This year’s family ornament.

I’ve already written about The RID Project affecting one aspect of our family Christmas, but it affected a number of other things as well with the holiday season.

Jana and I are cognizant of all the stuff we have, which is part of the reason we have been trying to get rid of stuff. We did this last year as well, but this year we were even more intentional with the gifts we got the boys. We didn’t want them to end up discarded in a day or two. That was our hope, anyway. It could still happen, but we tried to think through the gifts we were getting them. We also extended this to gifts we asked our family to get them. Could they still get them fun stuff? Of course! Our hope, though, was for the boys to receive gifts they’ll still like or use six months from now.

We set a modest budget with gifts for the boys, $50 each. Plus, since both of Jana and I’s parents are divorced and remarried, the boys will get gifts from four sets of grandparents.

With Gideon, Jana and I didn’t get him much. He already has all the clothes and toys he needs from hand-me-downs from Liam and Duncan, or items that were given to us from other parents. This is in contrast with Liam and Duncan’s first Christmases when I bought numerous clothes and toys. Those clothes were worn once or twice, and many of the toys were never opened. I am a proud father, but do I really need to spend all sorts of money to show that? Especially when Jana and I are on a single income and almost out of debt? And when he will get tons of gifts from others?

I don’t think it is wrong to give gifts, and to give fun gifts, but with where Jana and I are in life we want to be smart in our approach and purchasing. We also want to maximize the fun for the boys while helping them to grasp, as best they can, why we celebrate Christmas.

The budget we set limited what we could get and helped us to be more strategic. For instance, Liam has a lot of little Lego sets. We wanted to get him something bigger that would encapsulate some of the other little sets. So we decided on a Lego castle. However, the cost was over our budget. We talked with my parents, and they agreed to help out in buying it. Once we agreed on this, though, I had trouble finding it to buy! It was sold out on Amazon and on Lego’s website. I had to go to five area stores before I finally found one. The best part? It was $20 off! And then, when I went to buy it, the person checking me out told me about another $5 off coupon I could use. Oh happy day.

So, Liam got one gift, along with a stocking stuff or two. Once he opened his Lego castle, he didn’t have a care in the world. We spent the rest of the day putting that castle together. At the end of the day he told me it was the best Christmas ever.* No mounds of gifts. No presents that are forgotten a few minutes after they are opened. Nothing that will stay boxed up and clutter a closet or the cellar.

*Slim pickings for sure on his part, but I liked hearing that.

We also stopped giving ornaments to each other. Jana and I have been giving ornaments to each other for awhile. And, we have given the boys one ornament each Christmas as long as they have been alive. Last Christmas, even though he hadn’t been born yet, I got Gideon a Superman ornament. This Christmas, we just did one ornament for the entire family, instead of having five new ones. I had The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament in storage. After Jana and I watched the film with the boys, we showed them the ornament and they loved it. It’s nice because we are at a point where we have to pick and choose which ornaments go on the tree because we have so many. Only getting one for our entire family makes it easier to choose. Plus, we got rid of some ornaments this season that we don’t use or like.

Jana and I talked about a few other things we potentially could get rid of, like Christmas-themed dinnerware. Even though we only use it a few months out of the year, we really like them and decided to hold onto it for now.

The Christmas season flies by quickly, but we enjoyed it a lot this year. Two reasons for that were our minimalism approach and The RID Project. I think we spent less on Christmas this year than we ever had, but the joy did not diminish one bit.

Spent most of the day helping Liam put together his new Lego castle.

For an explanation of The RID Project, click here. To read previous updates, click here.

2 thoughts on “The RID Project: Christmas Traditions (Update #10)

  1. I was ready to rush to Ebay and take your Jack Skellington ornament off your hands – my 13 yr old would think it was awesome.

    We started the 3 present “rule” from the beginning of having kids – I think I was first inspired by someone who taught the Goodscents course at church and then appalled by Harry Potter's cousin on his birthday. Somewhere in-between those two we realized we needed to let our kids enjoy Christmas without having it be some consumer-driven extravaganza. I think we've found a good balance – and it's been easy on the bank account too.

    Liam is the spitting image of you – love the pic with his castle. I remember Jack's 5th birthday, we opened presents at night with family and said we should wait until morning to build his LEGO building. He got up before we did and had it done by breakfast. Great memories (and excellent fine motor skill development).


  2. Dudley, Dudley, Dudley…

    Thanks for reading, and for sharing your own experiences and stories! If we ever do get rid of the Jack Skellington ornament I'll be sure to get it to you.


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