The “Two Toy” Christmas Plan

If Halloween is the season of crap, Christmas is the tsunami of stuff. Excess is the name of the game during the holiday season but, if you’re anything like us, living with multiple kids and all of their belongings every day feels like a Christmas hangover.

Three kids 5 and under means toys… SO many toys. My kindergartener is securely in the hoarding phase, when acorns and no-longer-sticky stickers hold the same value as Barbies and princess dress-ups. She tries to clean up her room at the end of the day but the volume of stuff overwhelms her limited organization skills. Her yelling, “I can’t clean up! I have nowhere to put all of my things!” Spurred concern about the impending Christmas deluge.

With our bank accounts hemorrhaging and playroom brimming with 5 years and 3 kids worth of toys, I knew we needed a Christmas plan. And so I devised the “two toy” rule.

This year, I have told the kids that they get to choose two toy gifts and they will, otherwise, receive just books and needed clothes. How did they respond? Not a single complaint!

On our way to see Santa, I asked what each would be asking for from the big guy. “Rockstar Barbie pink hair and dress-up,” exclaimed my preschooler. “A music player,” said my kindergartener. Knowing that my husband had ordered both of them children’s Kindles for Christmas — thank you Amazon Daily Deals! — I knew the Kindle would already suit her music player needs. So, I asked what else she would want if Santa asked her for a second gift idea. She hemmed and hawed saying a music player was all she wanted.

I didn’t process it in the moment but she only wanted one thing for Christmas… ONE THING! At 5-years old I was circling nearly 90% of the Toys ‘R’ Us catalog for my Christmas wish list. I’m so proud of her, and I’m so glad we limited the Christmas purchasing.

A little less stress. A little less financial burden. A lot more smiles. The makings of a happier holiday season.

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