The following is a guest post from Holly Johnson. Holly is a 32-year-old wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She blogs about saving money, frugal habits, and whatever is on her mind at ClubThrifty.com. If interested in submitting a guest post, please read myguest posting policy and then contact me.
I have a confession to make. At this point, I am not super religious. I still like holidays though- particularly Christmas. And even though I have never made the connection between baby Jesus’s birthday and me giving my kid a stuffed Dora doll, I still participate in the holiday. Why? It’s fun. I love Christmas and the excitement that builds up before the holiday. I love watching my kids sweet little faces open up their few gifts. I love the family get togethers where we share a big meal and spend some quality time together- all of us. I truly love the holidays.
At the same time, I start dreading Christmas this time of year. Winter is coming, and I start getting stressed out because I know that a whole hoard of wild new toys are about to invade my house. This is probably going to make me sound like a heartless Mommy Dearest, but I really hate my kid’s toys. Few of them are functional and most of them are pointless. All of the toys with multiple pieces are incomplete, and thus unusable. My kids only have a few toys that they actually play with and enjoy, and the rest of them are taking up valuable space in my home. Once a month or so, I even go through them and get rid of a few. Yet, I still have soooooooo many toys.
I have never given my kids much for Christmas. Last year, I probably spent about $150 combined on the two of them. This year I will give them less. Here’s why.
1. They have so many toys. They already have so much and most of it goes unused. I will probably spend their Christmas money on clothes, books, and other things that are practical.
2. It’s unfriendly to the environment. Most toys are cheaply made and don’t last. It is simply wasteful to purchase and create a demand for toys that have such a short lifespan only to end up in landfills.
3. Toys are a bad investment. No matter how much you pay for a nice toy, they almost always lose their value. Many of the nice things I have bought my children were later sold in a garage sale for 50 cents!
4. I want to set expectations low. I don’t want to set a precedent that I will be unable or unwilling to meet in years to come. I don’t want my kids to expect to be showered with mountains of gifts. I don’t want them to ever expect birthdays parties like those featured on Mtv’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen!”
5. I think there are better uses for our money. We will probably opt to put an extra chunk of money in our kid’s college funds instead of buying them excess gifts.
Don’t worry, I will buy my angels some Christmas gifts from Santa. They may be used, or bought on clearance, or inexpensive, but the kids won’t notice or care. They will be too busy playing with the boxes that they came in.