A friend of mine who lives in Hungary recently wrote this description of her family's pre-Christmas tradition:
The first part is standard decluttering that we all try to do, but the second part was what really grabbed me. One of the things that bothers me about decluttering is that it affirms the idea of disposability... that anything we're tired of is useless and value-less and should just be gotten rid of. But the repairing-and-restoring thing is something that really appeals to me. It's about stewardship, about care and cherishing the value of something even when it's no longer novel or perhaps even particularly useful to you, even when it might have lost much of its superficial polish. I like the idea of having this as a pre-Christmas tradition, so that we're not just sweeping old toys and books aside to make room for the new, but we're demonstrating our appreciation of the old things, whether we're keeping them or giving them away.
|Fall is a time for major cleanings in our house. I go room by room and do a very thorough job of cleaning: books come off the shelves, toys are sorted and cleaned, furniture is moved. My kids love these days as they always find something ’new’ (i.e. old things that have been forgotten about) to browse through and play with. This is the time when we review the kids’ old books and toys and decide what stays and what goes (usually to preschools or to poor children).
We also have a family tradition (passed down through at least three generations) according to which we clean and mend every toy and book that has been damaged. Usually that means fixing game boxes and finding missing parts of cars, puzzles, etc. In Hungary Santa ’comes’ on 6th December, when children put their cleaned and polished boots in the window and Santa puts some special Xmas sweets and smaller toys in them. So we try to be ready by that time so that Santa ’sees’ that we appreciate old things as well.