In our house of 6 people, the stuff of holidays can start to get a bit overwhelming. Not the events, we’ve got that pretty much under control. We decide where we’ll go, what events we’ll attend, what parties we’ll pop in on and it’s all determined on a case by case and day by day basis. “What are we ready for?” Seems to be the guiding question this time of year. A sort of variation on our usual theme of “is this working for us?”
The stuff I’m talking about in the overwhelm department is the actual physical stuff. We’ve just finished up a round of birthdays for everyone except me. We’ve kind of got what we need and even the kids are really not clamoring for much more. Especially our oldest who has a bit of the minimalist in her.
But then the holidays arrive and with it the stuff.
It’s not a consumption thing I’m worried about. We’ve got that down pretty good. We buy second hand or we go handmade – either our own or someone else’s. But still, it’s stuff. More stuff in our house and honestly we’re about full up.
This month we’ve been getting rid of things. It’s sort of become our tradition – the idea of getting rid of something everyday during the month of December. We missed a few days early in the month so our resident minimalist had everyone play a little catch up last week. She set the bag out on the kitchen table and facilitated the purging of stuff. Going through treasure drawers, under beds, on dresser tops, etc. It felt good for everyone to clear a little space and we all agreed, a clear space creates a more clear mind.
What I’ve realized will help eliminate the overwhelm as we enter this gift giving season is giving and receiving gifts that are consumables. Not just the sweets – although they are really good of course – but other consumables as well. Things such as a Yule Log decorated in school that can then be burned in the fire pit. Beeswax candles that bring joy every time they’re illuminated. Or the case of toilet paper that my mom sent. (is that the best gift ever for a family of six? I think so) A giant ham. All those things bring joy (yes a case of toilet paper brings me joy) and then they are used up and gone, not claiming any permanent residence in our world.
As I enter this season, or rather as we are in the midst of it, I ponder this idea. How might that apply to kids? Art supplies I guess would fall into that category. Or a class of some kind. Or maybe an outing. And even if we don’t do all consumables, because surely we won’t, we’re going to really try and ponder the energy of each object brought into the home. Will it bring energy to our world? Or will it take energy away?
I find it difficult sometimes to walk the gift giving line with kids. But we’re trying. And each year I think we figure something else out that helps us make it work for our family.
What have you figured out in your world? I’d love to know.