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Has decluttering changed your gift buying habits?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Buying gifts for Xmass? but I just cleaned out the house!!!

 

I did a big declutter early in the year, I started with the challenge of ridding the house of 2010 things. It was fantastic! Took me only 3.5 months and I learned some new, good habits to help keep things organized. I am constantly sorting through the toys and giving them away/throwing away.

 

So now Christmas is almost here and DH and I had a plan for our oldest (5) to get a couple big things (2 Lego sets, bike) but when we got to ToysRus, he started picking up other small stuff for stocking stuffers. Then he found a clock on line that he had to get, and then a bunch of things for our 1.5 yo dd. I already feel like our kids don't play with all the toys we have in the house, I don't want to add more and more! I think it is so wasteful to buy $8 plastic toys for a stocking stuffer that will get played with once on Xmas's day and never again. It also gives the kids the idea that Xmas's is about getting loads of presents. It helps to drive an economy based on junk.

 

I feel a bit like Scrooge not wanting to buy gifts for the kids. But, I know I am going to be getting rid of some of the gifts in a few short months because they don't get played with at all and our shelves will be jammed packed with no space to put all the toys away. This may sound very strange, but I also don't want gifts. I never expect them from anyone and often it makes me feel empty.

 

 

 

post #2 of 25

Yes it has changed it.

 

This year is the first year that we haven't got a truckload of gifts sitting under the tree already....(we put ours under there weeks before..)

 

I have put a firm limit on how many I bought them this year. And I have told them not to expect heaps more to appear magically on Christmas morning!

 

My one mistake this year was wandering into the $2 shop while waiting for something to be repaired...I walked out with $20 worth of novelty stuff for the stockings, then realised I couldn't return it, they don't refund!  Ack!!  But I am vowing that was the last time I make that mistake...my feeling of irritation with myself afterwards was enough to stop me doing that next year.

post #3 of 25

OH YES!....  Decluttering and the economy are both coming into play here. Plus DS10 is older and his things are more money so that in itself leads to less presents in general.  However he is getting legos and puzzles for the most part.  Things that can be stored in containers and cleaned up easily.  He is also getting a number of books that he requested.  Now my mother told me today she is sending THREE boxes of things for us... oh dear lord I can only imagine what I will have for the resale shoppe come January.  Decluttering has also changed how I shop for others. I have spent years cutting back on who I send to in general and the few people who are getting gifts (adults) are getting the 'soup box' from harry and david.  That was quick and easy to do, online and totally consumable. 

 

Oh I totally forgot DS is getting a session of acting class, I was able to get a 'groupon' for like 1/3 the price so he is enrolled in the next session as well.

 

It seems like I am constantly decluttering, cleaning, etc and honestly I do not need $20 worth of stocking stuffer junk for DS, for his stocking he is getting some 'manly' bath soap, a manly bath pouf etc.  And a few other things for the shower.  Ya know he is 10 now, he doesn't want fruit scents LOL...  I used to do school supplies/art supplies but we have soooo much of that I couldnt see just spending $ on more of what we have, and have had for years.  Really, how many markers does a 10 yr old need?  How much colored paper? notebooks etc??

 

I don't feel like scrooge.  My son loves legos, he loves to read, he loves puzzles... he will adore Christmas PLUS we have been doing more activies leading up to the holiday.  I've been on the look out for coupons etc and we've been able to see 'The grinch who stole xmas' at the theater, we went out of town for a week and we went sledding, on 'the polar express', went to a victorian holiday, then came back and did more things.  Tomorrow we are going to Lumanaries at the botanical gardens.  This weekend we are going to see some holiday lights.  We are baking fudge ALL.THE.TIME.

