$600 in gifts for a 3 yr old - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 89 Old 11-27-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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My idea of rampant consumerism is buying for the sake of buying. Not because you really want it or need it or because it adds value to your life ... but because you're in the mindset of "gimme, gimme, gimme."

We give a lot of money to charity. But, if we had a huge yard, and my 3 year old expressed an interest in a jungle gym - we'd get her one for xmas. And those things are expensive. But, at the same time, it's something a kid would use for years, could invite her friends over to use, and when it's done being used, I could donate it.

I'm big on buying the best quality things I can afford. For a long time ... that was not a whole lot, lol. But, now, that I can ... I think it would be nice to give my kid organic, cloth, Waldorf dolls versus the plastic ones at Toys R Us. Or a large set of play silks - already dyed as I can't dye worth my life.

I don't see giving gifts one enjoys and that add value to one's life as rampant consumerism. I'd give my teen a laptop or desktop - those are very expensive. Yet, very useful in terms of homework, work, college, etc.

One year, my mom got me a full set of cast iron pans. It cost her a lot of money, but she could afford it ... and those are the only pans I have now. The only ones I use. They'll also last me my whole life AND I can pass them onto my kids.

I think the family in the article sounds like rampant consumerism and bad buying choices. But, depending on what the $600.00 goes towards - I don't think it necessarily means spoiling or consumerism.

I was given a lot of "experience" gifts, i.e. trips. And not just around the US. But, I traveled extensively throughout the world. That was always my birthday gift - a trip to a new place. Very expensive, but it definitely did not make me a rampant consumer, nor did it encourage me to buy, buy, buy. In fact, I'm a hardcore minimalist, lol.

Personally, I think, $600.00 worth of junk is encouraging mindless purchasing, and mindless consumerism. But, $600.00 that goes towards something of value like a trip or a set of cast iron pans or whatever else a person/kid would enjoy/value for a long time is different. At least to me.

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#62 of 89 Old 11-27-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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I do hope the family takes this year to make the holidays frugal but nice instead of dwelling on the dollar amount though.
One can only hope.
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#63 of 89 Old 11-27-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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Even if you have the money, spending that kind of money on a 3-yr old Christmas gifts is not responsible, IMO.
*NOD*

I have to agree. As tempting as it is to give into a child's every whim, the younger you start out giving in, the more they will want as they get older. I think $100 for a 3-year-old is more than enough - heck, you could make $50 go pretty far if you're creative about it.

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#64 of 89 Old 11-28-2008, 01:42 AM
 
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Clearly, the family in the article made some poor choices.

But I am interested in the question about whether or not you should do it if you can afford it. I don't know. Even if you spend it on high quality wooden toys that will last forever, that's still a huge chunk of change for one kid. I guess I just wonder, what if everyone who spent $600/kid at Christmas instead gave $400 or even $500 to charity?

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#65 of 89 Old 11-28-2008, 03:17 AM
 
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I think $100 for a 3-year-old is more than enough - heck, you could make $50 go pretty far if you're creative about it.
what would $50 buy you that is safe and non toxic? because it wouldn't buy me much. i'd be able to get one local made simple doll stroller that is unfinished for $45 and i think we can all agree that is not making the money go pretty far - that's one gift.

i think you and most all other people who think toys can be bought for cheap, need to remember that:
a) not everyone has access to good thrift stores
b) not every thrift store has old fashioned classic toys in abundance
c) not all of us who can afford to pay retail choose to take what little natural toys there are in the thrift store, for less
d) not all of us are 'crafty' or have bartering worthy skills
e) not all toy makers are interested in bartering skills anyway
f) not all of us have access to a thousand big box stores where you can buy a lot of unfinished wood products/undyed silks/natural toy materials to make your own for very little.

we have FOUR places in which i can get wooden products from:

- kmart - all made in china and cannot trust that, plus most "wood" products are MDF
- TRU - same as kmart
- one local wood maker - the doll pram dude, his prices are not that cheap.
- natural online toy stores (retail, brand name natural toys all hefty in price)

i'm tired of the arguement "if i can do it for less, so can you". you may be able to and that's great that it works out for you, don't assume it's the case for everyone else and don't assume that they are not "being creative enough". creativity can soar when you have the resources. when you don't have the resources you take what you can get.
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#66 of 89 Old 11-28-2008, 03:25 AM
 
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Fuamami - I think it's a slippery slope with that kind of question.

