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Christmas is so expensive, what are you buying your kids etc? - Page 2

post #21 of 89
we do
1 santa gift
1 mom and dad gift
1 siblings gift
stocking

this year its skateboards for my older 2 and dress up clothes for my younger
post #22 of 89
I was also an "overindulger" at Christmas. For me, it just wouldn't seem like Christmas with only 4 gifts under the tree.

Santa has always brought only 1 gift to our house, and he leaves it unwrapped under the tree (he is too busy to wrap everything for ALL those children!). The rest of the presents are from us. We never bought everything on the list. We would buy whatever seemed like the toy s/he wanted the most, get some other things within the budget, and fill in with things like coloring books/crayons, sticker books, etc. Stockings have always been things like toothbrushes, sugarless gum, nail polish, etc.

As the kids got older, they were always are of what the Christmas budget was, and planned their gift lists accordingly. The year they got I-pods, that was really their only "gift". I filled in with magazines and personal care/clothing items that they needed and I was going to buy anyway - I just saved them and wrapped them as Christmas gifts.
post #23 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I kind of laughed at your first sentence because growing up it would never have occurred to anyone to buy MORE decorations - the whole point was using the family set.
:
We had a huge set of ornaments and lights when I was growing up. (They weren't purchased. My dad was a furniture mover, and people would frequently give him things they didn't need in their new home - that's where most of our furniture came from - and he got a bunch of lovely Italian lights and ornaments that way. My mom also had a few from her grandmother.) When I moved out (I was the last), mom let us all go through the Christmas stuff, and take a bunch for ourselves. I still have some of them (my ex lost a lot of them, by leaving a box of ornaments outside after Christmas one year - he never told me he hadn't put them away, because he forgot the key and didn't want to walk the 50 feet back to the house to get it), and I treasure them. DH and I do buy a new ornament or two each year, but that's all.

And, you know...ds2 talks a lot about what he wants - during the year, for his birthday, for Christmas. But, if I just ask him out of the blue what he wants for Christmas, he almost always says "a chocolate hedgehog". That's one of the candies I put in their stockings. That's what he wants and looks forward to - a single chocolate hedgehog.
post #24 of 89
I just realized that I didn't really answer part of your question! My kids are 19 and 20. My son is away at college and wants money. I will give him cash in a new wallet, and fill in with things like a new razor, an I-tunes card, probably some slippers, movie passes, etc. My daughter plans to move into her own apartment in the Spring, so she will be getting pots and pans, kitchen gadgets, things like that.
post #25 of 89
Haven't read the replies+NAK disclaimer

We're planning on a lot of homeade gift certificates this year for dd(8): trips to inexpensive places like the ice cream shop, restaurants we would usually say no to, indoor play places with a friend, get out of chores or (home)schoolwork etc. Not only is it cheap but the cost gets spread out as she rarely redeems them until Feb when she gets bored being stuck indoors.
post #26 of 89
I really like the idea of the 4 gifts, but I have a technical question. If you do the "something to play with" version, do you do one single toy, or a set, or how do you decide? DS is getting the Plan City Parking Garage this year and I also found the letters of his name in a toy train that fits the Thomas/Brio type track. I have been scouring the thrift stores for track, and was planning to set up the train and car track he already has (very small amount) with what I have found at thrift stores so far along with the garage all under the tree. Does that sound like too much "something to play with"?

Can ya tell I am still trying to figure all of this out? We always had a mountain of gifts when I was a kiddo, and am really trying to scale back with DS, but it hard when I keep finding things at thrift stores for insanely cheap.
post #27 of 89
DD is 4 this year she will get
New pair of Pajamas to open Christmas Eve
New Holiday Ornament
2 Medium Sized presents
Stocking stuffers, which we wrap so there is more to open like, new toothbrush, gum, crayons, coloring books, candy treats

But mostly we focus on things we can do rather than presents, like looking at lights, ice skating, paper chain countdown, Christmas program...
post #28 of 89
I have been utilizing Craigslist this year. My 4 yr old could care less if the ride on toy is used or not. As long as it works he will be THRILLED.
post #29 of 89
We have to be very careful with the budget.. but with careful planning and an early start, I find it doable.