 

I guess I am starting to change how I view christmas and its turning away from massive stuff and more into experiences and usefulness.

post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post


It seems like I am constantly decluttering, cleaning, etc and honestly I do not need $20 worth of stocking stuffer junk for DS,



No neither do I.... but at least I have realised my error. greensad.gif

 

Plus I have three children so they are only getting a couple of small things each out of that.

post #5 of 25

YES!  This year we talked to the kids about having a smaller Christmas (present-wise) and instead spending some of our family Christmas money going to plays this season.  They agreed as they love going to the theater.  Since Thanksgiving we've seen Annie (small theater), Anne of Green Gables (small theater), and Grease (local college).  Tonight we're going to Little Women (family theater discount night) and this weekend we'll see the Nutcracker.  It has been so much fun!  If we hadn't used our Christmas money we probably could only have afforded to go to one of these productions this month (or go into debt, not an option).  They're all fairly inexpensive as far as plays go which is why we were able to see so many.  I put a lot of thought into the gifts that are under the tree this year and I think they will be lasting toys.  For stocking stuffers I mainly did candy.  I went to World Market as they have interesting candy from around the world.  We usually don't let our kids eat much candy so this will be an exciting treat...plus it won't be around for long like all those $1 store stocking stuffers.  :) 

 

Great conversation!

post #6 of 25

Yes! So my kids are still getting quite a few gifts, but they're all things that are easy to put away and don't take up much space, and they're not things with lots of little parts, because those drive me CRAZY. 

post #7 of 25

Decluttering has helped me to curb my buging of toys during the year and made me think harder about what I am buying for Christmas. There are gifts under the tree for the whole family to enjoy and just two each for the boys individually. I have gone a little bit crazy with the stocking fillers but they are all things which will be played with or eatten.

       This is our first year as seperated parents so I have no clue whats being given on their dads side of the family. It's going to be a battle to keep junk from there out of this home as dad is always trying to leave stuff here.

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post


It seems like I am constantly decluttering, cleaning, etc and honestly I do not need $20 worth of stocking stuffer junk for DS,



No neither do I.... but at least I have realised my error. greensad.gif

 

Plus I have three children so they are only getting a couple of small things each out of that.


I wasn't picking on you.... the stocking stuffer issue is something I deal with on a yearly basis and I finally said NO.  No to the little pcs of plastic, no to the cute little notepads that never get used, no to everything else  NO NO NO and YES to what I hope will be useful items.... bath stuff, shower soap, deoderant, a 'manly pouf'.  I'm hoping to start a new trend.  LOL
 

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post


It seems like I am constantly decluttering, cleaning, etc and honestly I do not need $20 worth of stocking stuffer junk for DS,



No neither do I.... but at least I have realised my error. greensad.gif

 

Plus I have three children so they are only getting a couple of small things each out of that.


I wasn't picking on you.... the stocking stuffer issue is something I deal with on a yearly basis and I finally said NO.  No to the little pcs of plastic, no to the cute little notepads that never get used, no to everything else  NO NO NO and YES to what I hope will be useful items.... bath stuff, shower soap, deoderant, a 'manly pouf'.  I'm hoping to start a new trend.  LOL
 


You hit a nerve as you used a direct reference to something I had said, so it felt like you were remarking on what I had done. I was very tired last night when I responded, never mind, all is fine today... thumb.gif

Actually upon reflection, at least the things I put in won't be entirely useless, as they include funny santa hats with plaits hanging from them, and light up necklaces, I intend to take photos of the kids wearing them and then scrapbook them later. 

post #10 of 25

I rarely give gifts anyway, birthday or otherwise (except my kids). If I find something I think someone I love must absolutely have, I prefer to give it when I find it, not at a predetermined (by someone else!) time. I don't believe in hanging onto things until Christmas when they could enjoy it right away, nor do I give as gifts things I would be getting them anyway (such as socks, underwear, etc.) just to have more to wrap for under the tree. I am trying to take the focus OFF presents, and make them just a small piece of what happens during the holidays. (We also don't *count down* days til Christmas...we count the days *left* of Christmas time. A little tweaking on my part, because I hated it being like a countdown to presents...but they liked the counting/keeping track aspect.)

