And yet it is always a joy to give to them at Christmas as a very small reflection of the gift that God gave us in His son. Besides the few gifts that we give them, they get an avalanche of toys from the grandparents. If I have said it before, I will say it again, we live in a small house. That being said, a bit of pre-planning is necessary.
Here's my yearly plan of attack:
1) Put a bit of thought into what you buy them (my kids are young enough that I can steer them a little in their decision making). I like to buy them things that will contribute to sets that they already have (this saves space). Make sure the toy will stand the test of time. If its a fadish (yes, a new word) or a novelty item, pass it up.
|disturbing, aren't they!|
2) Clean out what you already have. Go through toy boxes, bins, closets, playrooms. Decide what has been used in the last year, and may be used again. Throw out all items that are broken or have missing parts. Donate toys that are no longer used. Do this when your kids aren't around and they won't miss anything, or engage them in the process and challenge them to come up with X amount of toys to get rid of (in whatever way you choose).
3) As you purchase items (or put them on the grandparents list) think about where you will put that item. Buy storage containers to put these things and tuck them away until the day after Christmas.
Here are a few from land of nod:
|OK, so maybe not this one ;)|
4) Rotate the toys you have. I was challenged this past summer by my friend Julie, who packed up most of her kids toys leaving only a few things to choose from. At first this seemed rather radical to me but I had nothing to lose (but the mess) so I tried it. I was amazed at not only how much cleaner the house stayed but by having fewer toys out the kids actually played with what they had. Now I did allow them to trade one tote for another, but it has made a huge difference in this tiny house. The key to making this work is putting the bins/totes up high in a closet where they can't reach them.
I hope this helps! Doing these steps before things get really busy helps to keep me sane this time of year, and better able to focus on the true reason for the season. May I be the first to wish you Merry Christmas!!!