Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn Morning

It's a lazy fall morning, the temperature outside being somewhere in the 50's, and it's cloudy, too. We have a field trip planned this afternoon, so we have done little in the way of school this morning, but that's okay. The kids are playing quietly in their rooms (not by choice: I banished them there after lots of arguments), and Annesley is sleeping.

Last night I spent some time cleaning out the basement. Sometimes those projects just begin even when they aren't planned; suddenly I just feel ready to tackle something, so there I go. I think the onset of Christmas shopping affects me this way every year. I start mentally calculating the influx of toys that's about to occur. 6 kids x about 8 bigger toys each (this includes all the gifts from grandparents, aunts and uncles, and us--though A. probably won't get this much this year) + lots of other little stuff. And we have two kids' birthdays in December. Now I don't mean to sound scrooge-y, and my kids certainly aren't complaining, but you have to make way or you'll soon be drowning. I love to see the excitement in the kids' eyes and the fun they have as they enjoy their new stuff, but deep down inside I wish for simpler times.

How do you resist the materialism of the era we live in without making your kids feel cheated?


Rebecca M said...

Hi! I'm a new reader here. My name is Rebecca. I have four children- the oldest is almost 6. I totally relate to your thoughts on preparing for a whole load of new items entering the home by cleaning out what isn't being played with beforehand.

At Christmas time, my kids also receive "big" gifts from both sets of grandparents. Sometimes we know what these gifts are going to be, sometimes we don't.

My husband told me a few years back that when we plan what we are going to give our kids, we should keep in mind that our present to them doesn't have to be the "best" present out of all that they receive. This has helped me to consider gift ideas for my kids that do reflect the "simpler times" you and I both wish for.

I think my kids may feel cheated sometimes when they ask "Where is that insertnameoftoyhere that we used to have, Mommy?" I tell them that we gave it to someone that didn't have as many toys as we do. Really, though, I think they are generally accepting of the purging we have done. I do try to be careful that I'm not choosing to get rid of extra special things and as the kids get older, I'm hoping to involve them in the decision process when it's time to make room for new things.
Hope your field trip was fun!

Liz said...

Larry & I have struggled to maintain simple Christmases, too, and I think we've finally gotten the hang of it. We simply do not buy the kids much for Christmas. They only get "useful" items from us. Clothes, books, a magazine subscription, a gift card to a favorite store...that sort of thing. We don't do much in the way of toys because it's inevitable that the other family members will give them toys. Or they'll use all their Christmas money to buy toys.

We try to extend the "useful only" rule to other kids that we buy for as well. I don't know about you, but I hate to have a new "thing" to keep up with or have to find a place to put. I'd much rather get/give an item that a child will use up & be done with than adding to the clutter of my house.

Does that make sense?

Hope that helps!

Candice said...

Thanks for the input. I do like 'consumable' gifts, like art supplies or candy (!). I like what you said, Rebecca, about not feeling like we have to be the ones who give our kids the 'best' gift. I have found that our kids ask for less 'name brand' kindof stuff because they see little advertising. They don't see many commercials, since we record shows and then they fast-forward through commercials.

Anonymous said...

At our house we usually get one small thing for the kids to open that is practical and then gifts of our time. Todd and I each make them a coupon for something to be redeemed throughout the year. I do lunches with them where they pick the place. Last year Todd took JT to a KU basketball game and he took the older girls ice skating and Chesed to a bookstore for hot chocolate and a book. It's great to have that one-on-one time with them. It's also nice on our budget to spread the spending a little more throughout the year:)
Julie C.

Candice said...

Ooohh. I like that idea, Julie.

jeniavanhorn said...

I can totally relate with your thought about projects and cleaning. I think this is what I was feeling today when I posted "clutter confusion" sometimes the projects I want to tackle overwhelm me! Thanks for helping me see I am not the only one!