If you are struggling with an overwhelming amount of times cluttering up your home collecting dust – then know you are not alone! Before we had Ava, one of the constant complaints I heard from friends with children is how the toys simply took over the house and their children weren’t even playing with most of them!
While I knew that my home would not remain as clean or perfectly tidy with the entrance of our little girl into the world, I did know that I wanted to reduce our consumerism regarding toys compared to the average American.
That is why we stick to 5 gifts or fewer for Christmas and Birthday gifts, but all 5 of them have a very distinct purpose I’ll explain below!
You might be wondering, how is this category any different from something to play with? And you’re right, oftentimes the items Ava “wants” are also items “to play with.” But that is not always the case. Sometimes there are more household types of items that she wants even though they are not typical toys.
Additionally, I put larger items in the “something she wants” category and then smaller, more traditional toys in the “play with” category. For instance, Ava really loves the slide at daycare, so we ended up buying her one for Christmas and giving it to her a few months early while the weather was still warm!
While the slide is something to play with, it also promotes gross motor skills and it isn’t just a toy she will pick up, play with once and then throw to the side. My thinking behind this category is that these items will be used for a longer period of time and are more practical compared to some of the toys in her “play with” category.
Here are 3 “wants” ideas right now for Ava:
It can be hard to narrow down a list to just one item that Ava “needs,” but take note that we are buying her things she needs as they come up throughout the year. We do not wait until a Birthday or Holiday to get her something that she needs.
So for Christmas and her Birthday, it is relatively easy to choose one thing that she needs knowing that I do not restrict myself from buying other items throughout the year.
The reason for even having this category is to simply contribute to the celebration! We want her to still have gifts to open, we just want fewer of them and to have fewer toys.
Here are 3 “needs” ideas right now for Ava:
My personal favorite category is something to wear, mainly because I get to pick out a cute outfit or clothing item and do not feel guilty about doing so!
I imagine once Ava is older this category will be filled with the latest trends that I simply do not understand, but for now it’s filled with neutral or muted colored clothing items that I wish they made in adult sizes!
Here are 3 “to wear” ideas right now for Ava:
This type of gift is pretty much a given. We take note of things that she is interested in during our trips to Target and Walmart as well as during playdates! Now of course, the toys at someone else’s house are always better (am I right?), but oftentimes there are still a few things that I could see Ava continuing to play with at our home.
Here are 3 “want” ideas we have for Ava right now at 18, almost 19, months.
Alas, the last of the 5 gifts, something to read.
Everytime I go to the store to pick out a new book for Ava, I feel like a little kid again. Last year my mother gifted Ava one of my favorite books from growing up and I just about burst into tears as the memories flooded in. We had two, double door closets filled to the brim with books (there were 4 of us children) and I remember so many long nights and weekends spent burning through books faster than my mom could secure them.
Needless to say, we love story time with Ava.
Our nightly routine (as of right now) is a bubble bath, pjs/diaper time, hair and teeth brushing, and then play for 30 minutes in her room prior to bed. This playtime is always a combination of rolling around on her playcouch as well as going through an entire dresser drawers of books.
For now Ava just loves flipping through the pages looking at the different images, but I cannot wait for the day when she really can understand and enjoy the words of a good book.
Here are 3 “to read” ideas right now for Ava:
If you have finished reading this and find it to be a bunch of BS, that’s totally fine!
Not everyone likes to keep the gifts at a minimum and instead enjoy loading up the Christmas tree or Birthday gift pile with stacks of boxes. Every family is different and I do not judge anyone whether they give their child 0 gifts or 30. It is all about finding what works best for you and your family. Some families use Christmas as a time to buy items their child or children need for the entire year, same goes with Birthdays.
Now you might be asking yourself…what do you do with family members who want to give gifts?
We create an Amazon ideas list and send it to our family members that way they know exactly what to purchase, and they cannot stray from the list unless they ask. For instance, some family members of ours purchased a zoo membership for Ava last year and they want to do it again this year which is perfect!
I totally understand that this may not be for you and your family, but if you are like me and want to keep things minimal, then I hope you found this list helpful! If you do something different or have different categories, I’d love to hear from you!