A few years ago Erik and I seriously downsized Christmas. We never really went overboard but the kids always got plenty of gifts! One night, as we were walking through what was then our toy room, we looked around in awe of all of the toys the kids had! We had two entire closet shelving units on one wall, full wall to ceiling of toys!
We stood there and tried to remember the last time the kids had played with all of them. Some of them we knew they had outgrown and others we hadn’t seen them play with in ages. The next step was obvious…sort and clean!
As we were going through all of the toys, I kept feeling guilt. I was worried they would miss them, or that they played with them sometimes. Finally, it got late, and Erik told me to just head on to bed and he would finish. Although a little concerned…haha…I went on ahead anyways.
When I got up the next morning I was mortified! He had literally cleared out over half of the shelves. The top half was empty! I was beside myself! I went to him explaining how upset the kids would be and how would we explain this?! Then, I got an even bigger surprise…
The kids got up, ate breakfast then went off to play…in the toy room of course…and…
You read that right. They never once noticed. They continued on playing and didn’t miss a single one of them! I was shocked…I think we both were!
After that we started our new Christmas gift tradition. We would get each of them three gifts…four tops. And that is it. Nothing more. I really struggled with this too because they had so many things they wanted and the toy store was full of things they would love. But after working through things, I quickly realized we could get them that one thing, that bigger, more costly thing on their list. The one toy they want the most and would actually play with! Those few gifts always include some clothes and books too!
Of course I told all of my friends and family about our new epiphany and they were surprised too! But having not experiencing it first hand, they had hesitations. ‘Won’t they be disappointed that they will only get 4 gifts?’ ‘You spent that much on one gift?’. The beautiful thing was at the age our kids were, they didn’t remember much different. Our new tradition would be the new normal. And yes, we will gladly spend more money on one or two gifts that they will actually play with. I would rather this than spend just as much on 10 gifts and have most of them tossed aside.
We are continuing to improve our holiday gift traditions. We like to teach our kids the importance of giving as well. And of course we always stress the real reason for the season. (God’s love is the best gift of all!) And we hope that with giving them less, they learn to appreciate what they have!
How do you guys handle the gifts for your kids? Do you have a gift limit?