How Much Do You Spend on Your Kids for Christmas?????

Updated on November 09, 2010
J.H. asks from Phoenix, AZ
21 answers

Hey mamas! I started planning out my Christmas budget and started thinking about gifts for the kids. I was wondering how much (on average) you spend per kid? I am freaking out here.... I budgeted $100 per kid, but when I started pricing out some of the things the kids have talked about I about had a heart attack. The toys are sooooo expensive (and not big, extravagant ones either) that I was going to be able to get 3 things for $100 (1 from mom/dad, and 2 from santa). That didn't include stockings, or pj's that we get for the kids to wear for xmas morning. Realistically, I am guessing it is going to cost more like $150 per kid, with only a couple to unwrap. I snagged a couple of puzzles from my daughters b-day stash to regift to them (GASP!) She doesn't even realize it. Anyway, what do you ladies spend and about how many gifts does that buy?

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answers from Modesto on

I never went into debt for Christmas. I would look at my overall Christmas money and go from there. Kids dont care how much you spent, they just care that they got what they wanted.

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answers from Phoenix on

The way we do Christmas as we have 4 teens is....
we set a budget saying we will spend no more than 500 for Christmas.

SO that means each child get 125.

They each get one big item from their lists.
Then they will get a few more items.
Everyone has the same amount of gifts ...
sometimes in order to get the same amount of gifts we may go over the 125 if we did not use all the funds allotted to one of the kids.
No one complains because no one knows how much the items cost and since they all got the same amount of gifts along with a large item. Christmas is peaceful and enjoyable.

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answers from Erie on

Last year, for our family of six, things were very very tight and we picked names. Everyone got $25 to spend on their person. My husband and I still did the stockings and probably spent a total of $40-50 on those. My kids are spoiled rotten by their grandparents, though, so we've never stressed about it.

This year, my dh and I wanted new phones, and they are expensive. We are buying ourselves discounted, lightly used, phones that are normally 150 for less than 100 each. We are considering those our Yule gifts this year (I already got mine and we are shopping around for him). The kids will pick names amongst each other, and each will have $50 to spend.

We always work within our budget and never go into debt for it, so it has varied through out the years, depending on our financial situation (which has also varied greatly through out the years lol).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

In our family, we get 1 big gift, and then lots and lots of little, inexpensive gifts. We also look for these little, inexpensive gifts throughout the year, which means we often find them on sale and so that is less expensive, too. For example, it won't help you this year, but consider buying the PJs for next year right after Christmas this year. You'll get a great deal on them. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I used to not keep track. Just pulled out that credit card and paid the bill later.

Last year we both lost our jobs, so Christmas became an issue. I spent $75 - presents and stocking stuff per my 2 kids. Then $20 a piece for my niece and nephew. $10 for a toy for Toys-4-Tots. My kids didn't get a lot of presents from us, but I made sure that the 2-3 they did get were ones that would keep their interest for time to come, and they would really love! BTW. 2 of them were bought at 50% black Friday deals which is how I afforded them.

This year money is tight again. My plan is the same. Having a cash only Christmas is hard, but it teaches you to work with what you have and focus more on the family side of Christmas.

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answers from New York on

I have a strict budget of $75 per kid or 3 gifts each. I had 6 kids in the house at one time so that would work out to 18 more toys in the house.

Now I have two teen boys in the house and the budget is still only $75.00 each. We just don't do the extravagant high priced electronic thing. I do intend on getting them some really great things for some major discounts. Things like a MP3 player, video camera, digital cameral and portable dvd player.



answers from Phoenix on

My mom used to go way overboard for my (5) kids. I decided years ago that it was a bad precident to set so I asked her if she could please stick to "3 wisemen, 3 presents". Because she gets 3 we only buy one (big one budget of $100/kid). My kids are now 23,15,13,11,9 and they know all of their friends get more. But we stick with it. It does encourage cooperation and pooling of resources on the lists. This year they all have at the top of their list "PS3 - group gift".



answers from Phoenix on

It's easier when they are younger to have abudget but as they get older it goes right out the window.. I have 2 teengirls so this year we told them they get 1 big gift & that is all (of course Mom likes to shop so they actually will be getting just little stuff I have found on sale jewelry, clothes etc.. Dad won't know till wrapping day thats ok). As for there big gift it's gona be between $100 to $200 cause electronics are outreagously priced..



answers from Dallas on

LOL! Way too much! This year they are getting a PS3 and each a 100.00 Lego set - not much more. In our defense we bought the PS3 b/c it is also a blue ray player :) But I did start buying in July so the hit won't be so noticeable.


answers from Dallas on

It depends on the year. Last year I was working and so we could afford the $300 laptop for the 9 year old and all the bells and whistles for my kids. This year, I am a SAHM and we just can't afford it this year. My oldest is getting the Fushigi balls (from Santa) and then we are going really cheap on the rest. My 3 year old could care less, so she'll be getting a lot of dollar store things like art supplies and princess wands, etc. I also bought a few things after Christmas last year, so I got a head start!



answers from Atlanta on

We probably spend about 300-350 per kid on all of it -presents from us, stockings and Santa. However -for the last 4 years I was a SAHM and I worked a seasonal contract every spring and fall as well as doing focus groups throughout the year, and we SOLELY used that money for Christmas, special occasions and birthdays. My mother was alive and able to watch my kids while I did this contract work, so I didn't have to pay childcare at that time. Therefore, we had some money to spend. I went back to work full time in February and actually also have a part time job I do from home at night, but I think we'll keep this budget. I LOVE Christmas in all its ways, and I love Santa and gifts, but I don't want it to be completely ridiculous. I have family who goes insane! Their kids are grown now and they still act crazy over getting gifts at Christmas. When those kids' parents were really ill -right before their mother died -she asked them if they would just like a nice check and they could all get together for Christmas Eve dinner and maybe do one or two gifts (she did this because she was in horrible shape health-wise and didn't have the ability or feel like doing a bunch of shopping) and they STILL flipped out over getting the actual gifts (and both families could have really used the money at that point) ! I do not want to raise kids like that! I make sure that a few charitable giving situations that my children can get in on and help with are part of our Christmas experience as well.

