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Rescuing my family from the avalanche of toys that comes with December birthdays

by respaced on December 21, 2010


Nathan at his pirate-themed birthday party
flanked by his two grandma

Today is my son’s 5th birthday. People tend to feel sorry for Nathan having a birthday in December, thinking it must get lost amid all the hustle and bustle of Christmas. But let me tell you — nothing could be further from the truth! For Nathan, it’s nothing but non-stop presents for about two weeks.

First he had his birthday party on Sunday the 19th, where he received about 20 gifts. Next comes his real birthday — today — when my husband and I give him a little something. Then comes Christmas on Saturday — another 20 presents perhaps, when you add in everything Santa and my extended family give him. Finally comes New Years Eve, when we spend the weekend with my inlaws — and you guessed it, get more presents.

So Nathan probably doubles his entire toy collection in that two week period! It is absolutely incredible!

That’s why I learned a few years ago that I had be proactive this time of year if I wanted to keep the toys under control. I started secretly packing away a few of his toys a few weekends ago, taking care not to get rid of anything he had played with in the last month. Next year, when he turns 6, he will be old enough to help me go through his toys and donate the ones he has outgrown and stopped playing with. He is learning that if you want to receive new toys, you have to make room for them by getting rid of some of the old toys.

So does Nathan suffer having a December 21st birthday? Quite the contrary — it is two weeks of absolute magic, surprise and joy for him. And it works out fine for me, now that I have figured out how to keep the avalanche of new toys under control.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Make It Happen Mama December 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Our 5-year-old son is always happy to help me with the "great toy clean-out", which we do at least twice a year, and is very careful to weed out toys which are too "baby" or that he doesn't play with so he can give them to other children "whose mommies and daddies don't have money to buy them toys. We say exactly what y'all do, as well: If you want to receive new toys (or clothes, books, etc.), you have to make room for them! My husband and I both come from pack-rat families, so we're trying really hard to teach our little guy good organizing/purging habits from the start 🙂


MaryJo December 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm

That's so great that at 5 he is assisting you in the Great Toy Clean-Out! So many of my clients wait until their children are 10+ years old to teach them responsibility for their rooms and toys, which makes "unlearning" those bad habits so much more difficult. Good for you for starting early in teaching those oh-so-important lessons!


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