Christmas can be overwhelming! Selecting presents and the budgeting that goes along with that, family trips, social obligations, church functions, trips to see Santa, lights, decorating, not to mention the deep spiritual aspects of the holiday. I feel that and I want Christmas to be a joyful celebration with my family, but all the ‘hustle and bustle’ plus my daughter’s birthday the first week of January, often leaves us frazzled and gasping for ‘white space.’
For some it is not knowing what to buy and for some of us it is the overwhelming amount of stuff and clutter that tends to come into our homes during this time. I am so grateful that so many people love our children and wish to bless them. However, we also only have so much space and often when there are too many toys they don’t get played with and they become clutter and ultimately not appreciated. In addition to taking up space, it is also harder for children to clean up when there is so much stuff. Rather than go crazy and throw everything out (don’t tell me it hasn’t crossed your mind once or twice) or tell everyone they can only buy socks and underwear (how do they disappear so quickly) I’ve put together a list of ideas that are fun, educational, and hopefully won’t become clutter. There are books, CDs, art supplies, and creative kits. Another idea is to see if family members are willing to work together to buy something larger like a bicycle or if grandparents would buy a family gift like a basketball goal.
In addition to these ideas, one year we did what we called the Twelve Christmas Adventures. We came up with twelve family adventures that we could do, one each month, and gave the children a list and information about each one at Christmas. This spread the fun (and expense) throughout the year and they really loved it. I’ll do a more detailed post about those Christmas Adventures next week because it is a post all it’s own.
Some of them are not physical items, some get used up, and some are just items that really get used and played with in our home. It is my prayer that this list can help give you ideas to lessen the overwhelming clutter of this time of year and help you regain the sense of joy and peace that we wish would fill our holidays.
Share your favorite gift ideas in the comments!
Kindle and Books:
There are many great Kindle Books to go along with this and they take up no extra space. You can even often fnd free ones. Here is a link to some Christmas ones that you could preload onto the Kindle.If you don’t want to get a Kindle but still like these books you can also use the free Kindle Reader App.
Audio CDs for the Family:
- Adventures in Odyssey
- Focus on the Family Radio Theater
- Audible (with an audible subscription your family can choose titles that interest you and it takes up no space).
- Maestro Classics (classical music with narration and story)
- Chalk pastels
- Finger paints
- Construction paper
- Pot Holder Loom
- Art Kit
- Sketch pad
- Quilting Set
- Watercolor Pencils
- Drawing Set
- Museum Membership
- Aquarium or Zoo membership (ours actually includes all 3 of our state aquariums and the NC Zoo)
- Movie Tickets
- Ice Skating or Roller Skating
- A Play or Symphony (Our symphony even has special performances designed to engage children)
- A Camping Trip (if you already have the gear this is a very inexpensive way to make some great family memories)
- A Gift Certificate to a Favorite Restaurant
- World Kids
- ClubHouse Magazine
(So these are toys and could still become clutter, in our house however, they are prized possessions and used frequently. We feel that they are able to be contained, well used, and worth the extra bit of room they take up.)
Lego City (This series has some great buildings, boats, etc)
Friends (This series is more geared towards girls with more pink and purple blocks and other ‘girly’ aspects)
Lego Architecture (These are awesome for older children. They feature smaller more intricate designs of famous buildings. )
Lego Classic (These are assorted blocks that can be turned into many different creations, great for using your imagination.)
Piano Lessons Online (or find someone local)
Guitar Lessons Online (or find someone local)
Otis series (Great for Preschool Age Children)
Chronicles of Narnia ( A family favorite)
Mandie Series ( A mystery series featuring a young girl. )
Green Ember (A great story of good versus evil, does have some scary parts that might be a bit much for sensitive readers.)
Little House on the Prairie (great for the whole family)
Basketball Hoop (makes a great family gift)
Razor Scooters (My children love theirs and play with them several times a week and more in good weather. )
Kits and Subscriptions
This link will get you 60% off of your first box in any of the above subscriptions through 11/27.
Bookroo (Board and Picture Book Subscription Options geared towards birth to age 6, these are adorable books that come individually wrapped and are so much fun for them to unwrap.)
Great Kids Snack Box ( A monthly box of gluten free snacks)
Fun Education Supplies:
If you happen to be looking for a few clutter free ideas for the adults in your life then check out these options.
HelloFresh (This is a meal delivery service. They deliver the ingredients and the instructions for a meal ready to cook in about 30-40 minutes. They are normally very yummy and healthy. If you use this link you can even get $40 off your first box.)
Grove Collaborative (Cute natural cleaning sets, body products, etc and you get $10 off your first purchase using this link. )
Amazon Prime Gift Subscription (You can give the gift of Amazon Prime for 3 months or a year, includes free 2 day shipping, movies, music, and more. )
If you didn’t find enough ideas in my list then check out the Gift Guides by Educents, they have ideas by age and subject. They are even running a special. Use the code HOLIDAY for an extra 10% off your purchase.
Also check our free resource library for two new Christmas freebies, Christmas Traditions and a Christmas Bucket List.
When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.
Friday Deals and Freebies
Last Day for Schoolhouse Teachers and Tummy Team Sales!
30% off Online Rehab with Tummy Team. This one isn’t specifically home school related but so many mamas are struggling with this that I wanted to share. Please feel free to message me with any questions and share this post with anyone that might be interested. If you are struggling with diastasis or pelvic floor issues the Tummy Team has some great online PT programs. I did their Core Foundations and saw a huge improvement and I’m going to do the prenatal crash course. Right now they are having a 30% off sale with the code Thankful2017. I know this can be an issue for a lot of mamas so I figured I’d share. I’m happy to answer any questions about my experiences. (ref)
Need a good way to organize all of these great printables and have access to them when you need them? Try a free Dropbox Plan.
Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial. If you do not yet have Amazon Prime this is a great time to try it for free for 30 days! Get your Christmas shopping done with free shipping, enjoy Christmas music and more.
Apologia is running a free shipping special and other sales throughout the month. Right now they are offering 20% off of their children’s books.
Schoolhouse Teachers has a great Flash Sale going on right now! This is HUGE.. This sale is a $139 BOGO! Buy one year, get one year free – so essentially, $69.50 per year! That is less than a $100 per year for curriculum for your whole household. This deal is only good through today Nov. 17th so act fast!
$10 Sign-Up Bonus for Ibotta and they are doing some major savings and rebates starting today. Great way to save money on the things you are already buying.
$40 off your first HelloFresh Box
If you are looking for some maps to help extend your geography check out these from Knowledge Quest Map Trek (including a free sampler).
Homeschool Buyers Co-Op is offering a great deal on Discovery Education Streaming right now. 60% off and bonus Smart Points redeemable for other products. We have used this in the past and enjoyed it.
Two Free Audio Books with an Audible Trial and if you aren’t sure what to start with I’d suggest checking out the Green Ember or The Penderwicks for good family choices.