For the past three days JAG and spent most of our time either talking about or shopping for Christmas presents. We took on the battle of the mall and Toys R Us then opted to do a large majority of our shopping online (less people...nicer attitudes).
Every year I'm reminded how much my children (and I) have and how very very little we need (or want). This make Christmas shopping more and more difficult.
Last year I started Four Gifts after reading this passage about access from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin:
The head of Eliza's school told a story about a four-year-old who had a blue toy car he loved. He took it everywhere, played with it constantly. Then when is grandmother came to visit, she bought him ten toy cars, and he stopped playing with the cars altogether. "Why don't you play with your cars?" she asked. "You loved your blue car so much." "I can't love lots of cars," he answered.
How many other mothers have faced this?
As I was cleaning out Shelby's closet this Summer I posted this picture on Instagram with the caption: Listen up people: while we appreciate the gifts, but the next person who gives/buys my tween another purse, totebag or wallet will join me in a year for the next closet clean out! She has enough for 10 kids!
She has enough for 10 kids: this a theme in my house. Shelby has enough lip gloss and finger nail polish to look snazzy through college along with journals that one have one page complete.
Shelby isn't the only one. In preparation to sell our home I packed three boxes of toys from the little girls' room. Three LARGE boxes and let me tell you they still have too many toys in my house. They have multiple doll houses (my fault...they have current and vintage fisher price...it used to be my business) and dolls galore. Yet, we still seem to pick up new things while we are out either thrifting or at Target (urgh Target...go in for bread, leave with toys, purses and shoes).
And let me just say it's not just the children in this household. JAG and I own enough books to open a public library, but I feel books are a good thing (just let me go with that). We've even sold and donated hundreds of them int he past three years, but my as my mother said this morning, "Your Amazon wish list is just books." and you know there are days I feel the same as the boy above. I have a stack of to-read that is going to take me a year to complete especially since I add to it monthly.
So, as you can see from my rambling above it's difficult to break ourselves from not living in access, but during Christmas I do my best to not go overboard anymore. I have found it is less stressful and my children appreciate their gifts more by having a four-gift Christmas.
A Four Gift Christmas means each person only gets for gifts from us:
Something You Want: this is normally our "big" gift. Last year Shelby got boot that she really, really wanted.
Something You Need: I really try to make this more than just socks. This year Morgan is getting sippy cups and Bekah is getting new shoes.
Something to Wear: which is pajamas or tops - you know clothing, but it could be a scarf or even jewelry.
Something to Read: last year Shelby got her bible, this year was more difficult, butI think I found something perfect.
This year I will be using these cute tags that I found on Pinterest.
Besides the gifts above they do get a stocking that holds one small toy (or bracelet for Shelby) and normally candy. Also, the girls usually buy for each other or let me say I buy a gift from Shelby to the girls and from the girls to Shelby.
As I type this I'm remembering how my mom told me about the trap she fell into every year. Just as she thought she was finished shopping for us and had equal numbers of presents to put under the tree something would catch her eye. The perfect gift for either me or Melinda and she would snatch it up just to realize she had to buy another gift to keep her numbers even. Let me just say, Melinda and I opened presents most of Christmas day.
So, is access stealing your joy this Christmas? I'm done with my shopping!!