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How much $ do you plan to spend per child THIS holiday season? - Page 7

post #121 of 151

it was very clear to me growing up, that my parents made plenty of money: frequent trips, including overseas to visit relatives... if they found a good investment property, they would just buy it (no this and that w/ a bank)

but b/c they were very fundamental Christians, my childhood experience was, as I remember, quite impoverished.  To minimize ego development and self pride, there were no birthday parties, no cards, no cake, no singing happy birthday.  We could pick a restaurant (in all honesty, any restaurant) for dinner, then we would go to the toy store and were allowed 1 gift.  And so no one would feel left out,  siblings and/or whatever friend was along could also pick one gift.  So it never felt...well, special.

But of course everyone has different birthdays, so not having a birthday celebrated, was not quite as distinctive as not celebrating... Christmas.

Most of the holiday of Christmas has it's iconic symbols originating in pagan sources.  Yes, Jesus was born, but there were lambs in the manger and as we all know lambs are born in the spring...

So b/c of this, we did not not celebrate Christmas.  It was just another day of the year, just like all others, b/c as you can imagine... most holidays celebrated have pagan origins (though not Thanksgiving).

 

It always hurt so much when my schoolteacher and classmates would ask what I got for Christmas... and I couldn't even report 1 gift.  Even now, the pang in my chest almost brings tears to my eyes.  So once I had children, I knew I would not want them to feel this way.  When my older son was in preschool, he first learned at school about the Christmas tree and then from  us why we didn't have one.  B/c both dh and I have similar beliefs, we don't have a Christmas tree, but this year i did get some decorations and ds1 also picked out some trimmings.

 

I realize that the traditions are what I did not have growing up, and I feel traditions are what can make childhood memories so wonderful.  So we will do certain activities at this time of the year: hot chocolate, hot cider, visiting the Christmas train exhibit at the botanical gardens, zoolights.

And they do get presents, b/c we love them. I keep in mind their age, and how much is needed to make them thrilled, and that is then enough.

All year long, I buy stuff when I see it... at a good price.

And at the right occasion time, will give the presents depending on the child.  And since my kids are young (just turned 3 and just turned 6), the need... and the capacity... changes, even monthly.

So for example, I recently contacted a woodworker who I first met at the gorgeous Common Grounds Fair in Maine to make a small table and chairs set out of birds eye maple for the kids.  He assumed that it would be for Christmas.  But it won't be, since at this point... I think they have enough presents to open.

 

I guess I write this, in answer to those who feel that too much money is spent for some people's holidays.  Money is earned to be spent. Yes, some should be saved for education and retirement, but if expenses are met, and money has been saved for "a rainy day"... then what do you do w/ the leftover money?

What would you propose to do w/ this money? Arguably, any way that one spends it could be judged negatively.  But should it even be judged?

Was this money earned illegally?  At the expense of someone else?

 

This is a special time of the year.  Why not make it as most special and appreciated as one feels appropriate for one's family?

post #122 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post


This is a special time of the year.  Why not make it as most special and appreciated as one feels appropriate for one's family?



Beautifully said. :)

post #123 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post

it was very clear to me growing up, that my parents made plenty of money: frequent trips, including overseas to visit relatives... if they found a good investment property, they would just buy it (no this and that w/ a bank)

but b/c they were very fundamental Christians, my childhood experience was, as I remember, quite impoverished.  To minimize ego development and self pride, there were no birthday parties, no cards, no cake, no singing happy birthday.  We could pick a restaurant (in all honesty, any restaurant) for dinner, then we would go to the toy store and were allowed 1 gift.  And so no one would feel left out,  siblings and/or whatever friend was along could also pick one gift.  So it never felt...well, special.

But of course everyone has different birthdays, so not having a birthday celebrated, was not quite as distinctive as not celebrating... Christmas.

Most of the holiday of Christmas has it's iconic symbols originating in pagan sources.  Yes, Jesus was born, but there were lambs in the manger and as we all know lambs are born in the spring...

So b/c of this, we did not not celebrate Christmas.  It was just another day of the year, just like all others, b/c as you can imagine... most holidays celebrated have pagan origins (though not Thanksgiving).

 

It always hurt so much when my schoolteacher and classmates would ask what I got for Christmas... and I couldn't even report 1 gift.  Even now, the pang in my chest almost brings tears to my eyes.  So once I had children, I knew I would not want them to feel this way.  When my older son was in preschool, he first learned at school about the Christmas tree and then from  us why we didn't have one.  B/c both dh and I have similar beliefs, we don't have a Christmas tree, but this year i did get some decorations and ds1 also picked out some trimmings.

 

I realize that the traditions are what I did not have growing up, and I feel traditions are what can make childhood memories so wonderful.  So we will do certain activities at this time of the year: hot chocolate, hot cider, visiting the Christmas train exhibit at the botanical gardens, zoolights.

And they do get presents, b/c we love them. I keep in mind their age, and how much is needed to make them thrilled, and that is then enough.

All year long, I buy stuff when I see it... at a good price.

And at the right occasion time, will give the presents depending on the child.  And since my kids are young (just turned 3 and just turned 6), the need... and the capacity... changes, even monthly.

So for example, I recently contacted a woodworker who I first met at the gorgeous Common Grounds Fair in Maine to make a small table and chairs set out of birds eye maple for the kids.  He assumed that it would be for Christmas.  But it won't be, since at this point... I think they have enough presents to open.

 

I guess I write this, in answer to those who feel that too much money is spent for some people's holidays.  Money is earned to be spent. Yes, some should be saved for education and retirement, but if expenses are met, and money has been saved for "a rainy day"... then what do you do w/ the leftover money?

What would you propose to do w/ this money? Arguably, any way that one spends it could be judged negatively.  But should it even be judged?

Was this money earned illegally?  At the expense of someone else?

 

This is a special time of the year.  Why not make it as most special and appreciated as one feels appropriate for one's family?


P.S. We didn't celebrate Christmas either as a kid because of the pagan origins, the birth of Christ being at another type of year, the commercialism, and my dad's bitter holiday memories (real coal, no gifts several years). To top it off, we had a big church conference at that time so everyone was very careful to show a disregard for the season. My mom was raised more conventionally and missed it so we often had a very good dinner on Christmas and a cough, "training present." Still, I have zero family traditions and although we all celebrate it now, to quote DH, "you don't do it for very well." Poor waspy Jew from New England. =)

 

Still, I often feel off balance at the holidays. I am no longer religious so we only do secular things. I'd like to build rich traditions but don't really have them and don't like most of what I find. I just buy a very few things for the holidays but I happily buy things they need during the year.

 

 

 

 

post #124 of 151
We're doing $300 each. We have three kids. For the little two, $75 of their total will be on locally made handcrafted, handpainted wooden desks for their rooms. I should also add here that we never buy toys, books, DVDs, or anything other than on birthdays & holidays, so their Christmas gifts are everything we want them to have for the following year, or until their birthdays (which are in October, October, and July).
post #125 of 151

hmmmm?

post #126 of 151

Quote:

Originally Posted by p.s View Post

it was very clear to me growing up, that my parents made plenty of money: frequent trips, including overseas to visit relatives... if they found a good investment property, they would just buy it (no this and that w/ a bank)

but b/c they were very fundamental Christians, my childhood experience was, as I remember, quite impoverished.  To minimize ego development and self pride, there were no birthday parties, no cards, no cake, no singing happy birthday.  We could pick a restaurant (in all honesty, any restaurant) for dinner, then we would go to the toy store and were allowed 1 gift.  And so no one would feel left out,  siblings and/or whatever friend was along could also pick one gift.  So it never felt...well, special.

But of course everyone has different birthdays, so not having a birthday celebrated, was not quite as distinctive as not celebrating... Christmas.

 

.....

 

It always hurt so much when my schoolteacher and classmates would ask what I got for Christmas... and I couldn't even report 1 gift.  Even now, the pang in my chest almost brings tears to my eyes.  So once I had children, I knew I would not want them to feel this way.  When my older son was in preschool, he first learned at school about the Christmas tree and then from  us why we didn't have one. 

 

Hi, Not to get off topic from the OP, but I just had to say thanks for writing about your experiences. I have been tempted to 'downplay' Christmas thus far, but am coming around to celebrate it more this year now that my son can actually understand more of what it's about - or at the very least that it's "not really about not the receiving, but giving as we have been given to", and so on.

 

Although I came from poverty, as a financially blessed parent NOW, I have found myself wanting to guard against him thinking ANY holiday's sole focus is gifts (birthdays nor Xmas). We give him toys, etc all through the year, so we didn't really see the need to give him 'wrapped gifts' at b-days or xmas, thinking "He gets plenty from aunts, grandparents, and others. 

 

ALL that to say, your post reminded me that kids have to grow up around other kids who DO receive those things, and I need to be careful that my son doesn't ever think we are withholding our love from him by not celebrating any of those special times in SOME special way, even if it is simple and understated. So, I just wanted to say thanks - you reminded me there is a balance to be kept, from both extremes (commercialization, but also NON-celebration).   

post #127 of 151

I am not exactly sure how much I'll spend.  I suspect it will not be much beyond the money I already spent on two pairs of pj/long johns (which I tend to think of as a gift to myself cause they look so darn cute in them).   Neither DH nor I have very "gifty" love languages. 

 

DH is an atheist.  I am a Christian, but really regularly attending service sort of person at this juncture.  It is a conflicted time.  I remember that my mother stressed herself out each year at this time and felt that the gifts she could afford were not enough.  This is dispite having a pretty great childhood overall and a very stable lower middle to middle middle class upbringing. I also remember being a picky ungreatful kid (mostly from 6-8 grade range) she would buy me what she thought was the right thing, but it was somehow "off"    

 

I hate to shop with a passion and the idea that I have to buy gift exchange gifts for kids classmates make aggrevated. I also don't wrap and save for Christmas things that other people would label as a holiday gift.  Both my kids could use some pants and a new pair of shoes.  I am not going to wrap those sorts of things they are boys they might like them, but they are not likely to

 

DS2 really can not articulate that there is anything he want/needs right now except that he would like an Xbox and he as already resigned himself to the fact that he going to have to buy it himself. He already seems to be frugal enough that he most likely won't because he knows it is somewhat reduntant to the Wii we do have.

 

We tend to buy things as they are needed and we tend to buy qualifty items. DSs both have nice bikes, good sleeping bags, and more lego and electrontic stuff two kids would ever need. 

 

Anyway I do think my kids now at this age that we don't "do" Christmas like other folks.  I sure hope that my kiddo do feel they have traditions (for all times of year not just Dec.) and fond memories and that our style is not somehow making them feel deprived.

 

 

post #128 of 151

I haven't really focused on how much I'll spend.  I'm essentially done . . . so, I could add it up, huh?  My kids are 6 and 2, and on my daughter's Christmas when she was 4, when she was done opening gifts, there was a very long rant about wanting more to open.  So, since then, I have focused on the amount of the gifts.  Keep it low.  One gift from "Santa", one from mommy and papi and then gifts come from aunts and uncles and grandparents.  So, a gracious plenty without dh and I piling on.  And I did see a difference last year.  Dd actually really played with her two main toy gifts - a doll (and a very small suitcase of clothes for her) and some made-for-tv crappo thing she really wanted and enjoyed playing with.  Oh, yes, they were Bendaroos.  And ds's main toy gifts were a tool caddy and battery operated "tools".

 

So, this year, the focus is on crafts gifts (2) and her toy gift (doll accesseries), for dd, and knight dress-up for ds (sword, felted sheath and crown and wooden shield). His get up comes in at around $50.00 total.  Dd's at around $200.  For both that is inclusive of the portion gifted from my mom. Throw in another $100 or so on several pairs of pajamas between the two of them, another $50 for stocking stuffers and that about rounds it out.  Since I feel I've done pretty well on getting things I know they'll really like and enjoy and have done so without spending a ton of money, I feel there is room in the budget to get them a nice sled since dh takes them out when there's snow. 

 

I generally like to keep all of Christmas at around $500 or less.  We do buy a real tree and gifts for my niece, nephew, brothers and SIL and mom as well.  I'm knitting hats for dh, my dad and 2 brothers this year, from stash, so, that'll keep that cost down as well.

post #129 of 151

Well we are gonna try to keep it down, and next year we are going to do the three gift rule thing. From the wise men we are Christians!duck.gifgoorganic.jpg

post #130 of 151

I also like the 3 present rule. I have two kids. So far, I have bought them 6 books from the thift store that were $.49 each.  I realize I am very lucky to have such a great thift store nearby.  I also bought some dried fruit bars things, that are a special treat to them ($.33 each) for their stockings.  They have grandparents buying quite a lot, I don't know how much more I will get.  I wanted to buy them each 1 present for $25 or so, but I probably won't have the money, and they will be just fine without.

post #131 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherFun View Post

Well we are gonna try to keep it down, and next year we are going to do the three gift rule thing. From the wise men we are Christians!duck.gifgoorganic.jpg



I am not particularly Christian - but I really like the wise men gift idea.  I goggled it once and each gift has different significance associated with it.

 

 

post #132 of 151

Well, I estimated $175 including stocking stuffers, and I now that I am finished I see that I spent that almost to the penny. Under the tree he will have  a remote control car (from Santa), a lego set, a game (Quirkle, which is really a gift for the whole family), 2 books, and a new pillow and sheet set (needed anyway, but I think he'll have fun opening them). In the stocking he will have candy, goldfish crackers, a Beyblade, postit notes, scotch tape, puzzle books, and homemade playdough.

I'm not anticipating him getting many toys that last from family as they tend to shop at Family Dollar and Big Lots and often buy him clothes, pajamas, and socks and stuff. 

post #133 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekkingirl View Post

hmmmm?

Was this for me? Not sure what your question was?
post #134 of 151

This thread comes up at MDC every year and every year it follows the same trend, lol. $50 per kid is seen as ridiculously extravagent to some people, and others see it as extremely minimalistic. I agree that you can provide things that your children want and need and have them grow up to be generous, community-minded people who are not overly attached to consumerism and material things. Just like you can raise selfish, bratty narrow-minded individuals while denying them necessities and luxuries. Some of my kids' classmates are living well below the poverty level and truly don't get what they need, let alone toys and fun things. I see the pain in those kids' eyes when they look at their ratty, generic sneakers and then glance over at the Vans that the child next to them is wearing. It's sad when a child tells your 8yo how lucky she is because of a warm coat and mittens to wear at recess. Same thing when the kids go back to school after winter break and discuss what they got for Christmas- I don't see how it's teaching anyone anything when they have to answer, "nothing" or "pajamas and a toothbrush". Our family believes Christmas to be a magical time when little miracles DO come true- like a special gift that would ordinarily be out of the question- and totally frivilous, *fun* items appear from the mysteriously shaped packages under the tree. I don't criticize anyone else's traditions or beliefs, but I just don't see how denying a child something that they would love to prove a point, or because a parent feels like they need to make a statement about commercialism, etc. is a good thing...Maybe it's just me. That said, we're fortunate to be able to spend a lot of money per child - we have 4 (11yo, 8yo, 6yo and 2yo) and their needs/wants are vastly different. The 11yo is getting a Kindle Fire (she asked for an ipad 2, but I think that's overkill. At least 90% of her classmates have either a Kindle, Nook or ipad and the teachers have them dowload books for class, etc), as well as a bunch of other stuff. The 8yo is getting the Calico Critters Treehouse, 2 animal families, 5 sets of furniture, the CC Baby Playhouse and a bunch of babies, plus those little Xia Xia crab guys with 2 houses and extra shells, and some Monster High dolls. 6yo is getting several Imaginext playsets, Legos, a slingshot, and a new fishing pole. 2yo is getting a dollhouse, drum, wooden puzzles, a stuffed animal and books. There will be 5 Playmobil sets from Santa for everyone to share. Plus stuff from grandparents/great grandma. My kids are "getting" a lot for Christmas. But we also donate to several charities, adopt kids from a program through DH's work, and take food to a local homeless shelter. They are super excited to give gifts to their friends and to each other. They are also, ALL of them, very generous with what they have and routinely give toys and clothes to friends without being prompted. So yeah, we'll spend about $2000 on 4 kids this year. And they'll love every minute of it, and I loved every minute of selecting things that they will enjoy. I do shop sales and hardly ever pay full price for anything. There's more to finances and frugality than making everything/buying used/not spending any money, IMO. I totally agree with the PP who said that managing your resources responsibly is what's important.

post #135 of 151

As much as I complain about all the spending over the holidays I did it.  I went overboard.  I went stupid.  I spent way too much.  I spent 200 on DH and 300 per kid.  Thats way too much money WAY TOO MUCH!!!!!!

I can only justify a small portion of it.  like the new computer chair I got DH will be used by everyone.  Both girls getting tennis shoes and boots.  The wii... they've been asking for months.  But I still can't justify the rest.  Going to hide under my rock of shame for awhile.  

post #136 of 151

I'm all done (whew!) at about 100$ per child (I have three). I managed a student guitar, good art supplies and a karaoke machine in there, so I think I did OK.  My mother in law spent $200 on them combined, on all stuff they'll like, so that helps.

post #137 of 151


Wish you were doing my shopping!  

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

I'm all done (whew!) at about 100$ per child (I have three). I managed a student guitar, good art supplies and a karaoke machine in there, so I think I did OK.  My mother in law spent $200 on them combined, on all stuff they'll like, so that helps.



 

post #138 of 151

So - basically done. In total (not just for my kids), I ended up buying and/or making a total of 39 gifts. That includes gift cards for the piano and circus instructors, the four handmade ornaments dd1 and ds2 are giving to their grandparents, gifts for my ex in-laws from ds1 (we're covering them for another year, because he's at school, and pretty broke), my usual gift of some kind of marzipan figure for my mom (used to be fruit, but the two stores who used to make it have quit), and all my nieces and nephews. My own kids have ended up with three gifts each, as well as two communal gifts...two bins of Lego (we only have one, and the three little ones are getting frustrated, because a sibling always seems to be using the piece(s) they "need") and a little drawer of games...it has chess, checkers, Chinese checkers, backgammon, mancala, and several others. I made out the tag on fhe game drawer to the family, from Santa.

 

Oops...they got four each, plus the above. I forgot about the Christmas Even PJs.

 

The stockings are really stuffed, but most of the stuffers were cheap. I got one pricey one for dh, and that's about it.

 

I honestly don't know what our total was, but it was probably pretty high. I need to do a better job of holding onto my receipts, so I can total everything up.

post #139 of 151

For my ds (5.5), I spent about $150: Green Machine, 3 lego accessory sets, 2 lego sets, M&D build-a-train, stamp set, art set, 3 activity books, stocking stuffers

 

For my dd (2), I spent about $120: Playmobil 123 set, doll backpack carrier, Kathe Kruse type doll (can't remember if it actually is, was bought in a closeout sale a year ago), M&D large bead set, M&D shape clock, 4 vintage My Little Ponies (mid 80's), 2 coloring books with crayons, stocking stuffers

 

I addition to other gifts, my parents bought a wooden doll high chair and are making clothes for dd's doll and bought ds a new bike helmet and bell.

 

I got dh a new driving cap and gloves from Lands End, about $30. We spent about $30 each on the Grandparents: annual stepping stone and kid photos for mine, heated throw and kid photos for MIL.  We send my childless sister and dh's stepmom framed kid photos. I have 8 nieces and nephews between my brother and dh's sister and brother, we only do kid gifts and spend $8-10 on each (books, activity books, craft, stamp and art sets).

 

I start at the end of summer and do the bulk of my shopping online with free/low cost shipping: Amazon, Lands End, Playmobil.  I also hit up Michael's in the last few weeks for their sales on craft/art sets and M&D.  I am happy when I keep our total gift budget at about $500.

post #140 of 151

Just totaled mine up, I have already spent $175 per kids. I'm thinking of spending close to $50 more per kid for some scout uniform stuff they each need.

 

Honestly, the only reason I'm considering the scout stuff is because they both need it by Jan. anyway so I might as well make it a gift. But they certainly don't need more gifts.

 

The gifts from uncles have started arriving and I don't have a full tree, I have a full living room. It doesn't help that the 5 year old keeps pulling all the presents out to organize them a million different ways. But there are really just a lot of presents and more under the in-laws tree. They will have 5 to open from us, at least one from their sibling (my son got his sister 3), plus another 4-5 from aunts and uncles, and another 2-3 from each set of grandparents. So all told the kids will each have 15-20 gifts each to open.

 

Okay after writing all that out I think I'm going to wait on the scout stuff.

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