I mean, we give a lot of money to charity, so is it now "ok" and "acceptable" for us to also give our child a playground set or a laptop computer?

Or, since we can afford both, should we give even more to charity?

How much? Should we give up 90% of our income and live as simply as possible? Or give the tuition savings for our kid to a charity?

Is it only people who give to charity that should give expensive gifts to their kids? Does that somehow make it better?

It just seems like a very slippery slope!

Some people just can't afford to do both.

Personally, if I had a teen going off to college, and only had enough money for either a laptop or charity ... I'd choose to help them out by giving them a laptop. It certainly makes for an easier time in college. And, frankly, my family comes first. Maybe that's not a "politically correct" statement to make. But, it's honest.

Plus, not everyone can donate to charity. And not everyone wants to. We all have different values in the charity department.

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#67 of 89 Old 11-28-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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I have to agree. As tempting as it is to give into a child's every whim, the younger you start out giving in, the more they will want as they get older. I think $100 for a 3-year-old is more than enough - heck, you could make $50 go pretty far if you're creative about it
For some kids, I'm sure this is true. I haven't seen it in my own children. They are generous and understand the value of money, why we can't buy toys with our grocery funds, etc. They've had more than $500 each in Christmas presents up till this year, and are no greedier than the kids I know that get one or 2 gifts totaling $50-$75. A big part of how kids view gifts is how you emphasize receiving vs. giving, etc.

We buy for our own kids, and we also donate to charity. Does a greater part of our budget go towards our family? Yes. I don't feel guilty about that. They're my kids.

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#68 of 89 Old 11-29-2008, 12:21 PM
 
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Well, I have to be counted in with the rampant comsumers this year.
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#69 of 89 Old 11-29-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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UUmom, I'd love to see the look on your kids' faces when they open their gifts! :

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#70 of 89 Old 11-29-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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UUmom, I'd love to see the look on your kids' faces when they open their gifts! :
lol I hope they will love it. The oldest is 19 and it's our first game system.

We had the money this year , and we have 3 teens. I like having the friends over, too.

I need to edit, in case they read over my shoulder.
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#71 of 89 Old 11-29-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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UUmom, it's awesome when your home can be the gathering place for your teens and their friends. They're gonna be so happy!

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#72 of 89 Old 11-29-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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lol I hope they will love it. The oldest is 19 and it's our first game system.

We had the money this year , and we have 3 teens. I like having the friends over, too.

I need to edit, in case they read over my shoulder.

AWWWWW! I wanted to be excited too!

4 kids under 10
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#73 of 89 Old 11-30-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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Fuamami - I think it's a slippery slope with that kind of question.

I mean, we give a lot of money to charity, so is it now "ok" and "acceptable" for us to also give our child a playground set or a laptop computer?

Or, since we can afford both, should we give even more to charity?

How much? Should we give up 90% of our income and live as simply as possible? Or give the tuition savings for our kid to a charity?

Is it only people who give to charity that should give expensive gifts to their kids? Does that somehow make it better?

It just seems like a very slippery slope!

Some people just can't afford to do both.

Personally, if I had a teen going off to college, and only had enough money for either a laptop or charity ... I'd choose to help them out by giving them a laptop. It certainly makes for an easier time in college. And, frankly, my family comes first. Maybe that's not a "politically correct" statement to make. But, it's honest.

Plus, not everyone can donate to charity. And not everyone wants to. We all have different values in the charity department.
Well, it's definitely not part of the American value system to put charity first. "Family first" is, though. It's just something I've been thinking about a lot lately. It's definitely not the way my family lives, but I think I want it to be.

