As the season of giving looms (and yes I definitely mean LOOMS!) and family starts asking for our Christmas lists my husband and I are trying to figure out where we are going to put all the stuff our daughter is going to receive for Christmas. I find myself stressing about the stressing. What would you call that? “Pre-stressing?” Ahhhhhhh! We have storage, but it’s rapidly filling despite our best efforts. Now keep in mind we purge on a regular basis, but do we want to purge more of her things when we have another baby on the way and don’t want to repurchase toys for a second child? And let’s talk about that second child whom my husband and I have already decided cannot possibly have anything new because where will it go? Poor kid. Talk about second child syndrome!
When I think about what it is that my daughter cherishes the most, its time and the memories made within that time spent with my husband and I. On a regular basis she says ‘Mommy! Do you remember when we went to (insert super fun destination here) with Daddy? That was so fun! Can we do that again?’ Ultimately it boils down to the fact that she really just wants to be with us spending time doing things we all enjoy. How can I say no to that and give her a toy instead?!?!
I brought up this idea to one of the 90+-year-old women who attend SwimWest’s Water Aerobics classes regularly. I asked her what she has on her Christmas list this year. I was curious what you give a 90+-year-old woman. She said she regularly asks for ‘consumables’, such as a gift card for Panera where she and her fellow water aerobics classmates meet after every class to socialize. Money has gotten tighter as she has gotten older and living space has gotten smaller, so she says ‘you can’t take it with you!’ so you might as well ask for things that will make your time on this earth memorable and enjoyable. So we have decided that instead of more ‘stuff’ our children will be receiving experiences or consumables from us and we will be encouraging our families to follow suit.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying our children will never again receive a material gift from us because they most definitely will as they grow older and their interests change. BUT, putting a priority on experiences and family time spent together instead of material things will help us focus our financial energy as well as help us maintain some semblance of sanity when it comes to finding places for everything and everyone in our home. If you decide to do something similar let us know how it goes.
Happy Holidays and good luck!