We are planning to get the kids each one pair of pajamas, one craft type project, one-two toys, and one book (probably will be the cute Kohl's ones they have now- the If you Give a Mouse a Cookie series with matching animals).

For extended family I'm planning to bake and scrimp and save and look for really good holiday deals.
post #30 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post
I filled in with magazines and personal care/clothing items that they needed and I was going to buy anyway - I just saved them and wrapped them as Christmas gifts.
I used to do that a lot with ds1. I still do, to some extent. DH and ds1 generally get roll on, and dh gets razor blades - stuff like that.
post #31 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post
... DS is getting the Plan City Parking Garage this year and I also found the letters of his name in a toy train that fits the Thomas/Brio type track. I have been scouring the thrift stores for track, and was planning to set up the train and car track he already has (very small amount) with what I have found at thrift stores so far along with the garage all under the tree. Does that sound like too much "something to play with"?
You can never have too much train track
post #32 of 89
The first thing to do is talk with adult family members. Last year my sil approached us with the request that adults in the family not exchange gifts. It seemed odd to me, but it worked out fine. We all brought a dish and had a nice meal together and the children opened gifts.

For the food and treats you can watch the sales flyers between now and the holidays. You can buy store brand items, bulk, etc to save. Buy your Christmas turkey when the thanksgiving turkeys go on clearance and keep it in the freezer for example. Keep things simple, cheese and crackers, chips and dips etc are all inexpensive. Don't buy party platters, make your own veggie and fruit plates. With careful planning the food doesn't have to break you.

For your daughter's gifts, you have to ask yourself why this is so important to you. Is there something you feel guilty about? Are you afraid she won't like you as much if she doesn't get everything she wants? Why is it you feel you can't be honest and tell her you can't afford everything she wants?

If she's still into santa, just tell her that santa is cutting back this year because of the recession. Many kids need extra clothes and school supplies and things so santa isn't bringing expensive toys. Or whatever she can understand.

The important thing is to not let her believe she may be getting these things then have her disappointed. Let her know now what is possible and what isn't.

Going into debt is not reasonable especially in the current economy. And it sends a horrible message to children.

For you daughter's friends, she can make personal gifts. Small scrapbooks, picture frames, jewelry, etc can be done inexpensively. Start now looking for items to use to make the gifts, don't wait until last minute.

I hope you can find some solutions so you can enjoy your friends and family and not worry so much.
post #33 of 89
I'm not sure what I'm getting the kids, but I got myself a very important "gift"

It's a book called "unplugging the Christmas machine." I got it for a penny plus shipping on amazon. So far, it's a good read and may help me bring more meaning into the holiday for our family.

Good luck.
Lisa
post #34 of 89
We do a variation of the want, need, etc.:

1 toy
1 game/puzzle
1 set of PJs opened on Christmas eve
1 book

I try to get the grandparents to coordinate with the toy. For instance last year I made my son a cute play kitchen for about $20 (picture here) and got the grandparents to chip in with play food as a gift.

I really, really think its important to put the focus on other things at Christmas (giving, traditions, baking, etc.) and to keep the gift giving to a minimum. I see the presents as icing on the cake, not the main meal. I'm also not a big believer in wish lists - I think it puts kids' heads in the wrong place and makes it about getting stuff. My mom had a rule that asking for something specifically was a sure way to NOT get it. We learned not to ask for anything and to always be grateful for even the smallest thing. She was always great about finding cool stuff that we didn't even know about and now as an adult I really appreciate though thoughtfulness of her gift giving.

I also agree to scour Craig's List and thrift shops. One thing I do with my son is take things out of the packaging before I give them so he doesn't have a concept of "new in the box."

