Gifts and shopping

The intentional life we’ve chosen, one of increasing minimalism means that Christmas can bring some anxiety. At least for me, I’m nervous to see what presents Ripley is given and how it will impact our lives. People are so thoughtful and well-meaning, but already Ripley has more toys than he can use and I’m conscious that we will receive so many more.

We have a policy of one-in-one-out and this is an all-year-round policy. So for any toys we receive, we will be cycling out some that weren’t popular or never used. For us, giving these gifts to those less fortunate is a powerful way to keep our feet on the ground.

It is difficult to sit on the outside of a world so rampantly consumed by buying things. Some of the strategies we are putting in place, and I guess you could call these traditions are:

  1. Both our families are doing Kris Kringle amongst the adults this year. A really positive step towards reducing clutter and reducing the cost of buying gifts for people. All of our families can afford to buy what they want, so why not let them.
  2. My Kris Kringle gifts are either photo based (having a child is an instant gift for a grandparent) or consumable like wine, chocolate or an experience. We try to ask for the same in return, but not everyone feels the same, which is OK. We share our ideas and message with others, but we don’t expect them to agree.
  3. Our children will receive four gifts: something they want, need, wear and read. This is a tradition we will continue indefinitely.
  4. For a long time, I’ve loved a really fun idea of teaching children financial literacy. It’s called many things but the idea is when children receive money, they have to split it three ways: some to spend, some to share and some to save. I wish this had been something done when I was a child. What a novel way to learn.
  5. When Ripley is old enough, we will volunteer our time somewhere to give back to those who need it.

I love reading new ideas and articles with ideas like these, for me, it is so inspirational and a big part of the way I want to be as a parent.

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