I’ve done it before, and I’m sure you have too. Bought things and then spent time regretting the increase of STUFF and MESS. It never brought us more joy and it certainly didn’t bring us more peace, so why did I do it?
Several years ago, I clued in that for my daughter GETTING something was more important to her than HAVING it. In the store, she loved having something bought for her and then promptly forgot all about it once home. Ugh! In addition, having both my kids’ birthdays and Christmas within a few short months of each other, every year our home exploded with stuff we didn’t need. So I finally started cash parties for the kids (genius) as well as buying gifts for their friends following my three rules for gifting.
It must be:
- Useful – Is it something practical that has real use in every day life? Not something that looks cute or smells nice but something the recipient would actually benefit from ~ home appliance or gadget, for example, or the desk my parents bought Jonah for his bedroom as well as the Uggs they gifted Brooklyn.
- Purposeful – Does it provide meaning or have purpose in it’s intent? Jonah’s Women of Nasa Lego set from Christmas fell into this category specifically because of it’s promoting these women but also because it provides creative time, specifically time away from electronics. And as luck would have it, provided time for him and I to bond while we built it together. Also important is that it has a home once Jonah’s desk is build, so it’s not something that will be left laying around.
- Consumable – Can it be eaten or used up, leaving nothing lying around. I gave my parents tickets to the upcoming production of MoTown the Musical because quite honestly, they buy what they want, don’t need anything at all (and want to downsize in the coming years), and they both love the theatre. The Tim Horton’s gift cards we gifted my brother and the Starbucks cards he gifted us are also perfect examples of this.
I also have a fourth rule in terms of buying things for myself and that is that is must have an immediate place to be kept. If I don’t have room for it, it can be cute/nice/smell good, and even useful and still stay in the store.
In terms of buying gifts for the kids’ friends, we buy either a dinner gift card (to make memories with a parent) or a gift card for an experience: go karts, pedicure, virtual reality arcade, board gamerie, etc. and the odd time, if I knew that child was saving for something, we would give straight cash.
For my kids’ birthdays, I can honestly say that giving an actual gift hasn’t been something I’ve done. It feels weird as I type that but it’s sort of how it just worked out. We always do a special birthday dinner at their choice of restaurant and usually (except this past year), a really fun (and usually pricey) birthday party.
BUT Christmas is a different story…so in keeping with the simplifying theme, here’s what this past Christmas looked like for my kids:
From Santa: Onesie Pyjamas, EOS Lip Balm, Chocolate Bar, Ipod Charge Chords
From Each Other: Mermaid Pillows
From My Parents: Desk (Jonah), Uggs (Brooklyn), Bar Stools (both)
From My Brother: Starbucks Gift Cards
Everything fit in perfectly with my rules/requirements and even post-Christmas, I am happy with everything purchased and/or gifted.
Do you follow certain rules when purchasing items?