My friend Meredith is a clutter-free, organizational, small-space-living genius. She's also got an instagram I Iove following, and the other day one of her posts really got me excited.
She posted a picture of a basket of library books-- a simple, lovely, clutter-free Christmas gift for kids. I immediately went to my online shopping basket and deleted the series of Big-Sister themed books I'd been planning on purchasing to stuff my daughter Z's stocking with. Getting Z a basket of Big-Sister themed library books will still allow us to spend time enjoying time reading together in preparation for this big change in our/her life, but adds two benefits: less long-term clutter for books that are for a specific window of time on her life, and it brought the price of my shopping cart down a few notches.
I told you she's a genius.
This got me thinking what are some other ways that Christmas can be less about clutter and more about the people and stories that are important to us?
Make a List, Set a Routine.
Create a routine, or tradition, for gift purchases. For example, I heard about parents who decided that in order to cut back on the pile of gifts for their kids each child would get 1 want, 1 need, and 1 book. Simple and lovely.
Personally, Chris and I used to do one bought gift and one handmade gift for each other. Last Christmas, we each separately bought Z a gift and we each made her a gift, plus carried on our gift-giving tradition for each other. Maddess. Clutter can come in the form of crafting crunch, as well.
This year, we released each other from the pressure to make each other something. And we decided to both agree on just 1 bought gift for Z and 1 gift that we can make together with Z-- a simple dollhouse that she can help build and decorate. Gifting simplified, but still special.
Make a Book.
This is actually something we do for Z and will do for our daughter J. For her birthday, we ask people to write her a story or draw her a picture instead of getting her a present. Then, we put these stories and pictures in an album that she can look through when she wants, and that she'll get on her 18th birthday.
Maybe there's a way to adapt this idea to Christmas?
The Gift of Listening.
Last year I recorded a mini-album of Christmas stories. When I saw Meredith's post, I was reminded of the joy of recording these stories, of dreaming that families might slow and sit together for a few minutes over some hot cocoa while listening to some nativity folktales together by the Christmas tree.
There's tons of wonderful story albums out there that would make wonderful clutter-free Christmas gift downloads! A simple search will bring you a plethora of options. Click here for my shameless plug for my mini-album Gifts for the King: Nativity Folktales.