Decluttering Christmas presents – Kids edition

I have a few stocking stuff posts (like 50 Stocking stuffers for women,  and 100+ Stocking stuffer and small gift ideas for men, and Non-candy Easter basket and stocking stuffer ideas for children) that get a bit of traffic. If you’ve read them, you know that I am a huge fan of Christmas stockings full of goodies (and present-giving in general). This year, I really want to focus on fun, family, and the meaning of Christmas, rather than all the focus be on PRESENTS! This is becoming more important as my first born gets older (he will be 2.5 years old during Christmas) and with another one on the way. Also, if you have kids, you know how quick they accumulate stuff. I don’t even know how this happens, but it seems like magically, overnight, toys have multiplied. We rarely even buy toys, encourage family to gift other things, and yet still, there is a house full of toys!

I am taking a step back from filling stockings with toys and trinkets and little things that will get lost inside the couch or thrown away in a month. Well, there may still be things that get lost inside the couch, but the point is, I am trying to avoid the junk and clutter.

Have you noticed that some of the greatest toys your little ones have played with are actually not “toys?” Stacks of cups, a cardboard box, a pen and a back of an envelope, a table cloth fort, small pumpkins from the local pumpkin patch (I kid you not, my toddler is in love with his little pumpkins) – all of these things, and more, have entertained your child and didn’t come wrapped in plastic, secured with zip ties, and then sealed in a box. They allowed the children to use their imagination. That’s why this year I am focusing my gift-giving for my child on things that will allow him to play in different ways and offer creative freedom. I am also focusing my stocking stuffers on “needs.”

It may be early to start planning Christmas gifts (and I may have gotten my cousin’s kids’ gifts already, at Target, for 70% off during their toy clearance), but my little girl is set to make her arrival in January and I just love making lists, planning a budget, and all that fun stuff. So here are a few tips I am following to decrease the amount of “stuff” we don’t need (but still have fun giving gifts), and a what I am giving my son for Christmas.

decluttering christmas

Continue reading

Advertisements

Books kids love

I currently work at a school library that serves 1st thru 6th graders. I am in charge of making sure the children know how to use the library, check-in and check-out books, and pretty much anything else book related. I enjoy it, and believe it or not, it is actually fairly fast-paced. Also, I get a first-hand look at what books kids love! I read to the first and second graders and receive their input about the books, and I see what the 3rd-6th graders are checking out and requesting.

So what’s on the list?

favorite books for todays kids

Continue reading

DIY succulent planters and gifts

I know succulent projects are everywhere, but I just can’t get enough! I probably have 10 pots of succulents in the backyard and I started a succulent garden in the front yard, but I still bought several different varieties when I went to the home improvement store this weekend. My husband doesn’t agree that you can never have too many succulents.

Forget flowers and chocolate, I would much rather have succulents! In fact, that’s what my husband brought me for Mother’s Day; the large hen he bought is now finally producing chicks! I’ve surpassed my exclamation mark limit, but I really love succulents, especially sempervivums (the “hens and chicks” that produce babies). They are easy to grow, and the babies they reproduce are easy to replant. This makes succulents great to cultivate at home then make gifts and creative planters. Need a hostess gift? New neighbor? A friend’s birthday? Grab some succulents and throw them together in a cute way and you have a unique gift that will literally, keep on giving. The hard part is figuring out exactly what to do with your plants.

So here are just a few ideas!

DIY succulent planters and gifts

Continue reading

Christmas in Review: Gift Giving

I love Christmas. I love getting together with all my crazy family, baking too many sweets, and getting presents for all my loved ones. Every year, however, I think about how much stuff we buy for each other that has no sentimental value and will probably be forgotten before next Christmas has come around and that makes me kind of sad. Why waste so much money on things we don’t need and may only temporarily enjoy? Is the materialistic part of Christmas that important?

I had a wonderful Christmas this year, but next year I plan on doing things a little differently. With plans to buy a house and a baby on the way, we will probably be pinching more pennies than we are right now. Plus, it gets tiring buying gifts for those family members that have everything and can buy themselves whatever their heart may desire. I find it so much more enjoyable to buy gifts for those who don’t get to indulge, those who may not be able to afford those new shoes, and those who enjoy homemade gifts because the know it’s from the heart.

I have a whole year to plan for Christmas 2012 (in baby steps!) and I think I have an idea of what to give to those family members that have everything (and incidentally, tend not to be crafty and don’t appreciate handmade gifts as much).

Instead of spending money on fancy wine or other gifts for those with a bit more expensive tastes, I want to focus on family.

The plan: My goal is to take more pictures of family gatherings and turn it into gifts, whether it be in the form of photo books, agendas, calenders, or some other personalized item. It also makes it easier that we are expecting the first grandbaby on both sides and grandparents love baby pictures! Hello baby picture ornaments.

Anyone else thinking about more personalized gift giving?