Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas - Keep It Simple, Keep it Fun

Several months ago during a big bout of decluttering I e-mailed several of the homeschooling groups I'm on with the question:

"I've been doing a lot of decluttering this year, and I'm amazed at how many things I've paid a decent amount of money for that hardly got used. The idea of buying a bunch of 'stuff' just so there is 'stuff' under the tree makes me shudder. Any big Christams ideas out there?"

Thank goodness for really smart moms! There were so many wonderful replies, but it took me till just recently to read through them all (slacker!). I'm posting them for the benefit of all, and because of length, I've organized them into three posts.

One year we did a "Pioneer Christmas" where everything was handmade, even from their father. We did give books as that is a traditions in our family.

All the decorations were handmade, except electric lights for safety. We made Swedish hearts and pasted pictures of ancestors on them and showed our genealogy starting with the kids pictures and descending down the family lines as far as we could go in pictures. (We color coded families). All this we hung on the tree and told stories of each ancestor during the Christmas season.

My kids thought it was the best Christmas ever and want to do it again.


One year we bought just books for our children. I had them make a list of what they wanted in their personal library and we bought them. I think the kids enjoyed (and still enjoy) those presents more than any they got any other year.


Our kids get one present from us. I know they'll get other things from grandma and grandpa so we especially try to underplay the present part of Christmas.

We LOVE to do service projects for Christmas as the main focus, I buy Christmas stories at DI and we read them, trying to focus on why we celebrate Christmas.

One year I wrapped up all the Christmas books, including the Bible and Book of Mormon and put THEM under the tree. I think I had 20 or so, we opened one each day and read it, ending with the traditional Bible verses. That year was a big hit.


Along that line, we checked out a book this week called "Christmas Stories" adapted from the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. A friend of mine told me she read them to her kids one year and it helped get the perspective that more isn't always better.

I have also found that when you try to do the "big" Christmas, and then say the next year money is tight, then your kids feel let down. Or they begin to always expect the "big" Christmas. If you keep it smaller all the time then they are more appreciative to what they are getting and I think they respect their toys are take care of them more. If you have extra money, then save it.

We also spend less at Christmas so that we have extra money throughout the year to buy those little things for the kids. Like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, water toys, etc. Just the things you pick up throughout the year for fun. This way the kids aren't getting a lump of toys at Christmas and then having to wait a long time for more new stuff. It's kind of like spreading Christmas out through the year.


No name on this one but I think it's so fun!

Santa blows up a whole bunch of balloons and they get spread under the tree and around the stockings. It looks like there is a lot of "stuff" without a lot of cost or waste. My kids have loved playing with the balloons as much as anything else on Christmas.

You know they love the boxes best - toss some balloons into the mix.

Teaser for the next set of ideas - three gifts.

Read more "Talk About Tuesday" with the Lazy Organizer!


  1. Awesome ideas! I will have to add these to my own list of things to make the holidays special. Thank you for sharing :)

  2. I love the felt ornament picts! Maybe we need to have a felt playing party day.