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Why Less Is More This Holiday Season

"Gifts should bring happiness not in physical properties but in their thought and lasting value in life. "

The holidays are a time for joy and cheer, but they can also be a time of stress. From the pressure to buy the perfect gifts to trying to make sure dinner is perfect, it's easy for this season to become overwhelming in between everything else we do as parents, friends and employees. But remember: less is more. I know what you are thinking, that sounds better than it ends up being. Let me explain and give you strategies to help your family value time over presents.

Strategies For Kids To Value Time Over Presents

For many kids, the holiday season is all about presents and toys- it's how very good marketers have conditioned our children and we have fallen for it. However, there are some excellent and impactful ways to teach children that holidays are not just about gifts but also being together as a family and spending quality time together.

  • When your child asks you what their Christmas present will be this year, give them alternatives like "our favorite game." Or something they can do instead of buying an item (think ice skating).

  • If your child wants more than one thing at once, make sure it doesn't get out of control. Giving an abundance of gifts could lead to disappointment later down the road when there aren't enough presents for everyone.

  • Instead of giving gifts, you can let your children participate in charitable acts like donating canned foods to a local food bank or volunteering at the animal shelter. These activities teach kindness towards others, help them become better citizens, and are good for their development.

  • If your child receives lots of toys that they don't play with long-term, donate them to someone who could actually use those toys so that no unneeded items are lying around the house, which will just take up space and lead to clutter.

Sentimental Value Is Priceless

Make sure you purchase gifts that have meaning instead of something expensive or impersonal like cashmere scarves or Apple watches (although these are great too but make those items special and limit them). Pick out sentimental keepsakes such as photo albums filled with old pictures from when family members were younger; write down memories put into a jar; or create an ornament that symbolizes something special.

Experiences Wrapped Up In A Bow

Another great gift idea is to buy each other experiences, not stuff. Think of what you can do together as a family this year! Instead of buying your teenager another game, buy them tickets to a concert or an art show, something they would enjoy doing with you instead of alone. If there are too many activities on your list for one day, break up the time into two days, so everyone gets some special attention and has something new to look forward to but do it as a family or with one family member to build memories with each other.

DIY Gifts

Let the kids make their own Christmas gifts. Believe it or not, even parents can have fun with this. My Dad used to forbid us from buying him cards. He said, he only wanted cards made by us. To this day, we all make each other cards versus giving Hallmark the five to six dollars on a card written and created by someone else.

Set some time aside where each person can bring a few of their favorite items and put them together as a gift for someone else in the family. You will be surprised how many interesting things you already possess that would make for great presents. When making these DIY Christmas gifts, try getting your whole family involved, so everyone learns something new while creating a memory at the same time. You can even make it an activity by pulling out old items you might not use, find craft items that have been stored away. Buy a hot glue gun and let the kids work in pairs with a parent or with each other to create. You might be surprised what they come up with. You might also grab some empty jars and fill them with different treats like cookies, candy, or popcorn kernels. You can decorate the outside of each jar in any way that fits your family's style. Include a small note explaining what's inside, so people know how special they are when receiving such original gifts.

I would suggest buying a few items at a craft store to help get started, Michaels has jars, fabric, hot glue guns, paint, photo frames and ribbon. These will help your kids (and you) get creative.

I hope this season is joyful and that you family can remember that gifts should bring happiness not in their physical properties but in their thought and lasting value in life.