year. It is so easy to get caught up in all the materialism, and with 5 (!) kids now to buy for on a limited budget, we decided to set clear parameters to keep things under control. I saw an idea on Design Mom to give just three gifts and decided to add one more. So here is our version...

1. Something to wear (one new outfit each)

2. Something to read (either one book or one set of books each, not sure yet)

3. Something to play with (one toy, probably something fairly substantial that they really want)

4. Something to create with (art supplies, which may end up being several small items)

What I like about this idea is that it not only keeps me disciplined in my buying, but it helps the kids prioritize. Plus, it keeps less junk out of our house! I'm really excited not to get bogged down with silly little presents that they don't end up even playing with much. My hope is that they will really appreciate what they do get, and we can all remember what Christmas is actually about--Christ.

How are you keeping your kids focused on the real meaning of Christmas this year?

Also... we are going out of town for Christmas. Should we get a tree? If we had a fake one I'd put it up but getting a live tree seems like a lot of work when we won't be here Christmas day. Thoughts?


  1. I love this idea! I need to keep this in the back of my mind for when I have kids.

    About the tree, I know lots of families (including Brie) that don't get trees if they're going to be out of town on Christmas day. I'm moving into my first apartment by myself today (as in, the first apt I'll be the only person living in) so, even though I won't be in town on Christmas, I'm getting a tree so make it festive and because I'm just excited to have my own place.

  2. We do a very similar gift thing with our children--they're allowed to ask for three things. We try to make sure they get all 3 (depending on the request; Juliet is definitely not getting a laptop!!).

    I'm really getting into the less-is-more thing with Christmas this year. I've made a lot of the gifts--which has been fun because I've picked up new skills, like jewelry-making--and thought about things that I could do that would really make the recipient happy without spending a ton of money on yet another bulky thing to store. For instance, my mom does a family cookbook every couple of years, which is a massive undertaking that she dreads--so this year one of the things I'm doing for her is that entire cookbook (eek! It's been crazy).

    We get a tree about every other year, since we're never here...but our kids really love it. This year the tree is on the schedule. I hate spending the money, but sometimes it's worth it for the experience for the kids, especially as they get older. A lot of the adventy-type things I've planned this year have to do with the tree, so I'm trying to get our money's worth of fun out of it!

  3. Absolutely get a tree. The whole season is important. The tree adds a special magic to a house.