50 answers

Christmas with No Money

I am a single mom of two wonderful boys ages 11 and 7. This Christmas is a hard one for me financially. I have absolutely no extra money for Christmas this year. They really don't need any new toys as they already have plenty so I don't want to sign them up under a charity. There are plenty of others who have it much worse than us that could use it more. However, I really don't want this to be a depressing holiday for them.

Therefore, do any of you moms have any fun, creative ways for gift giving from me to them that will cost nothing. The only thing I can think of is wrapping up some boxes with notes in them offering my time such as playing games etc. There's got to be something more I can do though. Especially for the younger one. The older one gets it that times are tough. He doesn't like it but he gets it. The younger one doesn't understand.

Anyway, any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

A couple years ago for Christmas, my husband and I had money really tight. We had one son who was 1 1/2. Thankfully he didn't understand the concept of Christmas yet. We did want him to get a little something though. We started yard-saleing. There are all sorts of toys and clothes at yard sales. We got him five books or so for 25 cents each, a winnie the pooh bear for 25 cents, and an elmo remote for $2.00. I don't think I got any clothes for him because he was getting that from grandparents. For his birthday though I did clothes. I actually went to the Goodwill. I don't know if you have one near you, but the one we had was super cheap with clothes in very good condition. I was able to get him two pair of pants, two shorts, a button up shirt, a vest, and a tuxedo jacket and a play rotary phone all for under $10. I know you said you don't have any money, but most people don't think 25 cents is any money. I thought I would write in and give my suggestion just in case you ever have a few cents lying around.

1 mom found this helpful

Sell their old stuff on craigslist that they do not play with anymore and look for things they want that is in like new condition on craigslist and buy those things. And accept some donations. Please don't give them nothing but notes for Christmas. Every child should get something special. It does not have to be an extravaganza and I do think many people spend way beyond their means and live on credit which is so dumb but please make it happen for them. You have time and can make it special.

1 mom found this helpful

Instead of focusing on what you can't give them, maybe focus on what you CAN do. It might be fun to volunteer together with them to help people in need on or around the holiday.

More Answers

There is a reason that charities are available...for things just like this. Don't feel bad! People can help you give them a christmas. It doesn't have to be toys, they can request books, games, or clothes. Go for it!

Make memories with your boys by taking them to functions around your town. A christmas parade? A tree lighting ceremony? Look in the paper to find the free activities that will make all 3 of you feel special!

7 moms found this helpful

take the charity gifts.....that's what they're there for. Next year, donate in your sons' names & return the "charity".

I like your ideas, but I do feel they need something new to open......

& one more thought: if the boys have a lot, try selling some of their stuff on ebay or craigslist.....& then use that $$ to buy them gifts.

6 moms found this helpful

You can still sign up for an adopt a family program. They will ask for a list of things they do need. They may not need toys but one or two new toys would be really nice, but also books, movie passes or tickets to an event. Even some new clothes or school supplies would be nice for them. A gift for Mom will also be included.
I divorced my ex when my kids were little 5 and 3 yrs old and on Christmas morning, our first, the kids opened their presents and were all excited then asked me about my presents and I explained that I didn't have any presents under the tree that year. They both cried. They were heartbroken that Momma didn't have a gift to open. From that year on I always made sure I had a gift under the tree. I would buy myself something I wanted, earrings, necklace, one year an LP (before CDs) and I knew no one else would get this item for me. It was always labeled for R. from Santa.

5 moms found this helpful

Accept the charity. Really, there are many of us out there who want to help families like yours. Our kids' school has adopted a school in a poorer area and we have a list of kids' ages and clothing sizes so we can buy things for the children. I'm taking our kids to buy something tomorrow -- one toy and one clothing item for each child we've selected (multiple people will select each child). Believe me, we get more out of giving than you will get out of receiving. I look forward to donating every year.

Your kids may not really need new toys, but having something new to open at Christmas is fun. And you can always mention items you'd prefer instead when you sign up with a charity. Many do "giving trees" listing specific items a child needs.

Sign up for assistance, but also follow through with your own idea of offering your time. I think that's a wonderful combination!

5 moms found this helpful

Look at Salvation Army. My daughter has helped moms like you find wonderful gifts for the kids for three years. She always comes home glowing and telling me how she got this or that for this child and how they found the perfect whatever for that child.
The volunteers will walk around with you and help you with your list.
There is no shame.
Like Mona said people want to help you at Christmas, that's what Christmas is about.

4 moms found this helpful

I do think you should do a charity, also. Your list can be small, and it can be things they need. (Books, clothing, school supplies, etc.) I had a few Christmas' where I did not have a real open to gift, and it was quite hard as a child. It also brought my parents great joy, to see us so surprised. Sure, there will always be people worse off. That doesn't mean your children and YOU are deserving. All children and families deserve to have fun on Christmas!!

I do think your idea is wonderful, also. If you do find a way to get them tangible things to open, I really think you should do that too! Children value nothing more then time with their parents, or free time to have fun, and I think you really have a great idea.

3 moms found this helpful

Try and sell a few things on Craigslist (like old toys). Use that money to buy things at goodwill. I buy stuff there all the time. I understand that you don't want free toys, but consider signing them up for clothing needs. I'm sure they are growing boys and might need a few more winter clothes. I also recommend spending a few hours volunteering with them. Maybe go for a drive in the car with them to see Xmas lights and sing Christmas songs. Watch Christmas movies (you tube has movies posted by different people so it is free), play the games they already have.

3 moms found this helpful

Personally, if you aren't going to be able to give them any toys, I would request help from a charity. There are many powerful and good lessons to learn when life is tough, but Christmas isn't the time. As they are older and understand more (or maybe even now with your oldest), you can use it as a lesson in how important charity is. How if someone else hadn't been generous, your Christmas would have been a lot different. It just may make a wonderful impact on their lives.

As for what you can give them, I think you've come up with wonderful ideas. Maybe coupons for you to make their favorite dinner, a snowball fight, and skip school for a pj and movie day (if you can get the day off, I'd let them play hookey for a day as a special treat under the circumstances). Merry Christmas! Your boys sound like they have a wonderful mother!

3 moms found this helpful

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