I think lots of us who have had a childhood of magical Christmases with lots-of-plenty and then a-bit-more-just-in-case would struggle to connect minimalism with Christmas… or not without feeling like a Grinch! Or at least Scrooge with his “bah humbug!” to Christmas…
Some people don’t even like minimalism. They think of houses with no personality and very few chairs.
Why would anyone want to do that at Christmas?!?
I don’t. But I don’t like it at any time.
Color and personality and life and vibrancy are what I think is needed in a home.
[Can I just say here that minimalism is not a bad thing!? We all need to consider what we spend our money on and not buy things that we end up having to clean and maintain and then throw away unless they really are useful! And minimalism doesn’t mean having nothing or having boring things! It means only having the things we really need and love and getting rid of extra clutter… well that’s how I do it to organize calm in our life.]
We have moved into a house that has reasonably new wallpaper of a beige color. I should be happy since it is decent quality wallpaper and it doesn’t look awful… but if it were grotty and old then I could more easily justify painting over it!!
And it really isn’t bad. It is just bland.
Especially with the beige carpets and beige curtains…
So there is no color or life or personality!
Having our Christmas tree up does help, but I may need more decorations in this very boring house! Bring on the Christmas lights!! 😉
I don’t really go in for small or quiet especially for Christmas. It’s not what I grew up with.
We always either stayed with family or had wider family stay with us. There were lots of extra people and several days’ worth of special food and treats. As well as LOTS of presents on the day itself.
I loved it.
But our gorgeous boy has sensory issues and big everything at Christmas has been too overwhelming for him since he was tiny.
So having only a few well-chosen presents is definitely a better way to do Christmas for him… and it helped us realize that we come into Christmas with a lot less stress when we are not worrying about getting as many presents as we can afford to!
We also get more time to spend doing fun activities together, like gingerbread houses, and making decorations. Good memories, as well as rich learning experiences, win every time!
Pinterest is such a wonderful source of ideas and it was there that I saw the concept of 4 presents for kids at Christmas: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.
Simple and brilliant.
But I realized that this can start when they are babies.
Our wee people are so new and fresh to all experiences. It’s so much fun watching them discover their world!
After all, how many of us need to hide or guard the Christmas tree so that baby doesn’t pull it over or pull everything off it?!?
[We went simple with our tree after our wee boy was born. It was easier and less stress for us all. It also didn’t make him unhappy with flashing lights!]
But introducing things slowly is a good way to help them adapt and take it in, and most of all be able to enjoy it!
After our first Christmas, we asked our family to do less in the way of presents for him. We ended up keeping half of his present for the following week since he was so overwhelmed by it all. And that wasn’t fun for anyone!
SO… I do not want you to be a Grinch. But using this minimal Christmas gift guide for babies may be a way to start new traditions with your baby to keep focus on things other than just the presents!
Something They Want
Finding out what your kids want is not too tricky. Even when they don’t speak yet, most kids make their desires fairly clearly felt!
I think these soft cars would fall into a “want” category.
Bath toys. Everyone wants bath toys. Except my husband who complains how much water gets spilled with them… but apart from him, everyone wants them!
Every year my mother gets this out, and without fail all the kids that you think would be too old for it play with it anyway! It is fun – and sturdy! It has lasted for years of play.
Rudolph is so cute. So I had to include him
Something They Need
This is also usually not too tricky to figure out.
Teething is not a fun time. Try a gingerbread teething toy to help. It really does look like it should be eaten!
Or this one that keeps a pacifier in place as well. My son was ALWAYS losing his and then crying…
And to go with it
Useful once kids start on solids and go into that messy phase of wanting to feed themselves:
Something To Wear
Clothes were the staple Christmas present in Tanzania where I grew up. New clothes and then a big meal was how Christmas was celebrated.
And how cute are some of the outfits for baby’s first Christmas?!?
So deciding to keep it to one outfit will help keep it in check.
I have suggested some gorgeous outfits before, but here are some more I think are just too cute!
Something To Read
Can I confess that this was always my favorite and I hoped I had mostly book presents when I was growing up?!? Yeah, geek alert.
We were recommended this book to get our son into reading… it is lovely!
The silent noisy night that Jesus was born seems a good choice for Christmas.
Another Christmas book… tis the season!
Lift the flap books are awesome… and this one talks about finding Christmas presents!
I think this book is really more like a toy, but it is just so fun!
This “my first word” soft book is a winner as well.
I hope this helps you to stop and think about what you buy for your littles this year.
Remember that all the things you do with them are putting precious memories into their wee heads, and helping their brains grow healthy and strong – which is all good news! And more reason to keep the presents simple so you have more time to enjoy time with them.