Avoiding the excess of Christmas

I sit here wondering what little trinkets and treasures to fill my kids' stockings with this Christmas, and I can't help but wonder... Do we really need more?

More little junk. Clutter. Basically useless items. Things the kids (now 2.5 yrs and 10 months) will play with for five minutes then leave lying on the floor only so I can step on them.

The other issues with buying so much in excess are the cost and environmental impact. I'm not trying to drag ourselves down in debt with loads of Christmas presants. And I hate to think of precious resources being used to create tons of toys and stuff that we don't even need. Don't get me wrong, we're still celebrating and still giving gifts, we're just trimming the excess.

So this year I have decided they are only getting things they need in their stockings. Toys they will actually keep and play with for some time. Maybe some crayons, hair clips and special snacks or lolli-pops. Sorry, but I'm not buying any little plastic trinkets just to fill up a stocking.

They're also only getting a few gifts each from Santa. We are lucky enough to have sooooo many toys (mostly from gifts and yardsales) and they have all the clothes they need as well. So I really can't see the point of buying more just for the heck of it.

A few fun, entertaining, well thought-out, sturdy, engaging and educational toys go much further than a bunch of dollar-store trinkets and cheapo toys that break after twenty minutes.

I'm also not buying any movies or kid's videos. We can watch tons of shows, at any time, and absolutely free, with the On Demand cable package we have. So no need to buy those.

One way we're really cutting back on all the stuff, is by focusing on experiences. Going places, doing things, learning things, seeing sights, meeting people. That kind of stuff. My parents gave the kids an early Christmas gift... a 1 year membership to a local kiddie play place. How awesome is that? We've gone twice with the membership so far and it's been great fun.

As for gifts for hubby, my parents and other adult family members, I'm trying to stick to just getting them useful, practical, but nice gifts. No coffee mugs (does anyone really need more?), no nick knacks, no smelly lotions (really, enough already!), and hopefully nothing that'll be tucked into a drawer and never used.

I'll try and get another post together and lay it out there for you with exactly what gifts I'm giving. Why? I dunno, I always find it interesting to read about what other people are buying. So maybe you will too.