It was the season of giving and joy, yet I felt completely stressed out. I felt like the only mom who felt like she hadn’t purchased enough for Christmas. Being overwhelmed by the amount of toys they already had was real. Working all day, then coming home to prepare the house for the incoming toys. Toys from us, family and friends and of course toys from Santa. The holiday season was in full effect. Everyone was joyful and shopping, yet I felt like the biggest scrooge on the planet. This article will talk about tips to becoming clutter free during the holidays.
I felt like a failure of a mom because I couldn’t afford more for them.
I was excited to see the kids open gifts on Christmas. But I also knew the excitement would go away as quickly as it came. The shelf life of excitement over a new Christmas toy is about five seconds. Just long enough to discard it and get the next one ready.
Christmas was supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. It was supposed to be squeals of joy, appreciation, and giving. I wanted presence with my loved ones while giving and receiving. Instead I felt buyer’s remorse, shame, and dread over Christmas morning. All I saw was more clean up for me. I tried to ignore the mess until the day after and embrace the chaos, but it never worked.
Why did I buy all this stuff from Santa anyway?
It’s not that I don’t want to give my kids toys. I didn’t want to ignore the giving and receiving part of Christmas, either. I knew deep down that something had to give and I wasn’t doing Christmas right. Christmas felt so empty, despite wanting it to be joy-filled and magical.
On some level I also feared scarring my children with how we did or didn’t do Christmas.
Toys, toys everywhere
I watched my friends and family to see how they did Christmas gifts. Some said they did the four gift rule with a strict criteria. That just seemed too restrictive and boring to me. If I am getting my kids gifts I want them to be exciting and special and make them squeal out of excitement. I heard of friends giving the gift of experiences but I didn’t even know what that meant. My kids were only able to think and process in the present with immediate gratification. They wouldn’t appreciate a zoo pass they could cash in on when the weather warmed up. I’d be better off getting them lint.
Then there is the idea of giving the gift of time, which I don’t like. My time is not so limited I package it up and gift it for Christmas. Our time together in unconditional and abundant and I want them to know and experience that every day.
Our Christmas story changed dramatically.
Fast forward to when we were living in Florida. The first Christmas after being clutter free with no family or friends nearby. We had no money until after Christmas that year. We were unable to purchase gifts for our kids until December 26th. Their young ages skewed their concept of time and we escaped the complicated explanations. It was hard on my mom guilt though. Never had I not been able to afford anything for Christmas. We didn’t even buy a tree. All we had was little run down fake tree our landlord had stored in the garage.
I wasn’t going to let it get me down though. Truth be told, I enjoyed living without the mountains of toys we ditched when we moved. We only brought one suitcase of toys with us. I was quietly excited to not have the mountains of toys. There was a sense of peace and joy that had never penetrated my mama soul during my first years of motherhood. It was like having less stuff to clean up every day gave me my time and energy back. My kids were given the ability to play creatively and I was clutter free. After some introspection I realized my guilt was coming from a place of comparison and gift guides. A big part of me was still yearning to keep up with the Jones’, though. That story is over now.
Christmas does not mean comparison.
I decided to embrace the relief I was feeling clutter free. Experiencing the benefits of less toys and less clutter had already been changing not only my life, but my kids’ as well.
Why was I going to let all that come undone by buying an assembly line of toys for Christmas morning? You know what I’m talking about. The stacks of toys we unwrap at a rapid rate and then discard to the side to make room for the next.
Why do we feel guilty about wanting to keep Christmas simple? Or feel the need to show off our trees with huge piles of gifts? I am not saying to deprive yourself. By all means go crazy with the gift giving if it makes you happy. It’s just not beneficial to do it out of obligation.
Why did I believe that a good Christmas meant excessive gifts?
I vowed to never get to that place of overwhelm, resentment and stress over Christmas again. Since being clutter free in my home, I am able to enjoy the holiday season with ease. When the Christmas season starts I am happy and ready to give and receive. I even love to splurge on giving my children and family!
That Christmas we couldn’t afford toys for our kids was going to be the best one yet.
We went to the beach and made it a new tradition. I remember looking around at the beach feeling abundantly blessed and feeling such a deep satisfaction . I found pure joy in a season that could have totally destroyed me. Why did I almost destroy my worth as a mother for toys my kids wouldn’t even remember?
I want you to know, we do buy our children gifts. We do enjoy giving and receiving. I love seeing their faces light up in excitement because we found them the perfect gift. Our best Christmases happen when we relax together and enjoy the gifts awe gave. The appreciation and gratitude my children express lights up my soul.
The best part of living with less is feeling an overarching sense of joy, peace and well being all the time. I can honestly say that 90% of the time I am happy my life and how it is going. I am free from the burden of chores, and never ending to-do lists. It sounds so cheesy but it’s true. I experience the magic of Christmas in my home year round. When it comes to joy, abundance, presence, giving and receiving our home is never in short supply.
Act of love
Another tip is to to embrace when family and friends go overboard with the gift giving. It is no longer a burden for me to receive gifts from family and friends. See it as an act of love, not more work for you.
No matter what your personal beliefs are, Christmas is a time of giving and receiving. Enjoy this Christmas season with a grateful heart. If you sign up you can see if this whole purging your things this works for you. This free challenge shows you how, Try On Minimalism.
Take this as a gift of a home that is free from messes, laundry piles and clutter free. Imagine giving your kids the gift of an unburdened mom! You and your family deserve that this Christmas.
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