Toy-Free Christmas & Limits

As a family, we have so much.  So many things to be thankful for, so many blessings, so much love.  We have trekked through over 6 years of marriage, up and down, around and through.  We have triumphed, conquered, and won a lot of battles, and we have also faltered, crashed and burned, and failed in much more.  We have welcomed three incredible tiny humans into our family, and made a mess of parenting, learning as we go.  Lately, our hearts have seen a need in our family.  Its not easy to define.  The same way a smell is hard to describe.  But Brandon and I have seen it, and we both are working to meet the need.  Our little ladies feel like they are at a turning point where a lot of what their character and behavior will end up looking like, is being shaped right now.  Silly you may think, but we see the need for them to be urged along in the right direction.

So with the season of Christmas upon us, we are taking every opportunity to teach them.  And we have seen how Christmas ends up teaching them back.  Sometimes it hasn’t been great things.  Last year they surged through an all day marathon of Christmas on Christmas day, and then for the next two weeks, they kept thinking every time we saw family, there would be gifts for them.  It was crazy.  We had taught them all about giving, and they learned to love giving, but Christmas also taught them about getting… and my little girls sure love getting.  Haha, and in last years case, they loved it a little too much.

So this year as we approach Christmas day, along with teaching them about Christ, about giving, about celebration, merriment, hope, and love, we are also teaching them about limits.  We are gently showing them how limits work.  “Yes you may have some yummy reindeer chow, but no you can not have a whole bowlful.”  Seriously, I have to teach that to them.  My second born would eat the entire kitchen full of reindeer chow if we let her.  She needs rules.  She needs those limits.  So this year we are limiting the day.  We aren’t going to do an all day long marathon.  They can’t do it.  We laugh about it because for the last 3 years we have said at the end of the day that ‘next year we can’t do this the same way’ and then we end up putting ourselves in the same situation, haha, you all know you have done the same thing once or twice.  Am I right?  Now that we have 3 kids in the mix, we are finally limiting the day.  We are hoping by having a calmer evening at home, with only one big morning, our kids will be able to soak in the day and we’ll have time for them, for their needs.  To get on the floor and play with each of them as they enjoy their new “whatevers”.  To let the little ones nap and rest.  And the whole day won’t fly by without us pausing to enjoy it.

Another new thing we are doing this year is a toy-free Christmas.  Call me crazy.  I don’t mind, sometimes I sure feel like I am.  But as soon as the words slipped out of our mouths, we both knew that a toy-free Christmas is what we wanted.  The way we have toys set up in our house makes it easy to do this.  We already have lots of great toys that fill up their imagination for hours.  The girls don’t really have any ‘wants’ for certain toys.  And we feel like by doing a toy-free year, we might end up stumbling upon some fun new gift that becomes a sort of tradition.  I definitely don’t think it would be something every family would enjoy doing, want to do, or need to do.  But for us, it works, or at least, we are hoping it’ll work.  We found great books for the girls, and some fun clothing items that they would enjoy and also need, and then we are also re-decorating their room for them as a surprise gift.  When you have 3 kids sharing 1 room, its a challenge to fit everything in there, so we are hoping to get their sleeping situation improved, and then put a fun place for reading books and story time.  Our stocking stuffers are all fun things they love like stickers, dried fruit, cookie mixes, coloring books, crafty items, hair accessories, and some of their favorite foods that we don’t always buy.  I am hoping that their Christmas experience this year will be a turn for the better.  That they won’t be as exhausted and instead be able to soak up lots of fun and love.  And they’ll be able to enjoy more than just ‘getting’ this year.  We are infusing their days leading up to it will lots of little lessons, giving times, and fun family activities.

If I look back, I can remember the Christmas when I was 5.  It is just about the first Christmas I actually remember.  So this year might be the first one that Shiloh remembers for the rest of her life.  And I want her to remember great things, and to feel cherished, to remember being a part of it all.  I can’t wait for the many years to come when these little ladies will join in more with cooking, baking, and all the things that make Christmas magical for me.  Or maybe they’ll be like their Daddy and get in the season by finding a Christmas tree… or being outside in the snow.  Or both.  But we are finally taking the time to think more about them, and about being intentional with them for Christmastime.


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