When I didn't give my kids toys for Christmas.

For the past few years, my family has EXPLODED with toys and gifts for my kids on Christmas day. You could not see my child standing behind the pile. It was overwhelming, especially when I knew I was going to get one of those legos under foot later that night. I wanted a brown paper bag thinking about cleaning up the mess, don't mention the plastic trash we were about to contribute to a landfill when parts went missing.

When we moved to the bus we had to downsize and that meant we couldn't have that many presents. We told grandparents that they kids could only have 4 presents each. This still meant that we would get 36 gifts after we hit all our spots on Christmas. I will be honest, I was happy. I was happy knowing that we won't have the chaos with lot of toys. Well, grandparents still bought a lot of toys, still plastic, and I still stepped on a lego.

This year, we decided no toys and no plastic. The gifts had to be experiences or things the kids could learn from, or could use to start a kid size business. I thought I was going to get resistance, but the fam was totally on board. Some family members admitted they were scratching their heads trying to figure out what to buy, but this made them be creative.

The kids came down and they went straight to the presents they bought each other. Kingston and Olina saved their money from their good report cards and they bought each other gifts. To see their faces light up knowing they made each other happy is something I don't ever want to forget. The opening of presents ensued and I was holding my breath for a temper tantrum. But it never came. Just pure exhilaration. They were in absolute bliss.

So what did we buy? Olina has an interest in China. We were hoping to add that country to our list this year buuut .... You know. So, I bought her molds and ingredients to make moon cakes and a baking apron. She also wants to start her own garden, so we bought her 2000 seeds, a green house and the necessary tools to get started. Her big present was a macrame swing to hang in her bedroom at the Broken House.

Kingston has started riding horses, so Chad and I bought him a saddle, bridle, saddle pad, and grooming kit. Family bought him a helmet and riding pants, microscope and a pair of skates. Both kids got these really cool temporary tattoos and art supplies.

Atlas got a wooden scooter, and a wooden school bus.

These gifts will foster learning and will allow us to create memories as a family. It was more fun buying the presents. I felt more connection when they opened the gift. I loved seeing their little wheels in their heads turning. THE BEST PART is that I have no anxiety about the madness that comes with toys, no plastic is going in a landfill and no steppings on legos this year. I could not have asked for a better day. I had good food, great time with family, my kids are happy, I am happy, and I got to rejoice in the birth of my Lord and Savior. Merry Christmas!

Photo Credit: cjmacer / Shutterstock

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