 

So, each of my five kids get one present, plus their stocking. An orange in the toe, candy, a gift card, and a couple small things individual to them (for example my 11 year old wants fake nails, my three year old would love a pink tutu and a lip gloss). Their one gift is whatever they want (this year a couple requests for a video game, a nerf gun, a sword and a playdoh cake maker - so nothing too extreme), I don't concern myself with how much I spend on one vs. the others. It's not about dollars evening out to me (alot of my mommy friends try to make sure they spend the same amount of money on each kid...that's ridiculous to me!).

 

Interesting to read everyone's responses...

post #11 of 25

YES! For kids parties I now tend to buy craft things. I figure they can make something, hang it up - and it's not adding to a mess in a bedroom or toy room. Kids have way to much "stuff"!

post #12 of 25

No, redface.gif not really.  Although we've bought very few toys for the kids this year, mostly other things they've asked for (books, specific clothes, a stainless water bottle etc), I still bought them quite a few things in total.  It still feels that we've decluttered a lot, and I plan on continuing that into the new year, there are several areas I still haven't touched (I think I started aggressively decluttering in October).

post #13 of 25

Definitely- certainly for gifts that stay here in our home but even for gifts going to other people's homes. It had made gift giving harder for some people, who I know have everything they need. I don't want to buy something they will like but don't need because I don't want to add to the unnecessary stuff they have to deal with. Luckily dd has made this easier in some ways, I can always give appreciated pictures etc. to people who would want things like that such as my mother. As for us, I have become choosier about what comes in, but at the same time we still have stuff we need

post #14 of 25

YES! Trying (usually not terribly successfully) to declutter has very much affected my own purchasing habits for others.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kibba View Post

YES! For kids parties I now tend to buy craft things. I figure they can make something, hang it up - and it's not adding to a mess in a bedroom or toy room. Kids have way to much "stuff"!



I try to focus on "consumable" presents for others- activities, materials, special foods (esp if I know something they like) etc. I am a sucker for books and give those with abandon... but we are a family of readers and I don't consider books to be "clutter" (I am also pretty ruthless about throwing away bad/cheesy books). I also figure that good books (I would never give a bad book! I read them all first) can be passed on for a long time, even to one's local library.

 

I've always given modest presents for birthday parties b/c I've always been low income during my life as a parent, but I do try to think about something that the kid will really like and use, and which will take up minimal space in the home. I also go for quality over quantity/size.

 

For DS's 6th birthday we gave party favors of  paperwhite bulbs (with instructions on planting). I've never done party favors before this year but they seem to be de rigeur and I was happy to think of one that I don't mind giving- and might just stick with this one for the next few years.

 

As for holidays... I've always sort of hated "stocking stuffers" and my family of origin aren't big present-givers (except to children and even there not outrageously so). It makes me highly uncomfortable now to deal with the in-law family where absolutely everyone gives everyone else something and its mostly stuff the recipients don't want. ARGH. I hate my yearly ritual of returning a load of presents to stores I don't shop at, and trying to find something useful I can get in exchange. And then just having to "lose" the majority of the rest when the kids aren't noticing. But that is how it is with them and I concede with a small homemade or purchased food gift for everyone and a book for those family members I know well enough to choose books for. Maybe some of the paperwhite bulbs leftover from aforementioned birthday party favors.

 

For hostess gifts and adult birthdays (the latter of which I normally wouldn't gift for but sometimes it seems approrpriate, like you're going to their house that day for dinner or something) I would give flowers or a small and not terribly perishable food gift. (like a small but very nice box of chocolate)

post #15 of 25
I really like all the suggestions for stocking stuffers. I'm thinking of doing some candy, new toothbrushes, and kid's toothpaste ( which they always beg for and I never buy)....kind of ironic.
I'm definitely more in the mindset of seriously considering every single purchase this year. Dd is getting an oil paint art set and ds is getting an electronics kit, both of which they will love.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by laurabfig View Post

and kid's toothpaste ( which they always beg for and I never buy)....

