The aftermath of Christmas from a minimalist Mom perspective

It has been a wonderful month for our family.  We have been very busy with friends and family coming to stay and visit.  The children were involved in their Christmas drama at church and did an excellent job capturing the true meaning of Christmas.  We hosted a cookie exchange.  We shopped and wrapped presents for all of our ten children.  I am thankful for online Amazon and my son Evan, who loves to wrap all of my presents:) Plus getting school done so that we can have a nice Christmas break and taking care of the everyday needs of a household of 12 and keeping it up and running, I am tired!

It seems this whole month was a big food event.  We had guests, we had parties, and we had multiple special days.  By the time Christmas rolled around, I was already tired of food and not feeling the need to have tons of munchie foods.  I can see the effects of sugar on my children.  (Don’t let anyone tell you that sugar does not affect a child:) Our Christmas cookie and treat stash already had been depleted so I didn’t even have any cookies to serve on Christmas—but that was okay.

My girls started making Christmas breakfast for us in the last few years so that is their tradition.

Jadyn, likes to make snowman or people pancakes or whatever else is requested. 

This year they made: eggs, biscuits, gravy, turkey bacon, and pancakes.  It was the first year we did not have to eat before presents, because all of the children are pretty good about not needing food as soon as they get up.

This was very filling and “normally” I would begin making tons of snack type foods to eat for the day, but this year I went simple.  We did poor boy subs.  I got a great deal on sub bread and we made tons of subs and wrapped them up until food time.  I did buy a couple of bags of pizza rolls to have with them because everyone likes those too.  But as far as food prep went, it was very easy.

Then the fun begins……..whoever knows me, knows that I am not a “thing” person.  If I have two of something, I will get rid of one.  I keep only what I use and need.  If it hasn’t been touched in 6 months, it is gone.  Those rules work well until you realize that once a year when you serve a large meal, like say Thanksgiving, and you don’t have enough serving spoons for all of the dishes:)  My reality this year.  I did go buy a few extra so that, it won’t happen again.

Now my family  are not all like me.  Even though I live a minimalist life, others do not.   You can tell the children that are like me.  Their beds are neat, their toys are meticulously placed and organized, and then the others are like dad.  They like to keep “stuff.”  Stuff like rocks, stickers, pieces of paper, toys they no longer play with, and things they may use “one day.”  How do you embrace things like that?

For myself, I did throw away many things of my children’s over the years.  I would sneak in while they were doing something else and try and clean out as much as I could without them knowing.  But they always know.  “Mom, where is that one piece of paper with the pink hearts on it that I made last year in Sunday school class?”  When we had smaller homes, we just had rules that it was one box of toys and whatever fit on  your shelf.  If it got in the way, it was gone.  Then we moved to another state.  We had to get rid of many things because it just would not fit on the moving truck.  I am thankful our first home here was smaller because we did not accumulate much in the two years that we have lived here.

But the story changes….we bought a home this year. A much larger home.  Double the size we were used to.  With that, there is room.  Lots of room.  Room to keep “things.”  My children are much more spread apart now and we have spaces for things and it doesn’t seem that there are as many messes any more.  So the room pickup’s have been fairly easy lately……and then Christmas happened!

My daughter Lauren, bless her heart likes to give.  She had her first “real” job this past year and was able to purchase things because she can.  I am thankful that she likes to shop frugally and will do Goodwill and her Facebook yard list before paying full price at the store.   She bought tons of little things for the children.

Our basement had Littlest Pet Shop pieces spread out over the entire floor.

I mean, as a minimalist Mom, all I could think about was “Where am I going to store all of those tiny pieces?”  The boys got new Lego sets from grandma and the girls got doll and dollhouse pieces.   There were so many “little” things everywhere in the basement on Christmas Eve, it was crazy.  Unfortunately, I did not feel well that day.  I spent the entire day laying on the couch in and out of sleep.   There was mess from all of the toys, the wrapping paper, and food dishes it was crazy.  But not feeling well, I didn’t care.  Finally, later at night, I dragged myself off the couch and started slowly organizing as much as I could with the toys.  I am thankful that I had cube storage containers in that room and most of them were empty:)  In each container were the separate type of toys.  One for dollhouse, one for littlest pet shop, and one for baby things.  It worked.  Now, lets see how the upkeep works!      

Then we had our presents on Christmas morning upstairs.  That wasn’t much of an explosion of little things because those were the gifts that I purchased.  These were the ones that each child had asked for.  This mess wasn’t as bad. 

I still wasn’t feeling that great and spent another day on the couch.  I did get up and clean a few things but I just set toys in the boys room and the girls stuff downstairs.  I would get to it when I felt better. 

Then Christmas came and went.  I felt horrible and relaxed most of the time.  Maybe that was a good thing seeing mom watch Christmas shows all day long and not clean.  We played games, we put Legos together and set up dollhouses.  It worked. I got to watch my children enjoy things and not “think” too much about where I was going to store everything:)

I am so thankful that the day after Christmas I woke up feeling awesome!  I was up and ready to rid myself of clutter, mess, and germs–from the sickness.  I started out and worked my way around all of the house until it was  finished.  I think resting for two days gave me so much energy it was good.  I took down any signs of Christmas and wiped and deep cleaned my house.  I know most may leave their trees up till after the new year, but I can’t organize and put things away until I get the house back in normal mode.

It feels good to wipe everything down, have your bedding all fresh and clean, carpet clean everything, and have things all back to normal.  Now I can relax.  Well, partially relax.  My new mission is to train my children to keep up on their messes.  The boys have a huge container of Legos.  Do you know how long it takes to pick them up when they dump it out?  I am trying to remind them that when they are finished playing with that, pick it up.  Its been working, but it has only been one day:)  We will see.

If this was all about me, they would have a small box of toys and a place for everything.  But it isn’t.  I have to allow my children to enjoy the gifts that they receive.  I know over time as they get older, they will outgrow them.  So for now, I enjoy my nice and neat spaces for my stuff and I gently remind them as I see tiny Lego pieces or Barbie pieces that they left them out and to please pick them up. It will work. I have to bend a little.   I can’t conform everyone around me.  I am thankful for my things being nice and neat but I appreciate a child who truly enjoys the gifts giving to them.  I just have to “help” them figure out how to organize them in some fashion.

This week is a good time to organize and clean through some things in your home.  Don’t throw away everything, instead find a way to organize it.  Enjoy your children, play some games, and read them some stories.  Smile and be thankful for all that you have!

4 responses to “The aftermath of Christmas from a minimalist Mom perspective

  1. Hi amy, i enjoy reading your posts. We are very similiar in our organizational skills, i have OCd , which i think can help with 8 kids but can also stress them out. Did you have a blog about 5 years ago?i think i used to read your posts.

    • Hello Jessica. I am happy that you have found me! I love to be connected with other Mommas that are at home with their babies. I know, I have gotten very lax in my “structured plans” over the years. I think having so many children has shown me many things and one being that it isn’t so important that the house stay perfect or that certain things be set in stone. There is room to bend. We as the Moms just need to do that. It is hard. I did so out of survival and had to work my way back to some sort of standard. (Having lots of little ones in a row will do that to you). I hope you stick around and enjoy the things to come. Be blessed! PS No, I am sorry I did not have a blog 5 years ago. That was when I was just starting to “think” about writing one. But couldn’t, due to the demands of my household:) Have a great day!

  2. Yes, I NEED to take down all decorations and start organizing after! Too much mess on top of a mess to me with it all up. Funny to know someone else feels the same way!

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