I often say that our children aren't allowed to have toys at home. And as often as I espouse such ridiculous statements, I get looks of disbelief from family and friends.
I don't really mean our kids literally cant have toys. But, I do want to limit the amount of toys, plastic, junk, and meaningless consumerism that comes with having children. I have already resigned myself to being a poor example of environmental awareness by opting for disposable diapers. I have tried to make up for the guilt of littering our landfills by gratefully accepting a ton of hand-me-down clothes, shoes, hats, and baby accoutrement's from loving friends (which I am more than thrilled about).
What I want our generous family to adopt is the long term idea that I want to create memories, and not clutter. That it is more about the time that is put into something, than the money that is spent. This doesn't mean that I am not 100% appreciative for everything that they do and share with us. But, I would much rather share a great collective memory than possess an item of material wealth.
I want to share this philosophy with my children too. I want them to appreciate the time that a family member spends with them, a special outing that they go on, a trip to the zoo just 'Grandma and I', or a handmade item. I want them to realize that the most important things in life are the relationships you create and nurture, the trust that you build and the love that is exchanged between friends and family.
I hope that I will be able to articulate this to our loved ones, without hurting any feelings or ego's.