I’m going to be completely upfront and honest here: my kids love ‘stuff’.
My five-year-old daughter, in particular, is especially taken with what I fondly refer to as ‘tiny sh*t.’ If you’ve got a child vaguely around that age, you’ll get what I’m talking about. Ooshies, LOL Surprise Dolls, Puppy In My Pocket. Bits of tat disguised by some very clever marketing person, as toys.
And I’ll put my hand up and say that I have been complicit in these items entering our home (which might be why I feel no guilt at showing them the door, via the rubbish bin.)
Naturally, with Christmas on the approach, my kids have ramped up their desire to spend their eagerly anticipated weekend screen time watching American children ‘unbox’ random crap on YouTube Kids and mentally adding those items to their own Christmas lists.
I am also a self-confessed Christmas tragic who gets carried away in the aisles of Kmart at 11 p.m. in mid-December after one too many iced-lattes (‘I absolutely need an LED sausage dog for the house, Christmas will be ruined without it’).
Watch: Things you’ll never hear mum’s say at Christmas. Post continues below.
Finding a happy, sensible middle ground this Christmas between no-holds-barred carnage (the kind of approach I take to the annual cheesy bacon cob loaf dip made by my aunty) and complete austerity is kind of what we’re going for, and it’s been eye-opening.
Here’s how we’re trying to tackle it – and teach our kids a little bit more about the true meaning of Christmas (giving, family, community… and cheesy bacon cob loaf.)
‘Tis the season to play by the rules.
You may have heard of the ‘something I want, something I need, something to play with and something to read’ rule for tackling Christmas requests. And I’m a fan.
Surprisingly, my kids are as well and have quite enjoyed breaking their lists up into categories. BUT, because they are small humans, they’ve found a few loopholes here and there.
Like the book that is actually filled with LEGO (well played, son) and the Barbie plastic head thing that my daughter ‘needs’ to ‘practice her styling’ on.
So, we’ve broken it down a bit further. ‘Something I want’ could be the really cool toy, while something to play with might be a puzzle. The art and craft set complete with reusable stickers. Open-ended, slightly more sustainable toys that help generate imaginative play and will be used long term (and ideally handed down to younger siblings and cousins).
Experiences over ‘things’.
A good friend is all over this and I am here for it.