It’s that time of year again. Time for shopping, and parties, and millions of school activities suddenly for some strange reason, and elves on shelves (although not for my family), and a wee bit of stress. I like to tack on just a bit more for myself by doing what I like to call the Christmas Purge. Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that movie The Purge, because that would just be disturbing.
No, the Christmas Purge* is when I purge my house of a bunch of things my kids no longer play with, to make room for more things they will eventually not play with. Some people may think I’m crazy, but I actually involve my children in this activity.
We go through the bins that have been sitting under their beds untouched for the better part of the year, and I convince them to part with their treasures, half of which they forgot they possessed in the first place.
To minimize disposing of too many toys at once, I do try to get them out of the house a little bit at a time, throughout the year. A stuffed animal that’s been stuck between the wall and the bed for three months? Gone! An action figure that’s been in the couch cushions for weeks? Gone! Little princess doll shoes and accessories scattered behind the TV? You’re outta here! Anything that’s broken the slightest bit? Trashcan, here we come!
Nevertheless, with the amount of toys kids have these day, I could make purging them a full-time job, selling them on Craigslist or one of those Facebook yard sale pages, and we would still have too many. It’s hard to keep it in check, and what makes it even more difficult is that you really want to get your kids those fun toys they’ve been wishing for. You want to see their little faces light up when they unwrap their presents. It’s just that sometimes as a parent, you end up with a bit of buyer’s remorse.
All in all, my kids are willing to get rid of way more toys than I would have though, so much so, that I often run into the problem of them wanting to throw out certain toys that hold special meanings to me. Those toys end up in their own bin, tucked away somewhere in the basement for me to purge at a later date. But that’s another post for another day.
You can also use the Christmas Purge as a teaching moment, reinforcing to your little ones that life isn’t about things – it’s about family and friends and being good and doing good – and, of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
You can donate some of the toys and books (if they’re in good enough shape), and your kids learn more about the spirit of giving, and understanding that there are many children out there who don’t have toys to play with. It’s a win-win for you because they learn valuable life lessons, and you get back some of the space in your house… at least for a little while.
*The Christmas Purge can easily be applied to any holiday or celebration that involves your home being inundated with gifts – the Hanukkah Purge, the Birthday Purge, the Easter Purge, etc.