Christmas, Children, and OCD, Part 2 – Elizabeth Doan, guest blogger

Last week I wrote a short post on simplifying Christmas gone crazy.  I shared how I pared down my attic full of decorations and my house full of trees.  This week I’m going to tackle wrapping and gifts.  Here we go.

Brown Paper Packages Wrapped Up in Strings…

For a couple of years now, I buy a huge roll of brown wrapping paper and use it for all gifts.  I have tons of ribbon in assorted colors and my children decorate each gift with magic markers and stamps.  I have found that family and friends totally prefer this to my stuffy packaging that looked pretty for a few minutes and still got torn to shreds.  I also throw all caution to the wind and let my children do all of the wrapping.  I’ve been doing this since they were old enough to use scissors and they love it.  Close to Christmas, I put my 3 big elves at the table with paper, tape, scissors, string, stamps, markers…and just let them go for it.  We play Christmas music and I think their handiwork looks fantastic!   

Here’s a pic of this year’s loot along with my tree that my elves decorated for me.



3 Gifts…Jesus got 3.  They do too.

3 years ago, we sold our house super quick and were totally unprepared for the next move.  We spent a year in a small house beside my parents.  By small, we had 1 bedroom that three kids shared and a loft that my hubby and I slept in.  Because it was super cozy, we didn’t have room for a huge Christmas that year.  We read the Christmas story to the kids and talked about the three gifts Jesus received.  We told them that everyone would be receiving three gifts just like Jesus.  We were very nervous on Christmas morning.  Even though they seemed okay after the gift talk, we didn’t know what to expect.  What a pleasant surprise we woke up to that morning.  We read the Christmas story out of the Bible and each child took their time unwrapping their gifts.  They were so appreciative.  So grateful.  Our house is bigger now, but we kept the three gift tradition.  Our children are still grateful and appreciative.  Where the gifts are smaller, the spirit of Christmas is so much bigger.  

We’ve scaled down with a lot of other gifts too.  However, this is a little trickier.  I know there are spenders and there are savers.  Spenders love Christmas.  They love giving gifts.  Christmas is their super bowl and I totally get that.  Savers, like myself, spend the whole year budgeting, being careful with every dollar spent.  It is crazy hard to change that mindset in December and be ready to loosen the purse strings.   At first, I tried to suggest just giving gifts to the kids in the family or maybe just getting together to eat.  It took years to realize that I was stepping all over something that some people loved to do.  I’ve had to ease up a bit on this.  There are some get togethers where adults give the gifts as well and there are some where we just meet up and eat.  So I’ve delegated the grown up gifts that we do purchase to my husband.  You see, he’s the best at picking out gifts for people.  He always picks out the best stuff.  This year, he has a great idea for our parents and I’m letting him lead the way.  He’s awesome like that and I don’t stress out about it. Dilemma solved.

So, what’s left for next week?  Any ideas on other areas to simplify?  Chime in.  Let me know what you think.

Merry Christmas!

(Share with your homeschooling friends to encourage them this Christmas season)


Elizabeth Doan is married to her hubby David for 14 years.  Mother to four wonderful kiddos: Sam (10), Sarah (8), Evie Joy (4), and Sadie Rose (6 months).  Homeschooling Momma for 4 years with 17 years to go!   Elizabeth’s favorite quote in the whole wide world is: “Life is frittered away by details.  Simplify, simplify.”  -Henry David Thoreau