Our Minimalist (ish) Christmas

Each year, the family keeps getting bigger and bigger so I finally decided that this year we would implement the four gift rule for the entire family. That being, each member gets a gift from the category of something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. At first, I was worried this would be a Christmas kill joy and feel super restrictive, but I’m happy to report it actually made Christmas shopping a lot more fun and forced me to take a much more thoughtful/mindful approach. And it’s the beginning of December and I’m already done shopping for the kids because it simplified things so much!

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In September, I moved and I’ve literally been in purge mode ever since. I’ve really shifted my focus over the past few months to quality over quantity. I’ve been cleaning out and decluttering just about every room in the house and when it came time to tackle the much dreaded toy room, I enlisted the kids to help. To my surprise, they were actually super helpful and eager to get rid of stuff/clean up their toy space. We donated a ton of toys and organized what was left into baskets and bins. After spending literally hours cleaning out their space, I am now much more thoughtful about what I want to let back in to the space. Kids get just as overwhelmed by clutter as we adults do and having a clean play space helps them to fully engage with whatever toy they selected to play with that day. I’m a total nerd when it comes to Montessori play spaces and the Montessori Method so this philosophy definitely influenced our playroom set up!

Anyways, back to the minimalist (ish) Christmas, our recent toy purge is what got me on board with this idea. If you’re seeking a more sustainable + simple approach for Christmas, I highly recommend giving this a try! My belief with rules in general is that they are more like suggestions and can always be altered when necessary. That being said, if this approach starts to feel more like a burden than a joy, you might be being a little too rigid with it. Consider it a chance to really put thought into your gift giving (which in turn allows you to really put thought into your gift buying so you can be a more conscious + ethical consumer #winning).

Our kids ages are 5, 3 and 2 and I’m going to give a brief summary of what we got them from each category along with some other age appropriate ideas in case you also want to jump on board with the four gift tradition!

Something you want… 

For our kids, this is the toy that will spark the most joy and give them hours worth of play in the coming months (remember that toy room decluttering? Yeah, I don’t want to end back up where we were). Eowyn wanted an Elsa Doll, Trinity wanted Retro My Little Ponies and Jaden a wooden rainbow stacker. Obviously, as kids get older their wants might be a little more expensive but decide on a price limit ahead of time if needed. This forces you to really put some thought into what toy or item would make your child’s eyes light up with delight rather than buying 10 cheap toys and hoping at least a few will spark joy. This is also a great time to opt for purchasing from eco-friendly toy companies or a local small business in your area so you can really make that purchase count!

Something you need…

Even though this is the practical gift of the bunch, it can still be fun! We got our kids stainless steel water bottles as their need but some other fun ideas would be a cute pack of socks or undies, a bento box, a nice backpack, new bedding, or a nightlight. I like to think of this category as something they need but a really nice, quality version of the need from a brand that means something to me or supports sustainability. Stainless steel water bottle means no more straws and fewer cups for a happier planet!

Something to wear…

This one seems pretty obvious but you can really get creative with this gift as well. We got each of the kids a new winter outfit as their something to wear that includes a sweater, pants, and an accessory. Again, see how the rule applies loosely here. It doesn’t have to be just one item or it can be if that’s what you prefer. A pair of winter boots, a watch, perfume, jewelry, cute sunglasses, a pack of lip glosses, or a warm scarf and gloves would all be fun gifts. You could also use this as an opportunity to shop those super cute hipster baby tees they sell on Etsy to get your babe a “Flower Child” top or some other unique item you wouldn’t normally buy throughout the year. It’s hard for large families to afford hipster clothes for all, so use this as your chance to buy an extra special something.

Something to read…

I am an avid reader and can easily read through an entire book in one afternoon so something I really hope to instill in my kids is a shared love for reading and good literature. There’s nothing quiet as beautiful as a remarkable story. You can use this as an opportunity to buy a nice hardcover of an all time favorite book or get a brand new book about a topic you want your kids to know more about (for example, influential females in history or self love). If your kids really aren’t readers, there’s plenty of fun craft and DIY books or you could even get a kids magazine subscription. If your local to Atlanta, check out Brave and Kind books (this is our all time favorite kids bookstore).

Over all, the four gift rule did not feel restricting but was actually super fun and felt super empowering! It’s given me an opportunity to really choose well and support local small businesses while making a difference in the environment and keeping stress to a minimum. I’m so glad we are starting this tradition while the kids are still young and think it will probably be something we keep for years to come. Have you done this tradition or one similar in the past? If so, I would love to hear your experience in the comments. Happy Christmas my friends!

Love,Mom

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