A few months ago I dragged the kids’ IKEA storage bin systems, packed full of toys, out into the garage.
They never noticed.
No, I wasn’t having a fit of rage this time. It’s just that these kids just don’t seem to do toys. I mean, they’ll play with new things for a bit; mostly in a way that was never intended by the manufacturer (“Let’s grind this chalk into dust!” “Let’s pretend these game pieces are bird food!”). But then the toy is mostly discarded and forgotten, until a friend comes over and discovers it in the unloved bin. Violet and Graham spend a lot of time playing with dirt and grass and water and rocks. They draw and create and destroy. Art kits hold limited fascination for them. They want to make their own materials and games and rules.
This is good, right?
Since the fires this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about all our stuff. When you spend weeks worrying that at any moment something could destroy your home, you start to make a mental (or physical) Can’t Live Without box. What I realized is that there isn’t much I would absolutely need to save. In fact, when we replaced the floors in our house last month, we had to move most of our belongings into the garage. Half of it is still out there and, like the kids and their toys, I barely noticed.
I try really hard not to accumulate too many Things. The donation truck stops here once a month and I always have bags and bags to give them. Yet I still feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that seems to multiply, Tribble-like, into an avalanche of items I had forgotten we even own.
So now it’s November and I’m thinking about Christmas and birthdays and requests from grandparents for updated wish lists. Well, the kids and I have talked about it and decided on a theme: Experiences, Not Stuff. Now that they are able to comprehend Future Fun instead of Instant Gratification, it’s possible to attempt this. I’m sure Santa will bring a few items to unwrap, but the kids are mostly looking forward to exciting things to DO. So far, their wish lists include: Sea World tickets, camp and singing class.
This could be the start of a great tradition. OR… it could completely backfire and I’ll be The Mother Who Ruined Christmas. But I think I’m willing to take a chance. What experiences did you love as a kid? What do your kids love to do now? What ideas can I give them for their wish lists?