6 Gift Tips for a Clutter Free Christmas with Little Ones
Are you already dreading the aftermath of Christmas knowing that you have tons of toys and can’t imagine adding more? It can be hard enough coming up with a gift list for little ones when they seem to have everything–especially when others are asking what they would like or need as well! I originally set out with the idea of only gifting experiences this year to cut back on the clutter. I had this awesome list set up, but then I realized that I am the kind of person who loves giving gifts and of course wanted to have stuff under the tree other than just tickets, cards, and the like. It was also quickly becoming way more expensive as well since we had to buy a ticket/membership for the three of us rather than just for our toddler. So I came up with a system where I decided to keep the focus on experience gifts, but still have some physical things to stick under the tree. This system is going to enable your family to have a clutter free Christmas!
The first step in our clutter free Christmas system is to donate some toys. If you are on my email list, or have read any of my past posts, you probably know how much I love the holidays! And also that I really like to keep the true meaning of the holidays at the forefront. Donating old toys is like a double threat! It kicks off the holidays on the right foot, stressing that the most important thing is not attachment or accumulation of material things, but of keeping Christ in Christmas and helping those in need–spending our time trying to make someone else’s holiday better (check out the Ultimate Guide to Empowering Others for some inspiration). It also sets the stage for clearing out the old to make room for the new things coming into the house. If you are really feeling generous, this could work out actually leaving you with more space in the house after Christmas than you had before!
2) Experience Gifts
As I mentioned above, this is going to be one of the main ways I cut back on Christmas clutter this year. What better way to have a clutter free Christmas than to have gifts that literally don’t take up any space in your home?! Even the tickets, confirmations, receipts, etc. can all be done through email these days! Experience gifts can help provide new and fun ways for your family to bond, exciting and interesting new ways for your little one to learn new skills, or will just open up your world a little more on a daily basis by allowing you to try something new or have somewhere to go when you need to get out of the house. Not sure what to pick? Think about things that your child is already interested in–my son really enjoyed when we went to baseball games last season, so we are planning on trying out hockey next. The downside of experience gifts is that they can get expensive quickly (NHL tickets for three aren’t cheap!), but there are tons of options for all price ranges! Still stuck? Check out these ideas suitable for babies, toddlers, and adjustable for older ages as well (classes/lessons are usually accompanied by at least one parent for the younger ones):
- Memberships: to the local zoo, aquarium, children’s museums, botanical gardens
- Classes: gym class, mommy and me swim class, art class, music class, ASL or language immersion class
- Lessons: dance, sports, ice skating, karate, gymnastics, instrument
- Tickets: play or show (Disney on Ice and Sesame Street Live are on our list!), sporting event (you could even do season passes if you already know they love it), an amusement or water park, a ballet or other dance recital
- Other: a day at a local indoor play place, a coupon book for trips to their favorite places (parks, ice cream shops, visit grandma, etc), a trip to get mommy and me pedicures, movie tickets, a local hotel trip for the night (this is a huge adventure for kids at any hotel, but you could also do one geared toward kids with an indoor water park!)
- Small Tangible Gift Included: You could also take your child to a place like Build-A-Bear or the American Girl Doll store which are interactive and fun but in this case you’d be walking away with a small toy as well.
If you are really looking to get through Christmas this year with absolutely no clutter, you can look no further than this list! Pick a few things from the list above, or surprise your family with a trip to Disney or another fun (and less expensive) vacation! I like to be at home for Christmas, but Santa could always leave us some tickets under the tree so that we can go after the holiday 😜
3) Utilize Available Storage Space
One of the easiest ways to build up clutter is not having a proper place for everything to go. A great way to eliminate that risk from the start and have a clutter free Christmas is to plan out how you can use the space that you already have. I’m sure that you have organized and re-organized your child’s space many times by now. I bet that you have found a way to make more room every time you needed to! Especially if you plan on taking my first tip into consideration and clearing out some of the old toys to donate, I am sure that you can come up with some extra space throughout your child’s toy storage areas that you can use for Christmas presents to be!
The first place that comes to mind is the bookshelf–books are so important for little ones and many children love reading and receiving new books. Can you find some empty space on your bookshelf, or even possibly buy some bookends and utilize space on top of the bookshelf or dresser? Do you have a play kitchen? Since our son loves his kitchen, we are considering buying him a few more things to go with it–the bonus is that everything will be stored inside since we still have plenty of space in there not being used! Where do you have extra space? Maybe with their blocks or dolls, or inside of their ball pit? You can add to or replace some of the toys you already have since that is where your child spends the most time already and you know it will actually be played with!
4) Think Outside The Playroom
Is there something your child wants that you could integrate into areas of your house outside of the designated “kid space” (A.K.A. their bedroom or playroom–and living room if you are like us)? My son LOVES trying to cut his own food, so I decided to get some safety knives to let him help me cut up fruit without risking him getting hurt! Obviously, these will stay in the kitchen rather than among his toys. We are also going to get some new craft supplies that we will keep in an over the door shoe hanger in the closet. Do you have some extra space in your kitchen, basement, or a storage closet that you could utilize? Maybe you can get your little one some toys that they can use to help you with chores–their own cooking or baking supplies, their own cleaning supplies, or whatever else they love to help out with–and keep it with yours so that when it is time for you to focus on chores they have a special toy that will keep them busy as well! This will help you have not only a clutter free Christmas, but a clutter free house year round! 😜
5) Opt For Easy-To-Store Products
Another great way to plan for a clutter free Christmas is to opt for products that fold up for easy storage or come with their own case. We actually use the case that our ball pit balls came in to store our blocks. The best thing about that is that there is plenty of extra room to add on to our block collection (especially since now that my son is really interested in building and runs out before he is finished his creations). We also really appreciate our play food that came in baskets and the carrying case our tool set came with!
This is especially important for baby gear, you will save SO much space! Our pack n’ play, high chair, and swing were all able to be folded up when we weren’t using them. One of the best ways to overcome clutter is to chose products that can be easily packed up and put away! You don’t want to be searching for toys in the bottom of the toy box or leaving the bigger gear out to take up space in the middle of the living room.
6) Things You’d Need To Buy Anyway
A great way to plump up the pile under the tree is to use things that your child needs either way. This is kind of a combination of multiple clutter free Christmas tips because you will also utilize other storage space (such as the closet if they need clothes), and store things outside of their playroom. By planning out what they need (or are going to need in the near future), and where it will be stored, you will be better set up to avoid the clutter.
As you can see, planning is crucial if you are serious about having a clutter free Christmas!! Think about what kind of things your child needs and about how you will rearrange or reorganize to accommodate them if you need to. Some developmental products may include: a toddler bed, a potty, big kid underwear, new cups or cutlery, a new toothbrush, seasonal clothes, and snow gear (including boots and sleds!).
Need Some Inspiration?
We are still whittling it down, but these are some of the gifts on our wish list so far this year:
Are You Planning a Clutter Free Christmas?
You don’t need an overload of toys to make Christmas meaningful. In fact, just the opposite! Focus on making memories with your children and helping them realize the importance of family and giving, not just gifts. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy the gift of giving to your children and the joy that being Santa brings! These tips will help you conquer the Christmas clutter, which in turn will minimize the ever prevalent message that bigger is better and we need mountains of “things” in order to have a successful Christmas. I’d love to hear your best tips or any gift suggestions you have that fall in line with those listed here! Drop a comment or shoot me an email, it would make my day!
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