I vote for getting something that will get the most play value, not necessarily the big "wow" present that looks good under the tree or will have her jumping up and down on Christmas morning. If money is tight, you can't afford to spend money on a toy that looks good but will languish in the corner after a few weeks. Presentation can help dress up a boring gift - a homemade art tote filled with inexpensive supplies is more cool than just another box of crayons, etc.
post #35 of 89
We always try and do a handmade christmas. With money so tight our kids know that they are not going to get "tons" of toys or "whatever they ask for" . WE usually do three gifts each for our Solstice celebration.
post #36 of 89
I say-Stop the madness! I don't understand buying gifts for so many people. My friend buys expensive gifts for everyone in her extended family plus her friends and their kids- including mine- even though I have said not to. she definitely enjoys it but does also complain about the money. Last year it was just crayons and a sketchbook but they were 13.00 Waldorf crayons. Too much. I refused to get bogged down with this. My in laws like to spend aloton us as does my SIL but I just don't. So someone may think I'm cheap but Christmas is NOT about going into debt.

As for the kids- I struggle with wanting there to be enough to make it seem really fun and different than normal life but I think it is too easy to go overboard.
post #37 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
I'm not sure what I'm getting the kids, but I got myself a very important "gift"

It's a book called "unplugging the Christmas machine." I got it for a penny plus shipping on amazon. So far, it's a good read and may help me bring more meaning into the holiday for our family.

Good luck.
Lisa
There was another thread like this kicking around here today. That was my suggestion in it. I'm pretty unplugged as it is but I still thought this book was amazing. Everyone should read it. The more stressed out you are about Christmas, the more I think you'd benefit from this book.

Kids don't remember the gifts. They remember the traditions (activities, family, food).
post #38 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post
I think the memories come about from the moments and traditions - not the gifts. Why not start a new tradition this year instead of relying on the gifts to be the star attraction?
I know for my children - the traditions are what holds the holidays most special for them... as they did for me as a child.

I "took over" the family tradition of baking cookies/fudge every holiday to give my aunts/uncles a platter each (or last year i made 2 bigger platters and took them to grandma's house for when everyone want over to visit her).

Ever Christmas eve we oipen 1 gift - it's ALWAYS new PJs... we then drink hot cocoa and watch The Polar Express before we go to bed.

When i was a kid - it was always going out Christmas eve after the visit to grandma's house (and before i had church service) to see all the Christmas lights lit around town.

I cant tell you every great present/gift i ever got - but the memories is what has and will keep the holidays alive for me.

I think this year is esp true for us... my job is about to end and my husband is laid off... we're living in 1 room, and yesterday we were in a motor vehicle accident that totaled our van (thankfully the only injury is my arm is fractured near the elbow). We dont have the funds, or even the space, for a big holiday - so our few traditions i think will be even more special this year
post #39 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post
As the kids got older, they were always are of what the Christmas budget was, and planned their gift lists accordingly. The year they got I-pods, that was really their only "gift". I filled in with magazines and personal care/clothing items that they needed and I was going to buy anyway - I just saved them and wrapped them as Christmas gifts.
this exactly what we do now. My kids are older so this works out great. This year my dd is getting a cell phone as her main gift.....something that we have seriously considered and feel is needed now. My ds is still deciding what he wants. Both will them have fill-in gifts of bath & body stuff, iTunes gcs (they both have iPods), pjs (a tradition here), accessories, legos, favorite food stuff, etc.
post #40 of 89
My kids aren't getting much for Christmas this year. They have too many toys already! They're each getting one or two toys (from us) and whatever from their grandma and aunt/uncle. My side of the family doesn't celebrate xmas so it's not a big deal to me, since I didn't grow up with it. I want the kids to have good memories of us spending time together, so we'll probably bake cookies, make decorations for the tree, and watch some movies. We can build a fire in the fireplace and roast marshmallows, and their dad will probably shoot off some fireworks that night. Sounds like fun to me!
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