The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

Does it feel like your kids have too many toys? What have you done about it, if anything? Do you rotate toys so that everything’s not out at once? Yes, it’s a First World Problem, to be sure (too many toys! oh, the humanity!), but if you’ve got kids with too many toys, you know the drill: Stuff often ends up all over the house, many toys sit unused in storage bins for months (or years), and, maddeningly, new toys that are begged for are often played with for a couple weeks and then abandoned.

Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less wrote an essay in 2012 called “Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away (& Why They Won’t Get Them Back)” that went viral, and it’s worth a read. She explains why she took away her kids’ toys after getting tired of them not cleaning up their room and noticing that they kept wanting more and more “stuff” without being satisfied with what they had. She donated more than half, kept some, and put a few toys on high shelves in her daughters’ bedroom — and she started taking out one at the time for her girls to play with. A year later, Soukup wrote an update and answered some common questions from readers, like “What are your guidelines for the toys that you keep?” and “What do you do about birthdays & holidays?”

This season is a great time to talk about this issue! Here are some ideas of gifts to give kids who have too many toys, focusing on experiences rather than physical things:

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Do, Delegate, NOPE: Holiday Edition

Let’s brainstorm, ladies: what are some of your best ideas for holiday delegating (or ignoring altogether)? I was thinking about that old game “F–, Marry, Kill” the other day (maybe it had something to do with our celebrity crush open thread over at Corporette) and thought we should start a new series here on CorporetteMoms that’s kind of in the same vein, but about work/life balance instead. For the moment we’re calling it “Do, Delegate, or NOPE.” Here’s the idea: as working moms we all have a ton of things on our calendars and to-do lists at any given time — some can be delegated, some ignored, but some you have to do yourself (or want to do yourself). We’ve talked about being overwhelmed at the holidays, picking the best gifts for your child’s teacher, etc., etc. — but let’s talk about the holiday to-do list in general. These are your options:

  • do — do it yourself, either because you enjoy it or want to make sure it gets done right
  • delegate — outsource/assign the task to someone else (partner, caregiver, third party) because you can
  • NOPE — just ignore the task completely because there’s no room for it in your life

I drew up a list of holiday-related tasks for moms, and you can comment below. For each category (do, delegate, nope), choose at least one of the tasks in the list. (It has Christmas-related things on there just because it takes a lot of bandwidth for me personally, but if you follow another religion please use those to-dos and traditions as well!)

I’m hoping this will be kind of fun — but maybe also we can learn a little from each other, recognize that some things can be delegated, and so forth. It can also be a helpful list to sit down with your partner at the beginning of next year’s season and say “OK, these are the things on my radar — what can you do, what can someone else do, what can we ignore?”

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Seasonal Decor — and Working Moms

Seasonal Decor and Working Moms | CorporetteMomsLadies, how much do you get into seasonal decor around the house? Do you feel like seasonal decor is harder in some ways for working moms? I’m starting to get into it — when we visited relatives in Texas, my husband’s cousin had the entire house decorated for Halloween, and my older son really liked it. I’m just starting to collect stuff, and it feels like this IS the season — you’ve got Halloween decor, followed by fall harvest/Thanksgiving decor — and, if you celebrate, Christmas decor. (Pictured.)

I like the idea of making our home look nice for the various holidays, and I like the tradition aspect of things, but I will admit, it does seem kind of onerous from a few different angles:

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Mamas, Holidays, and Stress

crazy christmasSo: anyone else feel like your head is about to explode? Between buying gifts for everyone, including in-laws, cleaning Casa Griffin for company (ok, cleaning Casa Griffin so our cleaning professional can actually clean it), making sure I have all supplies needed for holiday recipes before the stores close — and getting what work I need to get done before everything is making me totally crazy. How is it December 23? What’s my plan of attack, particularly with no school for the next two weeks? Happy holidays, indeed.

I guess this is my fifth Christmas as a mom, but the first time really feeling the stress. Moms who’ve been in my shoes much longer: does it get better? Ladies, do you feel the stress? What do you do to alleviate it during this time of year (other than, you know, not leaving everything until the last minute)? In the great juggle of work and life, which stressor is more significant this year?

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Teacher Gifts, Floater Gifts, and More

Teacher Gifts at the Holidays | CorporetteMomsHolidays bring a special stress for parents: teacher gifts.  So let’s discuss, ladies — what gifts are you getting for your child’s teachers, floaters, and other folks? If there is one “group gift” to which you’ve contributed money/energy, are you done with it? Do you feel stress to “keep up with the Joneses” in terms of end-of-year gifting?

For my $.02: In Brooklyn it seems like every time one of Jack’s little classes end (karate! science class! Paint and Glue Crew!), mothers have an envelope with money for the teacher. At first I had no idea (the classes are mindbogglingly expensive anyway!), and then I would dutifully send him with an envelope for the last day.

It gets even more complicated for school teachers because there is the holiday gift and the year-end gift.  For Jack’s preschool last year — where we loved the teachers — it almost seemed as if any gift was never going to be enough because they really did mean so much to us. So we contributed to a group gift for both December and May, and I didn’t want to go above and beyond because, well, if that’s the group’s gift, that’s the group’s gift. And yet, sure enough, lots of people were giving the teachers personal envelopes and more on the last day of school.

I don’t know — it’s a tough thing to wrap my head around. How do you ladies think about it — and what do you get them? Do you dislike the idea of “tipping” being customary for salaried professionals, or do you think a bonus or other material form of thanks is necessary?

Pictured.

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Holiday Cards: How “Smug” Are They (And Which Colleagues Do You Send Them To)?

professional-family-holiday-cardsAs if holiday cards weren’t already enough of a minefield professionally, I’ve now seen tons of people (mostly single and childless friends) talking on Facebook about how “smug” all of the family Christmas cards are as they tout our “perfect” families. So I thought we’d talk about it — perhaps a bit belatedly, but it’s on my mind, and we’ve probably all seen the full range of what our friends and family sent this time around.

Do you create and send photo cards to your friends and family? Do you send the same version to coworkers and colleagues? Do you worry about intentionally sending DIFFERENT cards to people on your list who don’t have kids? (And, just for old times’ sake: Are religious holiday cards inappropriate for most coworkers/colleagues — or at least a KYO (know your office) situation?

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