An Aspiring Minimalist Mom at Christmas



Years ago, during the Marie Kondo craze, I decided that my household would benefit from having less. I didn’t stick with Marie, but I did attempt my version of minimalism. I’ve always been a bit of a collector for as long as I can remember. I’m one of those people who won’t let go of the pasta sauce jars or the good shoebox because I might need it (I don’t need any of it, for the record). I’ve worked through my hoarding tendencies for the past few years and have decided to throw things out while simultaneously bringing less into my home. It’s is a necessary thing for me to do because clutter and mess trigger my anxiety. Then the anxiety makes me a cranky and on edge mom who cannot have fun which presents a real problem during Christmas time.

My children are like most other children in this country– they are over consumers. They want all of the things, all of the time, and they want it now. They will watch a commercial and instantly buy the story about how cool and life-changing a toy is (when in reality, it is a piece of plastic trash). I have a lot of feelings about commercials and mass-produced toys that are designed to break and stop working almost instantly. And while I would prefer to give experiences, I know that my kids are at an age that still expects physical gifts. So what I’ve implemented at Christmas is a system in which I buy them one completely frivolous toy and of their choosing. This year that translates to some Minecraft toys for my son and a cry baby doll for my daughter. I know in my bones that both of these toys will be tossed aside and forgotten by March. I know this because they did this with the toys they chose last year side by March. But, I will still buy them. The rest of their gifts will be items that I know they need or will play with for an extended period. Both kids are getting a Boogie Board which will serve as writing practice and a great toy to bring to restaurants and car rides. They’ll get a joint gift of Brain Blox (wooden building blocks), art supplies, books, and board games. Also, a new Nintendo Switch game that everyone can play. They aren’t trendy toys that run commercials or even something they would have asked for. At least, I know that they will love them and they are of high quality.

Christmas morning at our house does not look like a million gifts to unwrap; my kids get an average of five gifts each from mom, dad, and “Santa.” Also, my kids know that I am Santa because I do not give credit to magical forces. They will also get a couple of gifts from grandparents and aunts. For us, this time is about being together, eating cookies, and spending our day playing as a family.

However you choose to spend your holidays, I hope that you are surrounded by those you love. And mom, if you need permission to return an awful gift that someone gave your children, consider this it.

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Claudia Mancilla
Claudia is a native Californian and a citizen of nowhere. She can usually be found hiding in the bathroom, strolling the aisles of a local thrift store, or watching TikTok videos in the parking lot of CVS and Walgreens looking for a great coupon deal. She's a former elementary school teacher with a passion for multicultural children's literature. She always has a snack in her purse and a Costco flat of cokes in her hall closet. She is the perfect addition to a community of moms that keeps it real, and straight forward; with her experience as a no sugar coating mama, she can guide and share her family motto is "Do whatever you want. Just be cool." Her kids seem to know what that means.


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