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DREAMING OF LIVING IN A CLEAN, AIRY, UNCLUTTERED HOME THIS CHRISTMAS

It is the day before Christmas Eve and I am feeling the rush to prepare for the festivities. I still have not completed the menu for Christmas Day and shopped for all the food. I am not exactly sure what everyone is getting in their stockings!

There are still boxes of decorations that I am not using this year that need to be sorted and returned to the basement. I finally found the second set of outdoor lights but it is too late to put them up because I went out and bought new ones. So that box needs to go away too! 

And I have finally wrapped the bag of presents for my daughter - which she has already discovered in the back of my closet. Luckily she did not go too deeply into the bags. She believed the story that Santa was only storing them briefly at our house but would be picking them up, wrapping them and delivering them again on Christmas Eve. Yes, my daughter is 4 and she bought the story. But only because she will do anything to maintain the surprise for Christmas morning presents.

Last year I asked that all gifts for my daughter be focused on “building experiences” - activities that could be done jointly with the gift giver. I am a single Mom and sometimes it is hard to be the one parent that does all things - sports, art, story reading, etc. She was given a day at the Toronto Zoo with some friends, a day making pottery with her Aunt, a toboggan and skates from other family members. It was a wonderful holiday and all the gifts provided fun and shared memories with my daughter that have lasted into this year! Yes, the skates and helmet still fit and tickets to see Celebration on Ice were given this year!

This year it is an emphasis on board games and dress-up costumes, accessories and anything else that is full of drama! But I struggle every year with the amount of “things” we accumulate. I like “things”. I am very grateful that my brother bought me a new computer this year - it is a wonderful “thing”. But needing and/or wanting “things” for Christmas teaches my daughter to possess and accumulate a lot of stuff. I am already a bit of a lost cause but feel really, really guilty!

So it was timely to read Verde of MomGrind great guest blog at Zen Habits. Verde wrote "How to be a Great Mom - 12 Awesome Tips". Number 8 on her list resonated with me.

Teach them simplicity. You will do them a big – a HUGE – favor, if you teach them at a young age to avoid associating happiness with the accumulation of material possessions. The younger they are, the more likely they are to listen to you, so start early. My kids are 6 and 8, and I often feel that now is the time to instil my values in them, before they are teens (or pre-teens) and peer pressure takes over. When it’s time to de-clutter, I allow my daughters to be part of the process, and we talk about how we don’t need all that STUFF. We never go shopping as a fun outing. They know that shopping is a necessary evil, something that you do when you really NEED something. Instead of buying books, we borrow books at the library. We reuse as much as we can. Together, we take pride in living in a clean, airy, uncluttered home.

So my personal goal this holiday season will be to reduce the amount of shopping I do and to de-clutter our house! As much as my family enjoys opening new gifts we need to be mindful of adding to the existing clutter. I think this Boxing Day I will start a new tradition for my family of purging the house before the New Year! Maybe others can add to the list of ways to teach our kids simplicity!

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