5 Ways To Avoid Getting Overwhelmed With Stuff This Holiday Season

It’s Christmas morning, the house is trashed and you think, “Oh sweet baby 8 pound Jesus where am I gonna put all this stuff that has appeared?” Try these 5 tips to avoid getting overwhelmed!

Set boundaries.

“Hey Mom, Billy has so many toys. We really appreciate your generosity, but could you only purchase one for him for Christmas this year? Our house is small and we just don’t have the storage for a giant play house in the living room.”

You set the expectation, and a boundary, and if you receive 294,828 little knickknacks and choking hazards, you can donate or regift them. I assure you it’s okay. I won’t tell if you don’t tell. 

Ask for exactly what you want.

“Bob loves pottery. Could you please contribute to his pottery classes this winter as his Christmas gift?”

“We really need a new slip cover for the couch.”

Being overly specific is helpful. Having a holiday list with links is helpful. It’s not needy or asking for “too much”. You are setting a boundary and stating a want/ need. How the other person responds is up to them. They asked what you wanted and you told them. That’s OKAY! 

“Joe needs a new jacket. He’s a size 5 and loves the color red.”

If it’s something with flexibility, let your family know so they can have more control over the decision. It makes the gift-giver feel like they are participating in the process, rather than purchasing something from a link. 

Prioritize experiences and quality time over things.

“Sally wants to make a quilt; Mom, I know you love to sew. Could you teach her and buy her the supplies so you can make it together?”

Make memories – they last a lifetime. You get to learn more about the special people in your life. Quality, uninterrupted time is rare to have with children. I think a silly adventure with a grandparent or an aunt is a great gift.

Practice what you preach.

Don’t get your sister’s kid a drum set. If it’s something you don’t want in your house, don’t give it to someone else.

Set the example and tone. Don’t give stuff just to give stuff. 

Go in with other family members to get a bigger gift.

Does your 20-something-year-old sister that bought a new fixer-upper house need a new stove? Pitch in with your other siblings and parents to get her exactly what she needs. She doesn’t need another robe, but she does need to cook family dinners.

If that’s not an option, cash isn’t a tacky gift, especially for young adults. 

Remember: you create the culture of your home. If a gift doesn’t align with your values or the culture of your home, it’s okay to return, regift or donate. It’s the thought that counts in the first place, and it’s important to remember your family’s reason for the season. 

Also: there is no rule that says you have to exchange gifts! If that’s not your style, don’t participate and let people know. It might seem uncomfortable, but it relieves financial pressure and stress. Especially if you have a large family. White elephant and Dirty Santa are great games to play. 

There is nothing wrong with being mindful of what is brought into your house and setting boundaries to adhere to that! 

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Julia is a Jersey girl turned Okie! She graduated from MICA with a BFA. She moved to Oklahoma, her husband's home state, almost ten years ago. Seven years ago, her family moved to the country and bought a farm. She runs the day to day operations of the farm, The Humble Hive Homestead, where they raise poultry, pork and beef for the community. Julia also home schools their two boys. When not wrangling 2 and 4 legged critters, she enjoys quilting, reading, and creating custom art. She has a big garden and loves food preservation and cooking. Also? She loves coffee with way too much cream and sugar.


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