A Simple Tip to Get Less Stuff This Christmas

It’s officially November. While I can appreciate the wishes of folks to push Christmas off until after Thanksgiving, I’m determined and excited to start planning and preparing early, shopping and wrapping early, and ultimately enjoying the holiday season in a far less stressful, more meaningful way.

So, today’s little holiday simplification tip starts with me. Or you. In other words, this is as much for you as it is the people who will be buying for you.

For the past *counts on fingers* um, several Christmases, I found myself looking under the tree at a couple piles of things I’d received. They were all purchased with a high level of love and thoughtfulness, I’m sure. A bunch were from my husband; others were from my mother and mother-in-law, and a couple were from other friends or family. And, admittedly, about 1/2 of it (sometimes less), I liked. Like, at all.

The guilt of unappreciativeness is rough. I’m always so grateful when I receive a gift, sometimes overly so, even if it’s something I’m not keen about. I’m a bit of a people-pleaser in that way; I hate hurting someone’s feelings, so why bring it up? But, so much ends up in the donate pile or just sitting, taking up precious space, going unused…and I feel horrible about it. 

So, this year, I made my Christmas list early. Or, at least, early by my standards. My mom probably would’ve preferred it in July. Heck, there was a time (when I clearly only shopped for a few people) when I got my shopping done before September. True story.

Anyhoo, yeah. On my list, Dave asked me to write down EVERYTHING I want, even if it’s a bit of a fantastic idea. I still feel like I have a couple of small, unimportant things to add to it, but for the most part, it’s solid. Tons of stuff I know I won’t get (too expensive), and secure knowing that I’ll probably get a couple. Or maybe I’ll at least get some money towards that more expensive stuff to save up for. Either way, all appreciated stuff. 

And, regardless, you can’t stop people from buying you random crap. You just can’t. I wish I could put out a big ol’ billboard on a local highway that says, “Seriously. I’d prefer a gift card to West Elm or Target. Love, Meg.” ‘Cause I really would.

By the way, I think one reason that I made a list with purpose this year is that the past few years I haven’t put much thought into what I wanted. I’ve truly only desired the, “All I want is everyone to be happy and healthy” and “just happy moments with the family” wishes for Christmas, so I’m sure this is why I’ve got unwanted stuff. With Hadman around, we’ve become even less materialistic (kid…crap…multiplies), and just time well spent with him is by far the best present I could have. It still is. I even jotted that down (along with Dave’s happiness, in all honesty) on the list. It’s true. And we both hate asking for ANY thing in the first place. If we all decided to buy a little less (both of our moms tend to get a lot), it would probably help the percentages, too. 😉

So, anyway, detailed list (even organized by clothes, entertainment (books/DVDs/etc), housewares, awesomeness “dream” items) + plenty of time for the giftee = far less crap to figure out where to go this Christmas. Hence the simplification. 😉 Otherwise, vague list (or no list at all) = too much stuff you don’t want.   

What about you guys? Do you know what you want? Are you keeping it simple this year? Have you already created your list? Are you still in a candy coma and would prefer I not even be talking about the “C” word yet? 😉

My next step is to finalize what I’m getting everyone else. Dave gave me his list, as did my mother, and Hadley’s is a constant work in progress. So, it’s the fun time where I have to truly figure out things for the people I’m clueless about. Any suggestions accepted and welcome!

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