I read and shared this beautiful article from the wonderful Happiness is Here recently: What's Under The Christmas Tree in 2018, and it sparked a short but interesting conversation on my Facebook page, about the balance of reducing the amount of presents we give to our children, vs wanting to give certain things. And it's a very tricky balance for so many of us, I think!
So I've put together a few very brief thoughts when it comes to selecting presents, that might help for each of us in finding our own balance…
Really, it all comes down to being mindful - if we keep checking in about why we are considering this getting this gift, we can't go far wrong. Here are some questions to consider as you make your choices this year:
1) Is it something they'll really love?
Things don't have to have a use in the traditional sense - it might just be something very beautiful that you know your child will be drawn to.
2) Will it get lots of use?
It might not be your idea of a good time, but if you think your child will be able to make lots of use of it, and get a lot out of it, it could well be worth getting.
3) Do we have the space to store it?
This is a tough one! It might be that a pre-celebration clear-out is needed (done with, not for, your child), out with the old in with the new, to create space for things that your child is growing into. Or it might be adding to an already existing set of items (think Lego, or craft supplies, and so on), so that you're not having to find a completely new storage space for the new item!
4) Is it sourced ethically, or from a local business? Or maybe it's something that supports a cause we believe in, or lines up with our core values as a family?
It can be so easy to get caught up in the 'buy cheap, buy more' sort of mindset that abounds at these holiday times of year - so keep your own family and personal ethics in mind, and aim to buy less but better where you can.
5) Could I make it myself?
This might not be possible - depending on our skills, and the kinds of gifts we're thinking of! But some of us might be able to make a soft toy, or a blanket or cushion, or a dressing-up item - and these can be some of the most precious and most loved gifts of all!
6) Will it increase connection?
We can give our children non-object gifts, such as classes or experiences, which might increase connection. But there are also actual objects that can increase family time - what about some board games if you're into those, some beautiful new books, or some family games to play outdoors?
Keep reflecting on your 'why' for gift buying, and you might find you make some truly wonderful choices. And finally, when we get it wrong, and buy a few too many bits and bobs at the last minute, let's not beat ourselves up with that guilt stick - we'll keep learning, and maybe next year we'll manage to do it differently. We keep growing and changing, but for right now, we are doing our best!