Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
I’ve started stocking up for Christmas. I’m not entirely sure this is a good idea. In the past, when my children were younger, I’d sometimes see something six months before Christmas that I thought would make a good gift. By the time Christmas came ’round, I’d realized that my child was too old / too young / no longer interested in X, so now my gift needed to be re-gifted. (Do you call it re-gifting when it’s never even been gifted once?)
My caution about stocking up is compounded by my once good idea that went bad on me: Having a gift box full of a choice of generic gifts, purchased on sale, for my children to select from when they were invited to parties. The reason this idea went bad wasn’t because I made poor choices. It’s because I had about 10 gifts to choose from, and around 3rd or 4th grade, my children were no longer invited to every party for every child in their classes. Instead, they were only invited to a few select parties a year, meaning two things – 1.) that they’d prefer to pick out a special gift for the special friend and 2.) that they aged out of the gifts I’d stored up because they weren’t using the box so frequently. (If you have children in preschool and early elementary and a couple of children of mixed ages, I still recommend the gift box; just cut off your buying in 2nd grade or so.)
Buying gifts too far in advance can lead to clutter, incovenience, and an excess of spending, all things we’d like to avoid. So why have I bravely started stocking up this year? Well, for one thing, my children are older and their interests and abilities aren’t changing on a monthly basis. For another, it’s October: Christmas isn’t really that far away. (If you shop at Wal-Mart or Costco, you might think it was next week!) In addition, I’ve decided that the positive aspects of buying in advance outweigh my fear of going wrong.
- Buying in advance allows for slow and careful purchasing. I can shop for the best price or possibly find my items used (for example, a book).
- I can purchase when there’s a sale.
- I will avoid panic shopping at the last minute, which is good for my mental health and prevents rash “grab anything for Aunt Myrtle” gifts: Gifts that are doomed from the beginning to become clutter at Aunt Myrtle’s house.
- I have time to weigh the value of a gift against the cost or other factors without having to make quick decisions.
- When we buy all our gifts at once or in a short time, it’s easy to toss one more or two or ten more last minute items or stocking stuffers into our cart without thinking, wasting money and creating clutter.
The most important task you have to make this successful is to keep a list of what you’ve purchased and ideas for things you might want to purchase (or make). A list will keep you from getting carried away, will make you aware of how many gifts you’ve already purchased and prevent you from skewing your gifts too heavily in one direction (like the year Clara got about 10 pair of earrings. By the end, she was less than completely thrilled). Remember that gift cards, tickets to events, or promises to special outings make wonderful clutter-free gifts. (Also, Colleen has a list of un-clutter gifts under “Guides” at the top of the page. These list are definitely worth exploring and considering.)
I’ve started stocking up for Christmas, have you?
Today’s Mini Mission
Take action on something that you want to declutter but aren’t sure how best to move it on. Maybe it’s time you investigated the possibilities.
Today’s Declutter Item
This book was just one small thing my daughter had left behind.
Eco Tip for the Day
Don’t use throw away cleaning wipes. They have them for cleaning wood, kitchen spills, television screens, make-up removal etc etc. You can do all these jobs with a little water and a microfibre cloth that can be washed and used over and over again.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast