1. How many gifts do you allow for a 5 year old for a 5 year old (I am not talking the gifts they will get from other sources).
We don't have a specific target number or limit, though in general we try not to go overboard. We usually do a Santa gift and a stocking for each kiddo, a pair of holiday pajamas, a couple books, and 2-3 toys or similar gifts.
2. How many gifts do you decide about, how many you let her decide about.
The kiddos will brainstorm a list of maybe 5-10 ideas and interests, and we've always explained that it's just for ideas, not a promise of exactly what they'll get.
3. When do you buy gifts and when do you put them under tree. waaaaay before Ch or on the Chr day?
On heck, only after they've gone to bed on Christmas Eve, so all the gifts are waiting under the tree Christmas morning. My 4- and 5-year-olds are ninjas. There's no way gifts put there sooner wouldn't get peeked at. Or just flat out opened. I don't tempt the inevitable.
4. Is your little one with you and can she see when and how you are buying gifts from her list or do you do the whole Santa thing?
When they were babies and toddlers, I could get away with shopping for them while they were with me. That wouldn't fly any more. Even if they're gifts from us, not from Santa, I still wouldn't do it, any more than I would take my sister with me while shopping for her birthday gift. Unless it's something that requires a person's presence in order to pick it out, we've always done gifts as surprises.
5. Do you do Santa give away gifts on Christmas day by dressing up as Santa or is this just a buffet style morning?
No, the gifts magically appear under the tree, wrapped in their own paper that's different from any other wrapping paper we use for holiday gifts. Likewise, Santa seems to be a lefty with his own handwriting style.
The kids are allowed to open their stockings before we get up. That's a tradition my grandmother started in order to get to sleep until at least 6 a.m., because my mom and my uncle woke her up at 3 a.m. a couple of times before that. I like that tradition! Then we open gifts together and have breakfast, in no particular order, before going down to my parents' to celebrate Christmas with my extended family and for my birthday lunch.
This year my daughter (age 5) is asking for:
-an Ipod with ear buds
-a brown football
-small book, 5-10 pages, with short rhyming words for learning how to read
-My Little Pony Princess Palace
-a special blanket with a heart on it
The first two are the result of her having a number of older friends (ages 7-10), and they're not going to happen this year. Maybe in a couple years, when she can take better care of her stuff and it's more developmentally appropriate. She's really into football and wrestling right now, so the football is a real possibility, especially as a Santa gift. She's also really interested in learning how to read, but we're not going to get anything right now because I have a feeling she might be past the point of needing a super short book with CVC words by next month. But she'll definitely get some books. The rest are going out to family for ideas if they want them and we'll see what happens.