What do they use to do their teeth?  headscratch.gif

post #17 of 25

First Christmas with DD1 we went WAY WAY overboard. She probably had 20 big gifts under the tree then a bunch of little stuff. Her second birthday was worse then I realized that she didn't really LIKE the toys half the time, it was overwhelming for her to play with them because it was to much so nothing got played with. So we did a huge toy purge and decided to get a few things for birthdays and 3 gifts (wise men gifts, I heard of it from a friend, Jesus got three gifts so each child gets three gifts) and a stocking for Christmas. This year we have two gifts and I can't think of what to get for the third gift. DD1 is getting an art kit (that I made) with a couple learn to draw books and DD2 is getting some felt food. Then they are getting a dress up trunk to share.. Now the third gift I'm at a loss, especially since we are moving so anything "big" will have to be packed up in 2 months and shipped. They won't see any of their toys for at least 2-3 months after they are packed up. Another thing is there isn't much they actually WANT I'm finding out. I asked DD1 what she wanted and she told me a doll (which I'm making to give her when the baby comes), art supplies and a dog (which 1) we can't have and 2) we are moving so not possible). DD2 loves anything to do with monkeys but she really only plays with cars, blocks, the play kitchen and her sister so no real desire to have anything else. I asked for other ideas for DD1 and she told me shed have to wait cause she wanted her brother and he isn't coming anytime soon..

 

As for stocking each girl has

1) a small car or plane

2) a set of puzzles (DD2 actually has these)

3) puppet nativities

4) a couple books

5) a few artish things- paints, crayons etc

6) play dough, their favorite "messy" toy

7) an ornament each

8) a hair brush and rubber bands

9) small chocolate eggs (each has a little toy inside)

10) aprons, both outgrew their apron so I let them pick up fabric and make them reversible aprons..

11) DD1 got a DS game that I got on clearance last year for 5.00. Shes never played the DS but I figured it was good to see if she liked it before our trip since 24+ hours in transit would be a good time to play some.

12)toothbrushes

13) small booklets I made of different pictures of Jesus

14) DD1 got a magazine as well. She LOVES the National Geographic magazine for kids so I picked her up one.

 

A few small consumables like nuts, dried fruit and an finger puppet for them to make while waiting for dinner to cook.

 

ETA- The toy purge I mentioned went from the toys filling a whole room and there being no room for books, a place to sit anything like that to the toys filling up a toy organizer with the larger toys filling 1/2 of a closet (probably less if you take out the easel)

post #18 of 25

Decluttering & simplying has definitely changed my gifting habits and also my requests to those gifting to us...

For the holidays this year I asked those gift giving for either consumable items, lessons/classes or clothing. (Minimal toys, unless educational)

With 3 sets of grandparents the gift giving can get a little overwhelming...so I asked my dad to build the girls a Waldorf inspired dollhouse...I'm really excited to see how it turns out!

 

DH and I decided to give DD#1 figure skates and lessons, DD#2 will get an outfit for her baby doll and modeling beeswax.

We also have minimal stocking stuffers...I will knit each girl a hat, create a Waldorf winter fairy for their dollhouse, include a puzzle and then add a clementine or two.

 

 

 

 

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by laurabfig View Post

and kid's toothpaste ( which they always beg for and I never buy)....

What do they use to do their teeth?  headscratch.gif


Just regular "adult" toothpaste. :)  I'm just cheap and hate how expensive the kid's stuff is....

post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 

UGH! I tried my best to give my kids meaningful and few gifts. but DH would NOT listen to me when I kept saying don't get anymore. He kept buying. Then on Christmas day after about 3 gifts, DS was numb and blindly opening presents and barely looking at them (he's 5). DH kept asking what I wanted and I asked for 2 small kitchen things, and he ended up getting me a bunch of stuff I didn't need or want, plus the fanciest kitchen things. We spent way more money than I wanted and we have a pile of unnecessary stuff (that we bought) and only some of it is returnable.

 

I hope we remember this feeling of over doing it so next year we can scale back.

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