When you’re actively trying to declutter & simplify your home, Christmas can be very challenging.  Especially with 3 kids.  And very wonderful, giving, generous relatives.

I remember a few years back (long before I’d ever encountered the concepts of minimalism or simplifying), being HORRIFIED by all the gifts my kids received (many of which consisted of several thousand pieces, or so it seemed), ridiculously-impossible-to-get-into plastic packaging, non-recyclable gift wrap, excessive amounts of money spent (especially bothersome when it came from those with low means), not to mention over-the-top consumerism, that Christmas brought along… To top it all off, it would often take weeks (or even MONTHS!) just to integrate all the new toys into the already-massive toy collection… SO.  MANY.  TOYS.

All this when our kids were too young to even appreciate all this generosity.  And when they were happier with the box or bag that the gift came in than the gift itself, but I digress…

I know to just appreciate all this generosity, knowing it does indeed come from a place of love.  But we do a few things to try (whether we succeed in the least is an entirely different question) to counteract all the focus on gifts (aka stuff).  We DO encourage our kids to make room for all the new stuff by giving away some of the old.  We DO remind them that although gifts are nice, the best part about Christmas is spending time with all of our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  We DO some charitable giving every year and involve them in choosing the gifts and we talk about why we do it.  We DO remind them (ad nauseum) how lucky we are to have family, health, love, and relative wealth, and that it’s our obligation to share some of that (although I’ll be the first to admit we could do much more in this department).  And we DO try to be a bit more intentional about the gifts that WE give so we can feel better about them socially, environmentally and financially (more on that in my next post).

What about you – how do you feel about giving and receiving Christmas gifts??