Friday, December 3, 2010

So Let's Talk About Downsizing Christmas

This is a toughie.

Let me start by saying that we haven't done big holiday celebrations in years.  We have long been intentional that the holidays shouldn't be about stuff, and finances have been limited for a few years anyway.

Last year some relatives and friends bought our kids some store-bought items, but aside from what was in the kid's stockings, they received nothing from us that wasn't made by us.

I have absolutely no craft skills, and amazingly, I was able to find things to make and it was a lot of fun.  We made such exciting things for the kids as:
  • A rope ladder (made with repurposed materials)
  • Balance beams (made with repurposed materials)
  • A stationary kit
  • A writing-practice book
  • A "phone book" with photos of their loved ones and their phone numbers
The kids made such exciting things for each other as:
  • Cookies
  • A bracelet
  • A "flaming chalice" (religious symbol)
This year just feels tougher for some reason.  I think part of it is that I used up so many of my best ideas last year.  I feel stumped.  And part of the reason I am stumped is also that we are moving into this dinky little apartment and really won't have room for more stuff as of this summer.  In fact, the kids are now aware of our plans to downsize, and this has them all worried about Christmas. 

I keep trying to think of things that will be exciting but not take up space, and everything I can think of takes skills to make that I don't have.  Not to mention that there is an issue with our kids becoming older and facing more conversations with peers who are looking forward to a wide variety of expensive store-bought items.  It makes me glad about the fact that even though my kids invest in the game of pretending Santa is real, they also know that it is a game.  It is easier to explain why "Santa" is giving several friends a big, blowout Christmas, and Santa is bringing them just a few little things.  They never asked about it in years past, but they had the privilege of being younger and not hearing so much from their peers.   This year has been rough, rough in terms of peer-to-peer conversations.

So I'm combing the internet for a few things I can manage to make that will be functional but not take a lot of space.  I'm most hoping to come up with something really fun for the kids to do physically indoors (like the rope ladder) that doesn't take a lot of room, as I know in a tiny apartment that we need to be intentional about providing the kids ways to burn off energy when the weather is bad outside.  Otherwise, we have cabin-fever to fear. 

Ideas welcome!

This lovely picture was taken by Sweet Boy by a camera given to him by my parents.


  1. Geeze, I was just reading through old posts on my blog, and I saw your comments and was regretting that we never got together with the kidlets, and now I see that you are moving to another state! Bummer.

    Well, if you have any free time between now and the summer-- I know how crazy-making moving is--it would be great to get together.

  2. Hi Patricia! Now *I* have to go and read through your posts and my comments to remember! Thanks for coming over to my blog. Good to "see" you.