Why We Banned Toys as Presents This Year
This year I was real ballsy… I banned toys as presents. Before you think I am the worst mom ever, let me explain.
December is hands down my most favorite month of the entire year. Not only do I love all of the Christmas music, the light displays, the endless supply of hot chocolate, and watching Elf a million and a half times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is also the start of the birthday season in our house. Our kids birthdays are perfectly staggered with one in December, one in February, and one in March. The month of December is present overload between both Christmas and a birthday. And I love it. I love having all of our family together multiple weekends in a row celebrating birthdays & eating way too many cupcakes while we shower the kids with presents. What parent doesn’t love spoiling their kids – especially on birthdays and Christmas.
However, this year I gained an entirely different perspective. We spent the majority of this past year going through our 4 bedroom 2 bathroom house purging anything and everything that we no longer used or needed. You guys, you should have seen all of the stuff that we either donated, sold on Facebook Marketplace, or simply tossed in the garbage. So. Much. Stuff. At one point I had three different people arrive at our house at the same time to buy things & I am fairly confident that our neighbors thought we were running some kind of weird business out of our home. I also felt like I knew the guy at Goodwill who took donations personally because I drove my car through there multiple times a week with a car load of stuff. We got rid of so many toys and a ridiculous amount of stuffed animals that were just taking up space in our home but were no longer being played with. They were literally sitting there collecting dust. In fact, I about started WWIII when my husband realized that I was throwing away legos just to get them out of the house (and yes, he proceeded to dig through the garbage and rescued all of the legos that I tried to throw away). Yeah, I know. I clearly have a problem. If there was ever a time that I thought he was going to divorce me – that was it.
So when I started to think about what to get the kids for Christmas and their birthdays this year I knew that the one thing I did not want to get them was more toys. It is no secret that this mama does not do well with clutter & toys that make noise. It pretty much sends me straight to the crazy train. I wish that I could sit here and tell you that we opted out of toys this year because we want to feed the hungry, or give all of that money to the poor, or do something incredibly noble instead of buying presents but while that would be amazing – that just is not the case. It is because I literally cannot handle the thought of more toys coming into our now three bedroom apartment unless I have one giant glass of wine in my hand and am highly intoxicated. I mean, highly intoxicated. It is because we have spent so much time downsizing and getting rid of things that the last thing I want to do is add more stuff – especially adding more stuff that the kids don’t actually need and won’t use past January. Especially now since we sold our house and don’t have as much space right now. Besides, I don’t want to spend my day picking up more toys that I already do. Trust me, they are not lacking in the toy department.
I also don’t want anyone to spend their hard earned money on something that is just going to sit at the bottom of the toy bin for the next 3 months before I discover that it isn’t being used and send it off to Goodwill. If someone wants to buy the kids a present, I would so much rather have their hard earned money be put towards something that they actually need and will use. So often I feel like we wait until the last second, stand completely overwhelmed in the toy aisle at Target, and close our eyes and pick something random just so we are coming with something. I am so guilty of this. And I hate it. I’d so much rather buy a gift card so that they can go pick out something that they actually want and will use. While I’m all for the notion that it doesn’t matter what you buy or how much you spend all that matters is that the kids know that you love & care about them & that you remembered their special day and brought something (a card, a piece of candy, something from the dollar spot for crying out loud) – I am also a firm believer in not buying more crap simply to buy more crap. It’s a giant waste of money, in my opinion.
Think outside of the box. This year I’d rather my kids get gift cards to put together and use towards a bigger item that they have been eying, money to add to their savings accounts or to use towards things like more gymnastics classes or a sport that they want to try, money to be used on events or places where we can make memories and not accumulate more things, books/puzzles/art supplies/movies/and of course X-Box games and accessories for our middle schooler. Just because I requested that family not buy toys this year doesn’t mean that I was being a total grinch and banning all gifts. While I know they are bound to receive toys this year I figured if we could minimize it at all that would be so wonderful. Basically I just don’t want our family and friends to spend their hard earned money on things that are just going to collect dust and head off to Goodwill in a few months. And let’s be honest, I also didn’t want to have to drink myself into a wine oblivion every night when I am picking up all of their toys. Especially ones that make noise.