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Stop the influx of clutter-gifts with these 3 tips

Stop the influx of clutter-gifts with these 3 tips

We all know that the holidays offer a smorgasbord of ways to ramp up your stress level. Between decorating, cooking, school projects, shopping, travel, family, and short days and long nights, it can be hard to maintain a jolly spirit.

Add to it the influx of gifts that will inevitably turn into clutter, and you could be poised for a holiday meltdown.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Eid al-Fitr, Diwali, or nearly any other cultural or religious holiday for that matter, gifts are a part of the celebration.

Here are a few tips for preventing “gifts of clutter” from coming into your home in the first place.

Ask for experiences, not things

If fun Uncle Jameel brings one more LEGO set into your home, your head is going to explode. And trying to convince your Mom she doesn’t need to give your kids gifts is an exercise in futility.

Studies show that experiences generate more and longer-lasting happiness than things do. 

Share this research with the people who can’t resist bringing gifts into your home, and ask for experiences that you and your kids can enjoy with them or with friends.

A few ideas:

  • A day with Uncle Jameel at the local indoor playground or trampoline park
  • A season pass to a local amusement park or water park
  • Afternoon tea at a fancy hotel with Grandma
  • Archery lessons
  • A manicure with Mom
  • A subscription to Kindle Unlimited
  • Concert tickets

Spending time together, making memories, and expanding one’s knowledge are gifts that last a lifetime!

Give and take

One of the easiest ways to prevent clutter from growing is the “one in, one out” rule. If you buy something new, find an item you can donate or recycle and get it out of the house.

The holidays are a perfect opportunity to put this into practice (and, let’s face it, make your kids do the work!), especially if Santa comes to your house and your kids also know that kids receive gifts from their parents. 

Foster a spirit of generosity by making them aware that there are many kids in the world whose parents can’t afford to buy them gifts. 

Have them pick out a toy to pass along to a child who will love it as much, if not more, than they did. Then put it beneath the tree for Santa to pick up and deliver to another home.

In many cultures, giving to the needy is part of the tradition. Jewish families give food to the community, and Buddhists give donations to monasteries and temples.

Teaching your kids this practice will prepare them for a future with less clutter in their own homes as well as develop their empathy for others.

Then make good on your story by taking the toys to your local Goodwill or having the Epilepsy Foundation or Vietnam Vets come pick them up.

P.S. Why stop at one??

Follow this verse

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
And something to read

This is a lovely poem and really practical advice for gift giving. Because four things is better than ten.

If you like a challenge, you can find a way to turn this into three gifts or, if you’re more clever than I am, even two!

  • A Kindle or iPad + some ebooks
  • Those fancy leggings that Everyone is wearing, Mom!!!
  • For younger ones, a wallet with their very own library card

And of course, the “something they want” could be an experience, and voilà, you’ve eliminated one more “thing!”

The eternal gift

Regardless of what gift options you choose, teaching your kids that stuff does not equal happiness may be the most influential, longest-lasting gift of all, one that can be passed down for generations to come.