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. Â It’s just that these kids just don’t seem to do toys. Â I mean, they’ll play with new things for a bit; mostly in a way that was never intended by the manufacturer Â (“Let’s grind this chalk into dust!” “Let’s pretend these game pieces are bird food!”). Â But then the toy is mostlyÂ discardedÂ and forgotten, until a friend comes over and discovers it in the unloved bin. Â Violet and Graham spend a lot of time playing with dirt and grass and water and rocks. Â They draw and create and destroy. Â Art kits hold limited fascination for them. Â 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. Â 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. Â What I realized is that there isn’t much I would absolutely need to save. Â In fact, when we replaced the floors in our house last month, we had to move most of our belongings into the garage. Â 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. Â The donation truck stops here once a month and I always have bags and bags to give them. Â Yet I still feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that seems to multiply,Â Tribble-like, into anÂ avalancheÂ 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. Â Well, the kids and I have talked about it and decided on a theme: Experiences, Not Stuff. Â Now that they are able to comprehend Future Fun instead of Instant Gratification, it’s possible to attempt this. Â I’m sure Santa will bring a few items to unwrap, but the kids are mostly looking forward to exciting things to DO. Â So far, their wish lists include: Sea World tickets, camp and singing class.
This could be the start of a great tradition. Â OR… it could completely backfire and I’ll be The Mother Who Ruined Christmas. Â But I think I’m willing to take a chance. Â What experiences did you love as a kid? What do your kids love to do now? Â What ideas can I give them for their wish lists?