A Merry Cluttermas?
I went into Christmas this year with good intentions. My four kids were only going to get a few gifts they would really use. I was going to do my best to not add to the disaster that is our house. I really wanted our focus to be more on the real meaning of Christmas and not the “stuff”. It did not work out as planned.
Where did it go wrong?
First of all, I didn’t take into consideration that we are not the only ones that buy our children gifts. We have grandparents, brothers, cousins, and friends who also give gifts. Some do better than others. Some do very well and buy things my children truly use. But some have totally forgotten what it was like to have small children in the house and pick the one thing in the store that makes tons of noise and has no “off” button. Unfortunately, my children use these too. In fact, they tend to leave these kind of toys right front of the bathroom, so that I step on it at three o’clock in the morning and have no way of shutting the dang thing up.
I can totally tell that Chinese toy makers only have one child. Toys seem to get more and more obnoxious every year. They are either ridiculously loud with no volume control or off button, have a million hard little pieces that get stepped on and kill your feet, or they have parts, or even worse clothes, that little hands just can’t seem to work and they need you to help them play with it. I swear it’s the Chinese getting revenge on us for owing them so much money.
I’ve tried removing the batteries, when I can find our tiny little baby screwdriver set that never seems to be where it should be. But, children today are pretty tech savvy and either they figure out how to replace them or they get one of the older kids to do it. Then, I sit down to watch TV and can’t figure out why the TV won’t turn on. Of course, the batteries are gone out of the remote.
Second, not only do we have relatives that are kind and generous enough to purchase our children presents, a couple of our children also, despite our best attempts not to, end up each year on charity gift giving lists such as Angel Tree, etc.
A little history is required here. Only one of our four children came the normal way. You know, I got knocked up, then got married, and then gave birth. The other three have come a not so normal way. Someone else got knocked up but, was unable to care for their children, and God saw fit to send them our way.
Two of our children are adopted and a third is in the process of being adopted. And, because the two youngest came from the CPS/Foster Care system, some well-meaning person somewhere puts my already spoiled-rotten children on some “needy” list. I have managed to remove my children from a couple of these lists but, we apparently got added to a couple of new ones last Christmas with the new baby. I do appreciate the thought and I’m sure the vast majority of kids on these lists are actually in need of Christmas presents. However, my children have more than they could possibly need.
I’m not going to be rude and refuse these well-meaning, good people’s gifts. And once the children have opened the presents, I’m not going to be some “Mommy Dearest” and immediately take their new toys away. But, it results in way too much.
So, I will do as any good mother does. I will wait. Then, someday, in the not too distant future, but long enough for them to not really remember everything they got, I will go into their bedrooms when they’re not home and remove a few carefully selected toys (generally the noisy ones or the “foot-killers”) from their mess and place them in a black trash bag and take them directly out to the trash. They’ll never even notice they’re their gone. That’s how many toys they have.
I know, I know! I should take them to Goodwill or some place like that. But there’s a drawback in that. I have to box them up and then the box has to sit somewhere waiting until I have time to get to the Goodwill. During that time, I have a high risk of getting busted. Some kid is going to look in the back my car or the hall closet and say, “Hey, what are you doing with my toys in this box?” It’s a risk I’m unwilling to take. And, quite frankly, no one, not even people that shop at Goodwill, needs a toy you can’t turn off.
What can I do next year to make it different? I have no idea! I thought I had it under control this year.