15 answers

Christmas Budgets

I was just curious of how much you budget for your kids chistmas gifts. I'm torn betweeen spoiling them too much and the feeling that Christmas comes once a year, why not spoil them a little (within reason). I don't want to start the whole conversation that Christmas is not about the presents; I know that. We donate gifts to children who don't have and to the food pantries, my daughter is in Browniesd so she does Christmas caroling and all that, so I do instill giving also. But the fact is I love watching them open their presents and I love to give to them. But how much is too much? Just curious of your thoughts. Thanks, and hope you all have a very blessed Christmas!!

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Hi M.
I generally spend around $300. My son doesn't believe anymore so he gives me a list knowing that he isn't going to get it all.
Happy holidays
J.

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Depends on what they need... we try to keep the focus on something special and a few things to open that my son needs, like new jammies and crayons. We are also trying to remind our families of the same notion. My husband and I trying to help our son understand what Christmas is really all about (including the joy of giving). He's little, but attends church with us each week, helped light the advent candles and loves the Nativity set in the living room. It is so easy to give and watch their little faces light-up, but at the same time it sets a precedent that you may not be able to maintain for a long period of time.

We have spent about $150 on my son and have allocated $20-25 each for the other children in the family. I typically do a book and a gift card to either Target or Toys R Us that way they can "capitalize" on the post-Christmas sales. As adults, we draw names with a $75 limit to keep costs reasonable.

If there is something that your 8 year old really really wants and has been talking about for a long period of time, go for it! Otherwise, I wouldn't suggest buying "stuff" for the sake of buying. Depending on your budget situation, with three children you should really keep it under $500 and remember to SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS! Just because you think it's the most awesome toy doesn't mean that they will love it and stores are really strict right now on return policies!

Hi M.,
My kids are 10 and 14 now. It seems like every year, I tell myself "less is more" and vow not to buy so many gifts, and then somehow, I "forget." Ooops. Here is the thing ... are they using everything that you buy them? If they have so much that they can't figurer out what to play with or you are now looking at boxes of games, craft sets, science sets, etc that were given last year and never played with, then yes, you are giving too much. I try now to focus on things that they would really like. I also tend to buy more because my kids' birthdays are both in late June, so the twice yearly giftings are pretty far apart, and I really don't buy my kids "no occasion" gifts. We don't have "I want ..." and I buy it, so Christmas is when they tend to get those things.
I think it's great for kids to enjoy both receiving and giving. I enjoy both myself!

Hi M.
I generally spend around $300. My son doesn't believe anymore so he gives me a list knowing that he isn't going to get it all.
Happy holidays
J.

When the sensational six were little ranging in ages from 10 to 2 and even now the budget for them is $75.00 each. I also have a Christmas eve tradition of giving everyone in the house new pajamas and slippers. This way the Christmas day pictures are even more beautiful. Hope this helps. I also start shopping in September right after school begins. Usually by the weekend after Thanksgiving I am finished with all my shopping. K.

THANK YOU M.! IT'S BEEN QUITE A FEW GENERATIONS AGO SINCE I HEARD A MOTHER SAY, 'I LOVE WATCHING THEM OPEN THEIR PRESENTS...' I'D LIKE TO THINK ABOUT THE WHAT IF'S? IF WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN THAT CHRISTMAS INCLUDES EXCHANGING GIFTS AND MONEY TO PURCHASE THEM, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE DAY COMES AND THERE'S NO MONEY OR GIFTS? DOES THIS MEAN THAT THEY ARE LOVED ANY LESS? YOU ASKED HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH TO SPEND? MY ANSWER IS TO SPEND QUALITY TIME ENJOYING LIFE'S SIMPLEST PLEASURES LIKE BEING TOGETHER, TALKING ABOUT REAL ISSUES, MAKING EACH OTHER LAUGH, SHOWING EACH OTHER HOW MUCH WE CARE. THEN, EXTENDING THIS SPIRIT WITH OTHERS LESS FORTUNATE WHO DON'T HAVE $$$, NO FAMILY/FRIENDS AND APPRECIATING WHAT WE DO HAVE. PERHAPS, INSTEAD OF STORING THE OLD CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FROM LAST YEAR AWAY--ANTICIPATING THE NEW ONES, WE COULD SPEND A DAY GIVING ALL OF OUR EXCESS AWAY TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW. WATCH THE FACE OF SOMEONE WITH NO GIFT ON CHRISTMAS RECEIVING THE OLD AND STORED AWAY ONES (-: THIS INCLUDES ALL OF MY CLUTTER AND EXCESS TOO o-; IN ESSENCE, 'KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES' AND OUT-DOING EACH OTHERS GIFTS WITH LABELS AND PRICE TAGS DON'T EQUIP OUR CHILDREN WITH THE REALITY THAT WHEN THE CHIPS ARE LOW AND THE PRICES SKY-HIGH, THAT NONE CAN REPLACE US OR MEASURE UP TO OUR SPIRIT PRICELESS INSIDE?

I think you personally need to do what is in your budget..I usually say $200 per child, I have 3..and that never happens. If it makes you happy to watch them open presents then go for it. I always get a tear when I hear them scream, "This is just what I wanted".

And I agree with you 100%. I donate toys and clothes all year long to local charities. As well as donate, to St. Jude, Sloan-Kettering, Disabled Veterans, give weekly Church envelopes, the Penny Drive at School, and constantly donate food and supplies to the Soldiers. I laughed when you said please let's not turn it into about giving and donating, and as usual there is always one that has to be preachy!

Christmas comes once a year and they are getting bigger and soon won't even want to wake up on Christmas morning or just want $$, so enjoy it and spend what you want! And not to sound nasty but all the ones that say giving are the ones that don't have it and are jealous. If you're a good person, then do what makes you and your family happy and forget everyone else! Merry Christmas!

We spend less than $100 on each child...for one, we can't afford more than that...and this year we won't be able to afford even that. Second, we don't believe that Christmas should be all about how many gifts you can get...it's about quality time with family.
I have never spoiled my kids at birthdays or Christmas, mainly because we could never afford to. They get some nice presents, but we don't go over board, and our kids don't expect it from us.
However, when we can afford something a little more expensive, they truly appreciate it and know how much we sacrificed to get it for them....
It's nice to know that when the funds aren't there, they aren't expecting to get a ton of stuff, but that they appreciate it so much more when we can get them more.

Hi There,
I feel the same way you do about giving to the kids... Christmas and Birthdays are the few times of year where I really give the kids toys that I really think they want. When it comes to gifts now, I go by what I think they will really enjoy and use, rather than the price (within reason of course). We usually get each child a "big gift" and several smaller gifts. Ie. last year we got my daughter a pretty nice play kitchen and my son a wagon (my son was 10 mos and my daughter was 3)... they still use those items ALL the time... so, go by what they will enjoy and you will enjoy giving... don't go by cost (just don't get them more than you can afford, or more than they will appreciate). Merry Christmas!!

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