Today during quiet time I cleared off the shelf that held our “Wednesday pile” all the way from last Christmas. There were a few random things which never got opened, and those will go along to goodwill (we use www.pickupplease.org). The truth about the Wednesday pile is that we lose interest by the time the weather gets nice in April, so anything still around by then is usually forgotten.
The full shelf above is our games and puzzle shelf, and I did some purging there, too, removing any games with too many lost parts to have play value. As you see, we still have plenty, and games are in frequent use at our house. We go to the shelf on rainy days or when we have a chunk of downtime. Right now our Saturday night favorite is Yahtzee. Electronic Snap Circuits are still a hit from last Christmas, and a new favorite, simple game is Taiga, which my children of all ages have enjoyed. Also still a favorite from Christmas is the huge set of paints from our cousins in New Hampshire. Other popular choices are Sequence for Kids, and various puzzles. I love puzzles, I really think they build concentration, and every once in a while we have a “puzzle party” where everyone chooses a puzzle appropriate to their age to work on for an hour or so.
We have 3 December birthdays and 7 children receiving Christmas gifts, so most of our incoming toys for the entire year come in the next few weeks. The Wednesday pile helps us keep the fun going through the entire winter.
I’ll tell you, the clear shelf there gives me a lot of peace of mind, because it means that I will not be totally overwhelmed about where to put the new things on December 26, and my kids will not go into crazy spoiled I don’t know where to turn mode. One new Lego will get opened a week, or one toy, and get to have a spotlight and really be enjoyed that week. At the end of the week it will have to find a permanent home or go back to the basement.
I minimize the excess as much as I can control, and I am trying to take a detached attitude to the fact that I cannot control what other people buy. As for Santa, he is bringing each one slippers, a book and one special thing that they really want and will use, such as new ski goggles, or a replacement for a lost kindle. I told the kids this year that they were not allowed to ask Santa, that he would decide what to give them. Also, my oldest picked out the goggles himself and watched me buy them, so I guess we don’t have to pretend that anymore :) Oh, and my next to oldest put candy in my shoe on St Nicholas Eve, so she’s in the know as well. They get a special sparkle in their eyes when they look at me when the little ones are talking about Santa, though, so it is all still magical.
By the way, what about my gross basement? That’s keeping it real. September floods are becoming a tradition around here, so I don’t plan to finish it anytime soon. We have a dehumidifier, so the air is dry, and everything down there is either on a high shelf or in a plastic container. However, the smooth cement floor makes it a great roller rink!