Being a minimalist of years, I am well aware of all problems connected with unnecessary stuff and I try not only to manage the things we have but also control the inflow of new items. This means changing buying habits that for me involved tracking spendings, experimenting with the half year without buying (results here) and just questioning or delaying every purchase on a daily basis. But another matter is the gifts. Especially gifts for our Boys, aged 1.5 and 3.5. Today I’ll tell you why we decided to set gift-giving rules, prepare a gift-giving schedule for our family and friends and how this schedule looks now for our family.
Why do we limit gifts for our kids?
I’m a minimalist for years, showing with my own example that having less than standard has many advantages, which my husband clearly sees. Moreover, I’m aware of problems in kids’ development when they have too much or when they use screens too early or for too long. And, to sound more simple: fewer things mean for kids less tidying up and less mess means calmer, less stressed and less yelling mom. And even my husband noticed that more toys don’t mean more time spent by kids on playing.
Parents’ presence, attention and participating in real, adult activities are bigger kids’ needs than having toys.
We don’t see for us any advantage in having many toys. So we limit them to avoid unnecessary mess.
When it comes to gifts, we try to tell about our Boys’ needs or interested when someone is going to give them a gift and asks us. So most gifts suit our kids’ preferences and stage of development. But too much of well-suited toys is always too much, the truth we discovered last December.
Our gift-giving rules
So, one day we sat with my husband and we’ve written the gift-giving schedule. We took into account all days on which they got gifts in the past. We’ve included all people they ever got gifts from. A few weeks after the December’s joy (and excess) we started to talk with our family and friends about our new approach and asked them to give less.
How many gifts? We’ve limited it to maximum one big gift from each person during a year. If someone really can’t imagine visiting us without gift-giving for the kids, he’s allowed to bring a small gift.
Small gifts examples: fruits, or sweets, or something really small, needed or consumable like a thin coloring book or ONE pair of socks.
Who can give gifts for our kids? We allow only people closest to our Boys gift them bigger gifts. They are grandparents, godfathers, and godmothers. Other people are gently asked to give nothing or small gifts.
Our gift-giving schedule
Below I present our yearly gift-giving schedule and it’s just an example of what can work for a family with kids. When they can get gifts, from whom and what it can be.
Boys’ birthdays: godmother and godfather (and the brother can get something small).
Children’s Day – mmm… We’re just giving it up. Yes, really.
6th December – sweets from parents.
Christmas – grandparents.
Visiting us – nothing or a small gift (examples above in the section gift-giving rules).