I am a mother of two boys who have birthdays within less than a month of each other. This year we decided to combine birthday parties to eliminate some of the work that comes along with the planning, preparing, cleaning and such of hosting a birthday party. While this reduced a lot of stress for me as a working mom, there was one thing I wish I had planned for..
Are you ready?
I did not prepare for the clutter that comes after having two boys’ birthdays at the same time. I am so thankful for each person who joined us in celebrating our little ones and their amazing milestones, and incredibly grateful for all the gifts! The challenge is also – ALL of the GIFTS.
We spent our Sunday morning decluttering and organizing the playroom. We guided our four year old through making decisions to donate some of the toys that he and his brother no longer play with. This was a fun activity for him and a very rewarding endeavor for us, the parents. It also helps our son learn how to avoid clutter. As we worked through this process I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed thinking about all the birthdays to come. Is this going to be the norm? Oh, and then there’s also Christmas. There are toys everywhere! Again, I hope you don’t perceive this as me being ungrateful.
We are very blessed to have so many people in our lives who want to join us in their celebration. That said, this thought came to me… There has to be a better way of gifting. I then started to brainstorm ideas for what we could gift back to our boys’ friends when we go to their birthday parties. It bothered me for a couple of days, until it finally came to me.
WHAT IF WE GIFTED AN EXPERIENCE?
I am talking about tickets to a local museum, a movie, a show, the circus (if that’s even a thing anymore), an indoor playground, a local arcade… really anything that would allow the little ones and their families to create memories while avoiding clutter.
What if we focused on encouraging families to spend time together and build memories? What if we celebrated spending time together as opposed to the kids getting a plastic car that they will no longer like next week? What if, we as parents come together to support each other and eradicate clutter in our homes? What if? What if?…
We all know that kids grow up so fast. It seems like I was holding my newborns just yesterday. Now they are four and two and the sky’s the limit! I write this to encourage you to think about giving differently next time you are invited to someone’s birthday. Giving an experience may take a bit more planning on your end, but most places have a virtual gift certificate option that you can purchase. They will deliver it straight to the parents’ inbox. It will be so very rewarding for you to later see them share how it was on social media! More importantly, it will be so fun for them to get to spend time together and not have to create a special budget for family entertainment.
I want to invite you to intentionally prepare prior to the kids’ actual birthday and even before Christmas. Go through the decluttering process before hand. Allow them to take ownership of making decisions of what stays and what goes. This is a life skill that they will thank you for later! Helping them prepare before one of the big events will also encourage them to make sound decisions. They will not have the distraction of the new toys yet, so it will help them stay objective about the toys they still love and the ones that can use a new home. Lastly, don’t forget to donate. There are many children who’s parents don’t have the resources to provide them with a new toy. Partner with a local charity to help those in need.