What started as my attempt to clean up our living room became a monumental task in decluttering our house. Now that the junk is out (well, most of it), stuff is organized and everything has a place, I find myself thinking about how to keep the junk from ever landing inside of our front door in the future.
That’s when it hits me. Cue the theme music from “Jaws.”
All those holiday parties at school with quaint little treats from classmates.
The stocking stuffers from Santa that are little more than a bunch of junk from the dollar section at Target or the Oriental Trading Company’s holiday catalog.
*Duh-dum. Duh-dum. Duh-dum. Duh-dum.*
This will not happen. I will not let the need to give for givings-sake come into my house and take over the very small square-footage that we have for our family and two very large dogs.
I will not be vilified by my children for throwing away bouncy-balls and Santa-shaped erasers in April when I go at their room for some spring cleaning only to find the Christmas crap tucked into every nook and cranny.
This madness stops here. I need to avoid Christmas present clutter!
Here is my holiday plea.
1. Buy my kids something useful.
Toothbrushes, kid shampoo and conditioner, princess-shaped vitamins, detangler spray, batteries….any of these items are better than those cute little puzzles or fun little magnets. Why? Because they will get use. They will not end up in my trash can when one piece goes missing. If you want to be fancy about it, get them a Spin Brush or a hair brush they can decorate with stickers. Heck, glow-in-the-dark Band-Aids would probably earn you the title of _____ of the year (hey now, only good names there–neighbor, friend, uncle, whatever). From them too, not just me.
2. Subscription boxes are also a neat way to go.
My kids love mail. They claim my junk mail just so they can feel like someone sent something to them. The Little Passports or the craft of the month, whatever it is, my kids would be all about it. They get so many physical items around Christmas that each becomes another gift. A subscription box that comes a few times (even one month if it’s pricy) reminds them of you at other points through the year. And what kid does not like mail!? Actually, what person doesn’t like mail that isn’t a bill?
3. Experiences are also great gifts.
Get them gift cards to Sky Zone or Airtime or the gymnastics place down the street. Take them to a Disney on Ice show or a movie. Most of the time if you plan it in advance, even if it happens in April, we can make the dates work.
4. Ask for a list.
I have Pinterest board for each of my kids. I know what they would like and what they need. If you want to get them a toy or similar, feel free to pick something off of that.
5. Don’t feel like you have to get or make something for my kid.
I know we all love Pinterest and intend to make really adorable crafts for each kid in the class, but don’t. Just don’t. You don’t have time and I don’t want to break my kid’s heart when I eventually have to toss it.
6. I’m going to follow all of the above.
If you are on my shopping list, I am going to buy your kid something useful, so don’t think we stopped at CVS on the way over and that’s why your kid is getting toothpaste or socks.
If I renew your zoo membership or get your kid a booklet of Frosty gift cards, it’s because I know what a treat it is when we stop for a Slurpee, so its my way to give your kid those special trips a few more times throughout the year.
If I ask you for a list, give me a few ideas. I’d rather get your toddler a box of fruit snacks if that’s something she loves than buying her a $30 jumping Tigger that scares the poop right out of her. Speaking of which…diapers. Consider those useful of you know someone with non-potty-trained kids. (Mine wears a size 5.)
And finally, I refuse play the “gift for everyone in the class and double points if it is handmade” game. It’s not that I don’t care about your child, it’s just a busy time of year and I don’t have the motivation to start knitting mittens for all 30 student in June. Call me lazy. I don’t care. I also don’t knit.
Hopefully this will help me keep the clutter from taking over my house just as we have just freed ourselves from its cold clutches….at least for a few more weeks.