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About the Writer:

Cynthia discovered the value of being organized out of necessity. She and her husband, Kevin, have six children. Kevin serves as a Pastor with the Berean Fellowship of Churches. Their home is affectionately known as “grand Central Station”. It was critical to have a home that was welcoming to family and friends, often at a moments notice. In 2001, Cynthia started "Simply Put", an organization service for families in her Wyoming area. She's available as a speaker for women's retreats, MOPS groups and other events.


Kids, Clutter and Christmas

By Cynthia Workman

Subject: Helpful tips to refocus Christmas.

“That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been about. Gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts. You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your garbage. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice... The avarice never ends! "I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue." Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is stupid, stupid, stupid!” - Jim Carey as The Grinch

“Is this all there is?!” This plaintive cry rang in our ears early one Christmas morning, after our two sons had just finished tearing gift wrap from a small mountain of toys. They were the only grandchildren in our family and were reaping the benefits of that special relationship. After seeing them receive their gifts and yet respond with discontent, set my husband and I off on a path of reexamining our holiday traditions.

Any good parent wants to delight their child with gifts. The pleasure of knowing you have brought them joy is one of life’s deepest pleasures. However, there must be some thought, purpose, and balance in our gift giving so we don’t nurture a consumer, “I’m entitled” mentality.

According to Vesta, Inc. the average American now spends $1.22 for every $1.00 they earn. The credit card companies’ computers are kept humming by our desire to buy gifts for loved ones. Sometimes we just need a little perspective to get a more balanced view of something, especially when that something involves centuries of tradition and billions of dollars of marketing. There is a chance we could have gotten off course.

Listed below are six ways to refocus this Christmas season with your children:

First of all, determine what the focus of your holiday season will be. Then print and post it in a prominent place. It will help the whole family to stay focused.

Second, remember your favorite gift as a child and ask yourself why you remember it and what made it special.

Third, encourage giving and reduce clutter by going through your children’s toys before the holidays and encourage them to choose a number of good toys they can share with someone else. Then let them be a part of making a donation at the local thrift store. At the same time, remove any that are broken or missing parts and throw them away.

Fourth, limit the amount of gifts you purchase. The measure of your love is not the amount of money you spend. Kids don’t need a lot, the most expensive, or the latest trend toy, but they do need time with you. Some great ideas for grandparents or parents are family passes to the zoo, children’s museum, movies, etc. These translate into time spent together and less things in the toy box.

Fifth, practice sane spending by budgeting beforehand what you will be able to buy with cash. Go shopping armed with your budget, your cash, and no credit cards. You will walk out feeling less stress knowing there is no scary bill coming in January. If you don’t have enough cash then make your gifts, give the gift of time, write a letter of encouragement, be creative! Give a coupon for an indoor campout and sleep all together in the living room after making s’mores over the stove. It’s free and fun!

Sixth, enjoy relationships! The holidays should be about slowing down, not speeding up, people, not possessions, and joy, not stress. You can make it happen with some focus and planning. Enjoy your holiday!



Copyright © November 3, 2006 – Cynthia Workman. All rights reserved.


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