Living a very simple, minimalist life is our goal for 2017.
This year I asked all family members not to buy the kids any gifts (toys/books/games) this Christmas. They don’t need anything and in fact already have too many toys. The sheer volume of stuff overwhelms and distracts them from creative play. Plus I spend my days picking up their blocks and Legos and train tracks. If I had $1 for every time this week, I’ve stepped on or put away Sky or Marshall or one of their paw patrol cronies!
It’s most definitely not my desire for my little people to go without. The truth is, I only want to maximise the experience for them. Just shifting the focus from all the gift-giving to a one of Christmas as a magical day and event.
I’m very conscious of the fact that our children aged 5,3,1.5 years, are very impressionable, that the precedents and expectations set now will be with them for many years to come. Lowering kid’s expectations for gifts and prioritizing family traditions are what we want to establish. Like watching a Christmas movie on Christmas eve, singing Christmas carols and putting out the mince pies and carrots for Santa and Rudolf. I want the kids’ memories of the day to be waking to find their stockings on the foot of their beds, enjoying Christmas dinner with family and friends, and playing a board game mid-afternoon.
Lets make memories
For us, making memories, enjoying quality time together, taking trips - be it a visit to the science centre to learn about rainforests, enjoy a morning of shark and stingray spotting at the aquarium or just a walk in the snow ending at a café for hot chocolate and cookie is what’s truly important. One-to-one time with the kids is something our little family wants to start practicing more of.
So this year apart from small stocking gifts and a couple of small presents from family members and friends (items they actually need like new socks and gloves), Theo and Isla will receive two little cards each. Each one will contain ‘An experience ticket’: maybe a morning at the Royal Ontario Museum with Dad or a visit to the ballet with mum.
Less stuff and more quality time to enjoy each other. I just hate waste, hate for people to spend precious time, energy and money on items I know will not be used or appreciated and down the line will be another plastic toy occupying space in the landfill.
Over the years I’ve observed our kids always return to play with the most basic toys. They sit for hours with their colouring pencils, Legos and Playdoh, making dens and tents, or creating imaginative games sparked by a dress up costume or fav stuffed animal. Not the all singing all dancing electronic toys, not at their tender ages.
Zero waste stocking stuffers
I love Christmas and have really enjoyed finding some gems: a set of Roald Dahl books from a 2nd hand book store, and putting together zero waste stocking stuffers including making homemade Playdoh and lavender-infused bath bombs. Together with a few choice edibles from the bulk store and an orange and bar of chocolate we are set. I have big plans to make them all some mittens this week and a little baby sling each for Isla and Indi. Simple things I can make with my sewing machine and a pile of old sweaters with the help of a very clever friend. By putting a little bit of extra thought in, it will be a near zero waste Christmas for us.
Lets keep Christmas simple
So rather than start 2017 full of resolutions to buy less, consume less and become more minimalist, why not start now. If your children are young, you have a golden opportunity. Children are not born with an instinctive set of Christmas expectations, so you can set the bar exactly where you want it. Make some new traditions this Christmas, spend less time battling the crowds in the stores and less time wrapping presents. Simply buy less stuff, give more of what matters, and Christmas will be magical for all.
Interested in the idea of producing zero waste check out this post
I hope you and your families have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Thank you so much for your support in 2016.
Thanks for popping by