How to Say NO to Stuff From Family & Friends

Kids Toys

So often I speak with parents, couples and individuals who are overwhelmed with the gifts they receive from well-intentioned friends and family. I’m sure they enjoy showing love by generously lavishing these people with gifts for every single birthday, holiday, and special occasion. If you’ve tried to gently imply that you’d be okay with fewer gifts, suggested clutter-free options, and set spending limits, but you still continue to graciously receive overwhelming amounts of gifts – here’s how to say we don’t need more stuff!

1. Kids already get so much stuff.

Children get stuff, trinkets, toys, and gadgets given to them all the time.Free treats at the grocery store, special prizes with every single kids meal at every single restaurant, a sucker at the bank, stickers at the doctor/dentist, a special magnet at Children’s Church or Sunday School, prizes and treats at school, etc. Everywhere you go, they get more stuff — almost to the point where they expect stuff to be given to them just because they are cute or because they smile. Add in all the birthday and holiday gifts on top of these everyday gifts and parents are simply drowning in stuff.

2. Kids don’t need much, but they want everything they see.

Aside from a few basic necessities, kids really don’t need much. However, the minute they see something, they want it. They might be perfectly happy playing with older toys or reading the same favorite books over and over again — but as soon as something new and different is introduced to the mix, they simply push away the old and focus on the new (even if they were completely happy and satisfied with their old things). After a while, they get bored more easily and continually want more newer, bigger, and better toys… obviously, this is not what we want to teach children. What kids want (and need!) most is to spend time with you. By giving them experiences, you are focusing wholly on them and making lasting memories.

3. Parents are already fighting a loosing battle to keep homes clutter-free. 

A clutter-free home is not the most important thing in life, but for many of you, it’s already so difficult to keep things relatively clutter-free — more gifts and more stuff just add to the issue. For parents it’s hard to purge kid’s toys when they aren’t looking and explaining to a child why their precious rock, sticker, or stuffed animal is suddenly missing due to the accumulation of so many new toys and not enough room to store them all. The more stuff we get, the more stuff we need to purge.

4. We actually like to buy our own gifts every once in a while.

Believe it or not, we like to do fun things  and buy our own special gifts every now and then, but when so many others are giving so much stuff, it’s hard for us to get super excited about adding more gifts to the amount of stuff in our homes. For parents, when kids are given so much stuff, it actually takes some of the fun out of it for them.

5. “More Stuff” is not the right message to send kids.

I know it’s fun to get special gifts on birthdays and on Christmas and it’s exciting to receive a special surprise every now and then. However, that’s really not the message we want to send kids — at any age. The point of doing a good dead shouldn’t be to get a reward. However, when our kids continually receive gifts for every special day, every good deed, and even “just because”, we’re sending them the message that “stuff” is the priority.

6. Don’t feel guilty parting with these un-wanted gifts.

If a toy, trinket, or heirloom is given to you, but it doesn’t suit your taste then  get it out of your life. Don’t feel guilty when others ask where that particular object is because you’ve repeatedly asked others not to give you things. They should respect your wishes and you should feel great about living a more clutter free life.