33 answers

Two Questions - Finances and Holidays

This past year has been financially difficult for us. We are self employed, and because of the economy in the U.S., it has greatly affected our business. This means for Christmas, we can not spend a lot. My husband and I are not sure what to do for this Christmas, and our kids keep telling us what they want for Christmas. My oldest wants a Wii which is definitely out of the question. We are thinking about giving only one gift for each child. What do we tell the children about Santa Claus? My oldest said "Well, Santa Claus can give us one gift, and you can give us one gift". Are there anyone out there who is in the same situation as we are? I am trying so hard to be in good spirit about Christmas, but I really am dreading it because we have to watch every penny until after the New Year. The holidays tend to be the slowest time of the year, and the economy is so bad right now.

Also, can you suggest of something fun that we can do with the kids that doesn't cost anything during the holidays when they are home for Thanksgiving and Christmas? My husband has to work thru the holidays so that we can take care of our expenses. Just so you know, my youngest one is a real handful which that is something that my husband and I are working on with her.

9 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow! Everyone thank you so much for all the wonderful suggestions and for sharing your stories. Many of you are a wonderful inspiration, and thank you for sharing lots of wonderful ideas. Now I need to start planning my calendar with some exciting fun things to do.

UPDATE: 12/12/08 - Everyone - again, many thanks for your wonderful suggestions, and for taking the time to give me and others who might need help with this too. We actually are doing better now since I last posted this, and my husband has a busy month with work for the month of December. I actually am feeling alot better from lots of encouragement from my family and friends. in fact, my husband got a "used" Wii from Craig's list for a good price, and we actually were able to come up with a plan how we wanted to spend money for Christmas. I hope everyoe has a wonderful holiday with your families!

Featured Answers

I'm glad that things have improved for you and that you have dealt with the challenges of this year. One last thought on the Santa issue, however. I tell my girls that Santa will give them (as another response mentioned) things that he determines are appropriate and enjoyable for them. I don't have them write lists -- Christmas isn't about a wish list but instead the thought of the giver. I also tell them that Santa is giving extra this year to children who have nothing -- who are lacking in the things that they take for granted. And, if you want to read an inspiring story about this same issue, read L. Ingalls Wilder's chapter on Santa Claus in Little House on the Prairie.

2 moms found this helpful

FUN FREE CHRISTMAS: www.thevillageatallen.com Allen: has their Tree Lighting TONIGHT: sat.11/22...starting at 5:30
The BIG GUY Santa is there!

2 moms found this helpful

just a thought, but right now at walgreens all of their 9.99 toys are 4.00 off. There is a coupon in their ad- tomorrow is the last day. They have a range of toys for different ages. You could get 3 toys for under 20.00. I thought it was a great deal!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I hope it's not too late to give a reply. I didn't see your post right away. Here is something that I found that you may be interested in. http://organizedchristmas.com/

They give some ideas as such:

Christmas camp-out: One evening, roll out sleeping bags in the living room, and hold a family camp-out underneath the Christmas tree. Don’t forget the hot chocolate and carols around the fireplace!

Lights Night: Put younger children to bed as usual, but wake them an hour later. Tumble the family into the car pajamas and all, and drive out to see the Christmas lights. Pack hot drinks and popcorn for a surprise treat.

Shopping Date: To encourage children to give, make a one-on-one shopping date with each child. Together with a parent, help the child shop for gifts for other family members. Be sure to stop for a sweet treat. Make memories!

Pet Patrol: Visit the local humane society or animal shelter, and volunteer to walk homeless pets during the season. Fresh air and family time are a bonus!

Candle-Lit Dinner: Make an everyday dinner special by dining by candlelight. Share stories around the table as you enjoy the glow.

Glowing Toes: Share a mother-daughter moment: a girls-only pedicure party, complete with Rudolph-red nail polish!

Library Lane: Visit the local library and check out books about Christmas. Read one book each night in December as a special holiday countdown.

Cracker Crafts: Save enough toilet-tissue tubes to supply the family. Create Christmas crackers by stuffing tubes with tiny candies, toys and treats. Wrap crackers, and use them as place cards for holiday dinners.

I hope this helps you :)

10 moms found this helpful

Your story reminds me of something that happened when I was a child and I think this will bring you comfort. I was a thumb-sucker from the very beginning and by the time I reached 7 years old, it was having a terrible effect on my teeth. My parents tried everything to get me to stop with no success. Finally, they said that if I stopped sucking my thumb, they would get me a Barbie Dream House for Christmas. That year, I did stop sucking my thumb, but my father lost his job. My mother was a part time teacher, so Christmas was going to be very slim that year. They couldn't afford to get me the dream house and this tore them up (though they never showed that to me). One day, while driving home from a job interview, my father saw a garage sale and something told him to pull over to look (he doesn't ever shop at garage sales). That's when he saw a used, 10+ year old plastic doll house (the perfect Barbie size) that was on it's last life. He bought it, brought it home and cleaned and fixed it up as best he could. On Christmas morning, he almost wanted to throw it out because he was afraid I would be disappointed that it wasn't like the ones I'd seen in the store. But, of course, I LOVED it. It was unique and just the right size for the Barbie furniture I already had. My dad remembers very fondly, in the weeks and months following Christmas, passing my bedroom and watching me play so lovingly with that doll house. It still brings a tear of joy to his eye today when he talks about it.

