Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Living with Less

We have my kids birthday parties during the summer and enjoy entertaining and having lots of family and friends over to celebrate. However, I'm not thrilled about having lots of toys to add to our already growing collection. Also, I don't want to have neighbors and acqaintances feel obligated to have to buy something to bring. So, I introduced the concept of a donation party to my kids when they were 4 years old. It's not always easy for them to accept this, but I've stuck to my decision and they still get the select toys that they really want and appreciate from us and closer relatives.

I describe more about the donation party below, along with a few other ideas, coming from a local Holistic Moms group meeting that I attended back in 2005, and from other sources regarding how to curb the excess materialism and prevent the "buy me!" syndrome with your kids:

1. Ask your relatives to cut back on the number of presents they give to your kids (this is a tough one, especially with "old school" family members, or long distance grandparents).

2. Ask for clothes, instead of toys.

3. Request gift certificates, savings bonds, or money for college fund.

4. Suggest giving books, instead of toys.

5. Donation Birthday Party, where guests are asked to bring either new or gently used books, videos, etc. to donate to a local charity. I did this with my six year old, for two years in a row. It wasn't easy, he wasn't too happy about it, but I did remind him, quite often, that he would be getting the toys on his "list" from us, and from his aunts & uncles.

6. For every new toy received, an old toy has to be donated.

(There are definitely more ideas out there, this is just a quickie summary).

Otherwise, as moms, we find it very frustrating to try to fight the Media, the Mega-toy stores and the Message that society conveys: "gotta have that! I NEED to have that!".

What are your thoughts or suggestions on how we can make a difference with our children to curb the excess toy syndrome? What can we do to try and reinforce this change of habit with our kids, to "Live with Less" stuff? Feel free to post your thoughts in the Comments section.

If you need a hand with getting your own stuff under control, feel free to contact me or visit my website at www.Sort-Things-Out.com.

I look forward to helping you Sort Things Out, one step at a time!