It’s Not Even Thanksgiving and I’m Already Worrying About Christmas

LeavesWe didn’t manage to clean the house before my father-in-law’s visit but on Sunday morning when the kids got up we did a big family clean-up.

“Everything needs to be neat and organized before you go trick-or-treating” is an amazing incentive. I’ve never seen such a scramble to do chores, such neatly made beds, or such a quick house makeover.

The room my three older kids share was a mess! I brought the vacuum into it and closed the door so I could sort through the piles of stuff on my now 7-year-old son’s desk in secret. I filled a bag with broken robot parts and plastic baubles and all sorts of junk that he likes to collect.

The bag went into the trash and the trash went into the can in the garage.

Landfill: I am sorry. Landfill: I know how overstuffed you are already. I know how bad you smell. I know you don’t need anymore trash to be added to you. Landfill: does it help to know that I can’t sleep at night? Landfill: Will you forgive me?

As I was vacuuming their room, I found some of last year’s Christmas presents untouched and unplayed with under my 9-year-old daughter’s bed. I noticed figurines collecting dust and toys she’s never once played with on my 11-year-old daughter’s shelves.

Last week on Mothering Outside the Lines we were talking about how living with less gives more joy but the truth is that our house is still filled with clutter and with too much stuff.

My name is Jennifer and I’m a stuff-a-holic.

So now you know why I have a hole in my stomach when I think about Christmas.

I’ve recently discovered SimpleMom, a super popular Website by a mom of three little ones named Tsh Oxenreider. Tsh has a post up today about redefining simple living, where she reminds readers that simple living looks different for every family and that it’s good to enjoy the things you love, and to emphasize quality over quantity.


We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our family but for each night of Hanukkah we exchange poetry, not gifts.

No matter how hard we try, Christmas often feels to me like a free-for-all of plastic packaging and toys made in Chinese sweatshops.

One Christmas my friend told her three children they were going to celebrate “Enough Day” and not exchange gifts. That idea did not go over very well with James, who remembers actually seeing Santa Claus in his house in the middle of the night when he was three years old, and who really loves Christmas.

Still, I want to find a way to have a simpler, more meaningful Christmas this year. Maybe that means we will give one quality gift to each child? Or exchange homemade presents? Or do community service as a family on Christmas Day?

Do you feel like your family has too much stuff or do you find yourself wanting to buy more? Do you have any suggestions for ways to make Christmas less materialistic and more manageable?

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on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 at 2:06 pm and is filed under holiday stress.
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