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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The gift of simplicity

It's 17th December and I've finally finished our Christmas shopping!  I can't believe we've got this far without it being all complete, considering I started in November!  Mum and I have been so busy with The Seashack that time has run away with me.  But it's lovely now to be able to relax......bake......write......have some me-time :-)

I was wrapping up a present that I'd bought for my Daughter earlier and it got me thinking about what we have bought for our children and how it didn't seem like they have many presents.  We have a bit of a rule in our house...something along the lines of less is more.  I will admit I do find it a challenge not to go crazy buying them things.  There is nothing better than seeing that look of joy when they open something they lovely, isn't there? 

One of my fondest memories as a child is waking up on Christmas morning to find a sack full of presents!  It was truly the best bit.  My parents weren't rich and the presents weren't lavish but just the act of unwrapping lots of little bits was so exciting!  As the years went on the sack would get smaller (less presents, each individual one probably costing much more as we got older) and then of course the sack was finished and I think it was the time when Christmas started to get less exciting; when we grew up and knew that Santa wasn't real and the magic sort of ebbed away.  It makes me sound dreadfully shallow; I'm not, I'm really not.  I realise what Christmas is about and I'm not still tragically devastated but at the time it's what I felt. 

Anyway back to our presents 'rule'.  My Husband made the rule and he has a touch of OCD so this is kind of how it originated.  He suggested that we buy the kids one thing between us and then one thing from each of us.  And now we have 2 children they also buy each other something.  So essentially each of them get 4 presents; a gift from Mummy & Daddy, a gift from Mummy, one from Daddy and then one from their sibling.  It sounds so little in this day and age but I think this is only because we are used to giving and getting so much.  It really started for a few reasons:

1) Both of our children get so much from the rest of the family. They are amazingly generous and with 2 sets of Grandparents, 2 Aunts and Uncles and friends, as well as us, they are more than showered with new things :-)

2) We want to live more simply.  This means less of everything; less toys around, less mess, less choice.  We have found that when the kids have less they become less overwhelmed and more likely to enjoy playing with their favourite items.  We still have many different types of toys but if they aren't playing with it, it gets put away or given to charity if it's not needed.  Having less around and less stored away has so many benefits - I'll do a blog on this very soon. 

3) We would rather save the money for experiences together in the future.  That £100 that we don't spend on toys that they probably don't 'need' can sit in our account for a holiday in the future or days out. 
And are the children worried at all about what they don't get?  No, of course not - that's all in my head :-)  The few items that we have chosen for our 4-year-old he has been going on and on about for months and he will be over the moon!  He knows no different; this is how it has always been and hopefully this is the basis for us teaching him simplicity, gratitude and less is more :-) 

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! 

Gemma xx