Preparing for Guests
As Christmas approaches, when family and friends come to visit, it helps to plan for adjustments to routines so your time spent together is more relaxed, flexible and most of all, enjoyable! It can be very tough for kids especially, who may get over-tired and over-stimulated (and even temporarily displaced if guests have to stay in their rooms).
As my guest prep checklist mentions (shop here), the week before guests arrive, it’s helpful to review expectations for…
🎁 Meal planning [prep a few freezer meals before big events so you can focus on other stuff!]
🎁 Budget and financing [be aware of your spending and who is buying what]
🎁 Regular daily routines and activities [try to stick with the usual routine, at least elements of it, 75-80% of the time]
🎁 Special events (especially the upcoming holidays!) [know who is preparing what, if you're traveling, how much time and what to bring/pack]
The more you can prepare your kids and yourself for upcoming temporary changes, the easier it will be to transition between activities with (hopefully) less stress (and less meltdowns).
Anything I’m forgetting? Do you find anything especially challenging when guests visit?
Holiday Gifts for a Minimalist
So what do you gift a minimalist… or at least someone who’s minimalish? I know, I know... "Don't buy anything!" (ha!) I FINALLY started my own Amazon wishlist - highly recommend it!
If I was buying a gift for someone working towards minimalist living, I’d consider at least one of these when I buy - can it stand the test of time, does it have multiple purposes, can it be used up / experienced or serve the family well in quality / usefulness. You know you’re an adult when a cast iron pan or a robot mop is a great gift (but seriously). #adulting
The 4(+3) Gift Rule
Christmas is fast approaching and if you happened to see my last post, “buy with purpose” can be a serious challenge as time ticks down before 12/25.
One of my best friends recently told me about the “4-gift rule”. I had heard about it years ago, but never thought about it again. “Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read;” as I strive for more minimalish living, I love this concept, and started thinking about ways to incorporate it this year and in the future.
Some may say, if you want to avoid clutter at the holidays, why even give gifts? I love gifts. I love buying what I think people will enjoy based on a passing comment, or even just buying them exactly what they told me they want! I think small gifts add joy to a season of giving. That said, gifts don’t have to contribute to clutter.
If your family and friends ask for guidance when giving gifts, here are a few ideas you can share, or keep these in mind as your gifting this holiday season:
📝 Make a wish/idea list for each child and share it; An Amazon list doesn’t have to include Amazon-only items and you can add notes like sizes/colors. Be sure to let the people you share it with know that they don’t HAVE to buy from the list - that’s weird. 😜
🩰 Experiences; If your daughter loves dance, maybe a month of classes with a leotard would be a great gift. If your son likes fire trucks, maybe a trip to the Fire History Museum with grandma and grandpa is another great gift.
🎨 Consumables; Art supplies, craft and hobby kits are excellent for creativity and focus (and they get used up).
💵 Money; While I’d say it’s generally rude to directly ask for money, we have a few family members who like to give this way. Open a savings account for your child(ren) and/or share with the giver something you were planning on purchasing that their monetary gift would “go towards” - a swing set, a new stroller, a play kitchen, etc.
Do you enjoy giving gifts?
Don’t let your pursuit of minimalism interfere with your gratitude.
If you’re trying to live a more minimal-ish lifestyle, holidays and gifts can make you nervous, anxious and fear that clutter will enter your home.
As we start talking about the holidays, especially in relation to children, this is your reminder that gift-givers love and appreciate you and your children and want to spend their hard-earned money to demonstrate that. Receiving gifts gratefully and appreciating the thought behind the gift and thanking the giver is much more important than fearing that it could contribute to unwanted clutter.
If you’ve already fully decluttered your home, you’re starting off ahead of the game and a few new things won’t “undo” any of your efforts. If you haven’t started and have clutter in your home, a few new things won’t contribute much more than you already have. You’re also not obligated to keep what you were gifted forever!
If your family and friends are like ours and ask for gift ideas for you or the kids, I have a few tips coming up that will help you gently guide them in the right direction!