I've just been wondering how our society would be different if no one ever considered buying a play structure for their children. Certainly, in our parent's generation, I think that was the case. At least in my parent's generation - I don't know how old you are. But now it's almost a given that each child and each family needs a certain amount of toys and backyard playground equipment.

Anyway, I do not think there would be anything wrong with moving away from a system where every purchase can be justified to one where people feel that their lives are remiss if they are not actively involved in the community, doing good for others, and striving to live a more responsible life.

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#74 of 89 Old 11-30-2008, 12:46 AM
 
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*NOD*

I have to agree. As tempting as it is to give into a child's every whim, the younger you start out giving in, the more they will want as they get older. I think $100 for a 3-year-old is more than enough - heck, you could make $50 go pretty far if you're creative about it.
My almost 3 year old has no real idea as to the meaning of Christmas, but we are teaching him. I purchased his presents month's ago before I stopped working and I spent about half of that amount, maybe a little more. I could easily return some of the presents for cash, and it would help, but I am not.

I purchased things for my DS that he has played with in toy stores over the past year and talks about from time to time. Yes, finances are very tight, but having a few extra dollars right now will not make me feel anywhere near as good as the look in his eyes will on Christmas morning when he sees his new scooter and other presents.

Sometimes parents make sacrifices for their children that outsiders aren't able to understand.

I am creative, and I could not make $50 go far at the holiday's. The scooter that I spoke of cost twice the amount. Sure I could have purchased a cheapie from Target, but I would rather have quality play toys for my DS.

Perhaps it is how I was raised, but Christmas was the one time of year when I could have what I wanted. The other 364 were boringly practical.

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#75 of 89 Old 11-30-2008, 12:52 AM
 
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I don't think it's crazy or unrealistic, if you have the money.
Agreed.

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I've no doubt my parents spent that much on me each Christmas when I was growing up.
My parents did too - some years. Dad had his own business, and when business was good, we had HUGE Xmases. They were always pretty generous with us at Xmas, but I'm sure some years it was easier than others. We kids could never tell though.

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we spend a lot for the holidays but what are we considering gifts? For example I buy a year's worth of clothes if stuff is on sale and wrap itup as gifts. Or other needed things.

i guess we take the opportunity to stock up and call if gifts, which it is...
We do this too. My kids get clothes and shoes - if they are in need of them around the holidays. Jammies, sheets (my 5 year old's top wish list item this year is Camp Rock sheets - which is fine by me as they are practical AND will make her happy), books, games - as well as toys.

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If you have the money and are in good financial shape I don't think it's a big deal. I could easily spend that much this Christmas on ds (though I am trying really, really hard to control myself!).

dh and I only really buy lots of toys twice a year: at his Birthday and Christmas.

I give to charity, I pay my bills, I don't live outside my means... I don't see what the big deal is with me buying big gifts for ds that will last him and our other kids (he's the oldest) for several years.
This is us too. I remember asking for stuff when I was a kid, and my mom telling me to put it on my birthday or Xmas list (whichever was coming next). Dad spoiled us, and would buy us anything anytime - but mom was more practical about it.

All three of my girls have summer birthdays which is nice for gift giving spacing. I don't honestly keep track of how much we spend on each kid for Xmas. I'd guess $500 per kid and $200 per adult, including me, dp, my siblings and dp's mom - by the time we do gifts and stuffers. More some years; less others. I do comparison shop and buy when stuff is on sale, etc. I get a LOT for what I spend. But I think a good majority of my kids' general use items (like clothes, sheets, art supplies, books, etc) come wrapped up at birthdays or holidays.