If you have it, I think $150 a kid is fine -or maybe $200 depending on their ages, how many kids you have and what YOU have financially. Do NOT charge up a bunch of bills for Christmas -that's the worse thing you can do.



answers from Chicago on

I start shopping around October for the kids and closer to $150 I even go to the thrift stores because sometimes there are even brand new items. I already have three treasure chests for the older 3 to paint and decorate. I also re-gift some things too. I also do not buy any electronics because Santa's elves do not make such things. I stared that with the oldest she is now 15 but I have 5 kids and one more on the way so I can still that.


answers from Washington DC on

couple hundred. but it varies from year to year depending on how well we're doing!



answers from Colorado Springs on

I have always had to start with what my budget was, and proceed accordingly. When my children were young, whether a present was new or second-hand didn't matter as long as they liked it. This helped a lot. I didn't and still don't want to be in debt for months after Christmas - it ruins any trace of "Christmas spirit"!

Now I have grandchildren, and, of course, it's part of my job description to spoil them! So my budget is a little higher. Even so, it doesn't go past $100 per capita (ever!) at Christmas. My current plan for my granddaughters is that each gets a simple outfit to wear, a book, art supplies, a doll outfit, and something else, depending on that child's interests. Oh, and an ornament for the Christmas tree. The art supplies are inexpensive (discount store), the doll clothes are as well because I look for sales online, and the books are also sale items. I Christmas-shop year-round and I still use good thrift-store items for gifts (we have fine thrift stores here), but at Christmas I do buy them NEW outfits because there are lots of clothes handed down among family members the rest of the year.

Start looking for sales - surely pajamas will come on sale soon, and you might find some other things on your kids' wish lists. Check Amazon; check eBay; check Craigslist.


answers from Washington DC on

I TRY to spend about $200 per kid, but it goes way over that every year. There is no avoiding it. And if you think about the little things here and there, I am sure we spend over $1000 every year for three kids. This year we have two nieces also and they are getting about $50 each. I think it totally depends on where you are financially, what your kids are used to, where you live, etc. So much goes into it. But I really think we spend about $1000 every Christmas. none of it putting us into debt though or I wouldn't do it. If it has to go on a CC and I can't pay it off immediately, we dont get it.



answers from Sacramento on

I only have 2 kids so we might do more than others, but we spend about $350 each. They get one big present from Mom and Dad and one big present from Santa. Then a few more smaller things.



answers from New York on

I would think it depends on how old your children are. If they are really young (under 3), one or two things to unwrap that are fun is fine. Then hit the after holiday sales for necessities (new clothes, toys, etc).

Here's what we started doing last year... keep an "active" list throughout the year of things you children want or need and pick them up as you go along. I have found some really nice clothing items and toys on sale mid-season (Christmas in July at T-R-U) and then put them away until Christmas. I do this for my son and 4 nieces. It allows me to have a mix of big and "little" things that are thoughtful, needed and/or wanted without getting crunched in one month.

Just for reference sake, we spend NO MORE that $1500 on Christmas TOTAL- cards, pictures, gratuities, gifts, etc. We have a concept of what our max is and the do a spreadsheet and "move the money" around so that we are realistic, but not overspending. We spend about $250 on our son.



answers from Albuquerque on

Hi All - Depending on the ages of your kiddos, ABC Distributing can be a great place to shop for Christmas, I did it for years until my girls got older (15, 15, 17). I still go back for things like pjs or small stuff like that. I've never stuck to the "sold in sets of three" rule, I buy any number of what I like and they still give me the price and ship it out. Buying clothes can be hit or miss, some of the items are really sad quality wise but others are OK for the price. I have seen some bad reviews on the company but me personally, I've never had an issue with them and I've been ordering from them for over 10 years. If a shipment comes up short, I contact them and they make it good.


answers from Dallas on

i am going to spend about 300.00-400.00 dlls



answers from Boston on

We try to do about $100/kid (we have two) but we also celebrate Xmas and Hanukah, which means more little gifts. But they get a ton of stuff from my folks and their aunts and uncles, so we can really spread the love.

A way to bulk up under the tree is to get a bunch of king sized candy bars and wrap those - they're only a couple bucks and the kids love them. Silly bandz are also inexpensive. I sometimes also wrap stuff that they're going to need to get anyway like new underware and socks.

Good luck!



answers from New York on

Now before you judge me remember that I live in New York where just about everything is expensive. I have two daughters 4 and 6 I usually spend about 400.00 per kid. That usually will get me 10 to 12 gifts. This year it will be less gifts since they are both getting bikes and my oldest whose birthday is Dec 1st has asked for a lap top.

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