Christmas shopping time is upon us. It’s such a beautiful holiday for Christian people everywhere, but somehow, no matter how much we fight it, the true message of Advent gets drown out by materialism and over-consumption. Here are a few simple ways to stop the clutter before it enters your home and steals your Christmas joy.

First, the legal stuff. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only share products that I absolutely love and believe in.

DON’T

When someone asks you what you or your children want for Christmas, do not tell them “anything is fine”, “it’s the thought that counts”, or “oh, nothing”. If the person who is asking is going to purchase a gift, these are the worst possible answers if you want to avoid things you don’t want.

Consider asking for eco-friendly child wooden toys. Sustainable, developmental, sensory toys for babies are beautiful and last.

DO

Tell them what you would like. Be specific and even offer to send a link to people who might have a hard time finding what you asked for. If grandma really wants to get your child a toy, consider graciously offering an Etsy or Amazon link for the product you’d like. I am really partial toward wooden and open ended toys.

DON’T

Don’t show disappointment if they ultimately gifted something else. If you have a parent who is a “repeat offender” and perhaps even buys inappropriate gifts for your child, like unwanted technology or immodest clothing, have the necessary conversation later, and in private.

Always be sure to be gracious, even if your children get something you didn’t want them to have.

DO

Give a sincere and warm thank you. Kindly accept the gift and always assume the best.

DON’T

Don’t allow yourself to feel obligated to keep the gifts that you didn’t want/need. Often we feel guilt and let things rot in a closet or garage.

If you can exchange unwanted items, do that.

DO

If you can exchange it at a major retailer for store credit, do this! Think of Walmart or Target Supercenters. These items can be exchanged for groceries. Sometimes re-gifting the product could be helpful or appropriate, but it can also be tacky and often the question should be posed… if I don’t want this in my home, am I passing a burden onto someone else? If the answer might be “yes”, do not re-gift it. If it cannot be exchanged or passed on to someone who will love it, donate it and do it quickly. In his book, Simplicity Parenting, internationally renowned family consultant, Kim John Payne offers the great reminder that has been so helpful for me. He says that the person who gave us an unwanted gift is trying to bring us joy and is gratified by seeing a warm smile and gratitude. What we do with the gift after is not really their concern and the people we love would never seek to cause us stress or burden. It’s okay to let go of the things that you really won’t use or don’t need. By the way, this book is in my top three parenting books. Hand’s down.

I have been using these tips for years, now most of the people who buy gifts for our family ask us what we could use, or they already have a good idea of things we really appreciate in our home, but I have been terrible about reciprocating this very thing! I need to be better about asking family and friends what they can use or would like. I may miss the mark sometimes, but over the years, we really get to know what sorts of things our loved ones appreciate!

I think these tips open up conversations that can really take the focus off materialism and consumerism and when we spend less time shopping, we can use that time to spend more time together, creating new Christmas traditions and memories.

Have you tried any of these things before? Let me know if any of these tips were helpful!


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