(From Russ) We are always looking for ways to fight the consumer mentality that overwhelms our society. And Christmas provides us a unique opportunity to be extra focused in that pursuit. So with this, my first blog, I would like to let you know the top three ways the Miller Family has simplified this holiday season.
#1: Give Used Gifts A few weeks ago we were at Toys-R-Us looking for a gift for a cousin. Noa was super-interested in this small electronic drum that was $22. We decided to get it for her. Next Jackie went in to Once Upon a Child and found a stand up music table for $10 (regular $50). This was going to be Noa’s “big gift of the year.” While she was gone, Noa played with a water bottle in the car with as much excitement as she had with the drum from the toy store. So, when Jackie got back in the car with Noa’s new used gift, I went back to Toys-R-Us and returned the drum. It was a proud moment.
#2: Give things your kids need and use the wrapping as their present Noa doesn’t care about what’s inside the box as long as there is a bow on the outside. I am convinced that her absolute favorite gift would be if we wrapped wrapping so that after she got tired of one bow, she could open the box to find an entirely different bow to play with. So this year we (rather, Jackie) wrapped things like a warm fleece she will need for Michigan and much needed new pajamas. And Noa just loved that wrapping.
#3: Give Library Books Yes. That’s right. In the spirit of simplicity (and “going green”), my precious wife gave me library books. Our “big gift” to each other was to have our yard landscaped. So, instead of spending $80 on four landscaping books (which, she knows, would have made me despise them), Jackie checked them out and wrapped them. For the next nine weeks (as long as I renew them twice online), I get to enjoy these priceless (literally) treasures before I have to regift them back to their original owners. That, my friends, is the way it’s done.
(this is Jackie) I thought of 2 other incredible tips that Russ forgot to mention… #4 – Dollar General I’ve driven by this store so many times and just realized a few weeks ago that this store is awesome! They even have Oreos for $2 (way more expensive in the grocery store)! Anyway, there’s a wealth of toys in there and we found so many great stocking stuffers for Noa. And, while I’m thinking about it, I need to go back and get those Oreos…
#5 – Happy Meal toys The other day I was at Wal-Mart and just needed a cheeseburger happy meal. This is actually a great deal if you don’t want any of their HUGE sandwiches accompanied by the GIGANTIC fries and GALLON drink. Anyway, I was about to tell the lady that they could keep the toy when I realized I could wrap it up for the girl. To my delight it was a little My Little Pony, which Noa looked at for about 3 seconds. I’m so glad I didn’t pay big bucks for it! I guess this only works if you're the one eating the happy meal though. It would be pretty mean and a little weird to take an older kid's toy away from them only to hide it until Christmas.
#6 - Old Cell Phones I said I would only mention 2, but the great ideas just keep coming. In light of Noa always grabbing our cell phones, we decided to wrap up one of Russ' old ones and put it in her stocking. She loves it! She carries it with her when she's crawling around. Actually, any old electronic device would be a great gift for a kid because 1. they're basically useless, and 2. kids have WAY better imaginations than we do...