Every year around this time, I sneak into our playroom after the kids have gone to bed and I clean it up. And by clean it up, I mean I bring in a trash bag and I fill it up with gobs and gobs of toys to donate to charities, local daycare centers, and/or our nieces. My kids basically never notice items missing and I feel immensely better about having less clutter in our house.I wish I could say the clutter remains gone, but unfortunately having two kids with December birthdays plus regular Christmas excitement puts us right back at square one most years. In turn, I have been trying to counteract this by buying gifts that won’t clutter my house any further.
Some of my top picks for gifts that won’t clutter are:
Gifts That Won’t Clutter
- Memberships: No matter where you live, I am betting there is an awesome place where you can score a membership. Our family has memberships to our local zoo, science center, and botanical garden and we absolutely love them. (The zoo membership was actually a gift from my parents a few years back.) Maybe you have a local YMCA where you can get a membership? Maybe there is a cool art studio nearby offering a bulk type deal on classes or workshops? Get creative and treat the entire family to a gift you can use all year round.
- Experiences: Plan a trip to an indoor trampoline park. Buy tickets to a ballet or play. (Check local colleges for family friendship performances by smaller companies at a fraction of the cost.) Give the gift of movie tickets even. Thinking on a larger scale? Take a trip to Disney World, Six Flags, or one of the other major amusement parks around the country. Experiences can be pretty costly, so why not use them as holiday gifts instead of yet more toys? Our family has previously wrapped up tickets or pictures of where we will be going with an inexpensive calendar to count down the days until the big event. The kids loved putting an X on each day and helping us prepare for their big surprise.
- Needs: I am lucky to have a lot of reasonable people in my life, so it is not uncommon for tennis shoes, underwear, new coats, etc. to be the perfect gifts for my kids. I explored this idea in a few online forums and I was quite shocked by how many people found the idea of giving kids things they truly need appalling. Reality check? Money does not grow on trees. If your kids need underwear and finances are tight, give them underwear for Christmas! This year, instead of the boring (less expensive) underwear, we are getting sets featuring their favorite characters. Yes, it isn’t as good of a deal, but at least it’s a bit more fun considering it’s a holiday present, right? And my twins’ birthday? They got BEDS for a gift this year; not a single other thing. Beds and the sheets to go on them. No toys, no games, no clothes. All they got from us for their birthday was something they truly needed. Want to know their reaction? Complete GLEE!
What will your kids be getting this holiday season? Anything from my list of gifts that won’t clutter?
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