An Open Letter for a More Minimal Christmas

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The holidays are coming. Yessss! My son has began to countdown to Christmas eve, he’s actually old enough to do that! Gosh, they grow fast. (Better said: we grow fast)! As expected, he can hardly contain his excitement. I promised him to write a letter to Santa Claus this week and mail it (a list with way too many toys). Now, I’m sure that it’s not only my son who’s eager to receive gifts over the holidays. As a matter of fact, TOYS are a common denominator between kids and Christmas holidays! They mean the world to these little people of ours. The innocent awaiting and expectation of a gift from someone that they’ve never met, but is nice enough to reward them with toys, is unbeatable. But, if I could request something from Santa then I wish for a more minimal Christmas…

A little girl is on her toes wearing deep red ankle socks with white stars, as she apparently is reaching out to a Christmas tree with gift boxes under it
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Allow me though to make a flashback, to the time I gave birth to my son. As it is customary, friends and family rushed over with gifts: clothing and baby toys. To my surprise, this continued on holiday in, holiday out, birthdays, namedays and the toys kept on piling up. Fast forward to the present: now, I’m literally swamped with too many toys. And I have to wonder: Is it just me? Surely, the fact that we have a rather large family (several aunts and uncles besides grandparents) and lots of friends has a lot to do with it. But, really! Do any of you ever get overwhelmed from these kid toys, or is it just me?

Shelves filled with toys in a toy store.
Random shot from a toy store.

Of course, part of me is super happy for every new toy addition that will keep my little ones entertained for the next two hours, day, week or month. However, there’s a part of me that dreads the idea of having even more clutter to tidy up every night. The other day, we bought several storage boxes from IKEA to contain all these toys and accessories. But, the toys continue to amass. Imagine that one of the built-in closets is almost filled up and honestly, I dread this season’s holidays, because of the idea of having more toys to store away…And he’s only six! How on earth am I supposed to deal with it all two to three years down the road?! Do any of you out there feel me? Are any of you having the same trouble?

Having a large family is a great thing. It’s huge! It’s empowering! There’s always a helping hand when you need one, a shoulder to cry on or a nice uplifting vote of confidence in a framework of support that is so endearing. And I absolutely love it. We all care about each other, even when we’re a bit nosy.

Although, my husband has no siblings, his mother has two sisters both with two children each (all grown up and more or less just a step away from having families of their own). Therefore, the holiday season is a fabulous, joyous, loud family time, for we all get together and feast, socialize, joke about things and watch my little ones grow and do their own cute and funny little things. My bundles of joy are like a magnetic pole of attraction for attention and love giving from them all. As such, these two will receive a whole lot of presents from friends and family yet again this season. LOL! This is where I want to shout ENOUGH! We can do with less toys and more joy…

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, or anything close to that. Obviously, people spend money on buying toys out of the goodness of their heart. But I have reached the point where I don’t have any more space for more toys.

One solution is to pass them down. Believe me, I’ve already done so. I’ve given away a whole lot of baby toys that my kids have already outgrown to other friends or donated them to various child foundations. This only helps for a couple of months at a time, for I still have a major issue with the continuous toy influx!

My only consolidation at this point, is that some day when they’ll be grown up, things will subside considerably. But on a more serious note, my true concern lies with questions such as ‘do my kids truly appreciate the fact that they’re recipients of so much thoughtfulness, and love?’ Or, ‘do they realize that this isn’t the norm and as such they are very fortunate compared to many other children?’

The fact of the matter is that all kids deserve all the love we can give them. A present has always been the easiest way to show our love. It’s a ‘shortcut’ in this fast moving world of ours. I’m quite certain though, that buying them just about any trendy, usually mindless, toy is not actually the best way to show our love. I only wish that some of our relatives would look more into their buying options.

Don’t get me wrong…I really like educational kids toys that involve memory use, pretend play, and/or some solution solving. I also like “classic” toys, like a tricycle that actually involves a physical activity preferably outdoors. But, I don’t really like toys i.e. speedy cars shooting through hoops on fire, that seem to so “unreal” and pointless!

So yes, I admit that I gave away a few such presents and hopefully, no one will hold that against me. I truly feel the need to reach a more balanced situation – a more minimal approach. I, myself as a child had plenty of toys. Never as many as my children, but I had my sister to play with as well and it all worked out just fine for both us. As such, I’ve tried to ask of all our relatives to opt for some reading books or a piece of clothing instead of a toy… I guess will see how that goes! 😉

At the end of the day, I know it’s up to me to teach them to appreciate it all and not take any of it for granted but, I have to admit that at times, it’s quite overwhelming and even frustrating. I’m not going to pretend that I have it all figured out with a five step plan or tips that will help you in case you’re finding yourself in a similar situation.

This is more like an open letter, calling out for wisdom from other mothers. So, if you do have any suggestions or thoughts on this too many toys issue, please share them with me. One thing is for sure, I will be passing down and donating a whole lot of toys over the next years… 😉


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