The point of this story... get your children things that you know they will enjoy, but stay within your budget. You never know - the toy you buy might end up being one of their most favorite. Yes, Nintendo Wiis are fun, but they are expensive - the console, the games, the extra controllers, etc. Your 8 year old boy is old enough that I think you can sit down with him and explain that although you can't afford to get him a Wii this Christmas, that doesn't mean he can't ever have one.

6 moms found this helpful

Sit down and figure out how much you can "afford" to make Christmas this year and stick to it. Think of things you feel your children would like. I know the Wii sounds fabulous but if you can't don't do it and take away from other more important things this year. When things get better you can surprise him with it (good grades or end of year passing to the next grade). As said in other postings, kids remember all the good things done as a family. Whatever you do, please wrap up all the gifts. One year we didn't and I overheard my son say that he wished Santa had wrapped up the gifts.

As far as doing things together go driving through the decorated neighborhoods at night. Take in a movies or play this is about Christmas. Sometimes a church has a program check on those. Make craft gifts to give to extended family and just enjoy each other. Ask your kids what they would like to do to start new traditions you might be pleasantly surprisesd.

May you and your family have a happy and safe holidsay season and a prosperous new year. Ddn't go on any guilt trips. I recall kids getting many things I wanted and never got but I did get over it. It's a lesson in life that we can't have everything when we want it. Sometimes we have to wait and then we enjoy it all the more. The other S.

5 moms found this helpful

Just wanted to add that it really is the feelings you inspire in your kids and the time you give to them that shapes them and that they will carry with them their whole lives. When I was about your son's age the cabbage patch dolls came out and my parents happened to get one even though we didn't have a lot of money. I was happy, but it really didn't make a difference in my life and a few months later everyone else had one and it was no big deal. As I'm sure you know, toys often wind up forgotten in a few months, but your memories will last a lifetime. Your kids will pick up on your attitude, so just fill your house with love and laughter and that is what they will remember.

5 moms found this helpful

My kids' favorite gifts last year were the gift certificates I gave them for my time. Each child received a certificate for 3 hours of "mom time", that was theirs to spend however they wanted. I was amazed at how they each chose to spend it. I baked, played cards, built a house of cards, took hikes, played football and soccer, even gave a driving lesson to my oldest. They were so thrilled to have their very own time with me (not shared), where they got to pick the activity. My rule was that I wouldn't say no to anything, as long as it wasn't dangerous, illegal, or outside my capability. A free gift with long-lasting memories for all!

4 moms found this helpful

This may be too late but my 11 yr old daughter wanted a Wii also. Like you we can't afford that so I found her a Zone. It has 7 games with it that are non violent. It cost $50 instead of $250. You can get this at Deal of the Day on line or a couple stores in my community had them advertised on sale. This is her main present and like the others responding, her other presents are small toys. I am also making robes from towels for her and her grown sisters. Christmas is about sharing. We always give at least one gift annonymously to someone in the community....An elderly single man with no family has been the person we picked the last few years.

4 moms found this helpful

Dear L.,

One activity that's good for all ages & all generations is an afternoon tea. It can be extremely inexpensive and might be the most cherished memory that your children hold dear for the rest of their lives.

The first key is to turn off the electronics and make it special with your full attention. The food can be very simple. Tea and toast can be quite enough. My mother used to make cinnamon toast it continues to be one of my favorites treats.

Using real cups and saucers and a real teapot is another important aspect of the family teatime. But you can get these at a yard sale or thrift store. Each family member can have their own cup.

Take turns being "mother" (the one who serves the tea).

The main activity should be conversation with everyone having a turn. But I love it when I hear that families gather to read aloud. This can be a tradition where the parents always read or where everyone takes a turn.

One of the greatest blessings of introducing your young children to tea is that it replaces some of the harmful beverage options with something incredibly healthy.

If you want more information, I have a monthly newsletter, "Emma Lea's Virtual Tea Party". Your electronic subscription is free. Every month we feature a seasonal menu with recipes, a new tea story and a short article about tea.

As the author of picture books with family tea themes - the Emma Lea Books. I try to inspire children to drink tea because it's fun and healthy.

You can subscribe to the free tea party newsletter at the website:


I visit schools, libraries and bookstores where I consistently find boys and girls becoming interested in tea. Teachers are using tea creatively in their classrooms with great success to create a calm environment.

4 moms found this helpful

Merry Christmas!
Remember the reason fo the season and this will help. Also at the Gaylord we went a couple of months ago just to walk around and had our parking validated so it was free.
Maybe get everyone together and do a cookie/baking day for Santa and some friends. One year we did not have a lot so we had a friend get together...everyone had a blast. Remember the reason for the season and explain we are doing something special with having friends over for the real reason of Christmas. Everyone brings something to eat. A friend of ours did this on Christmas day...an open house! If kids brought a toy that they got that day to play with everyone would have a blast seeing what each other got and forget that it was minimal, and the real reason of the season family, friends and Jesus would be shared.
Dollar store great idea! This year our neighbors are getting cheese graters with a festive bow saying it is GRATE having you as Neighbors :) Merry Christmas. Inexpensive but with meaning! Look some of that up on the internet corny but fun! Doing that for my kids this year as they already think I am corny...ha! They are 18 and 23! Then they will get one big gift each for the most part.
Happy Thanksgiving!

4 moms found this helpful

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