I agree with the poster who said that giving kids a lot at Xmas won't make them rampant consumers who expect more and more. My kids have always had big Xmases - and my soon to be 13 year old asked for clothes and boots for Xmas. Not the $185 Ugg boots that most of her friends have, but just boots. Today she brought me a Famous Footwear ad with a variety of boots, saying she liked them all. I love that she will be happy with any pair of boots, any brand. I think we must be doing something right if she doesn't care if they say Ugg on the back or not.
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#76 of 89 Old 11-30-2008, 01:25 AM
 
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Even if they're not in credit card debt, they don't have anything in savings- the article states theyr'e 3 or 4 weeks behind on bills. It could be that some of those bills are from poor spending habits in the past, or it could be that those are al legitimate bills like phone, car insurance, heat, etc. Even so, if they'd spent $50 on gifts last year and put the other $550 in savings, they wouldn't be in such a tight spot right now.
A lot can change in a year. Maybe they had the money last year only to drain their savings spending more on gas, food and other items.

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#77 of 89 Old 11-30-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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here's my : Personally I can't really see spending 1200.00 on my kids for christmas, buuuuttt if you have the money to, more power to ya! I don't think spending that much is always mindless consumerism either. I know there are a couple really expesive toys I would like to get my kids that kids aren't in the budget. I think it would just depend on what you bought, where, and why. Judging from the article they do not have the money for what they bought and honestly at three they are easy to please. I'm sure they could have got her a ton of stuff she would love for under 100.00. There are also tons of sales and good deals this yr.... Of course if I really want to dig deep I would say from looking at my checking account that i could have spent my christmas money elsewhere too so who am I to judge.
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#78 of 89 Old 11-30-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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I think if you have $600 to spend on gifts, maybe give her a gift that will really help her in the future. Put a large sum of that in an education fund.

Last year we spent about $75 on our little girl. this year it's about $100, and it will be on a guitar and harmonicas, she loves music and everyone else will get her toys. We want to foster her love of music because she can enjoy that her whole life.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#79 of 89 Old 11-30-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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You raise an interesting point--others will give your child gifts.
We do not have extended family that buys for our kids. In fact, I expect my kids will get one gift besides what we give her. She has one set of grandparents, and we are going in together to get her a guitar.
It might be the case for some that gifts are given from extended families, but that doesn't happen in our family.

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#80 of 89 Old 12-01-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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You raise an interesting point--others will give your child gifts.
We do not have extended family that buys for our kids. In fact, I expect my kids will get one gift besides what we give her. She has one set of grandparents, and we are going in together to get her a guitar.
It might be the case for some that gifts are given from extended families, but that doesn't happen in our family.
Yes, that's the same with us. DH's mom and dad may send one small gift each, but it's not a for-sure thing. And odd's are it'll be something like an outfit from walmart that won't fit from dh's dad & stepmom and a stuffed animal from dh's mom if there's anything from them. We don't count on gifts from others for our son for Christmas because we're not really close to our family's. We're the ones who spoil our kids, not the rest of the family.

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#81 of 89 Old 12-12-2008, 04:58 PM
 
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Gosh! We spend rough $300 to get gifts for 9 people in the family, and that's including ourselves.

We need to get away from the material world. This is one of the reasons we have financial problems, me thinks.

On the other hand, it is their money. *shaking head*

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#82 of 89 Old 12-12-2008, 05:09 PM
 
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I think $600 for any kid is over the top. I spend way less than that on all 4 of my boys put together, LOL!
I thought the same thing.

BTW, our oldest boys share a birthday : Haha
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#83 of 89 Old 12-12-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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I don't think it's outrageous, if you have the money to spend. That said, I spent about $75/per kid this year. I bought everything new, but I started back in September and bought things when I saw a great deal.

But, if I had more money, I could see myself getting each of the kids an electric toy car (they're around $300-400 each), and then $200 on the rest of a kid's presents wouldn't be that outrageous.
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#84 of 89 Old 12-12-2008, 07:20 PM
 
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Even if you have the money, spending that kind of money on a 3-yr old Christmas gifts is not responsible, IMO.
:

ITA...a 3yo loves opening presents, the actual contents aren't that relevant. When my kiddos are around that age we wrap almost everything under the sun...toothpaste, you name it (obviously a few new toys as well)! They are all tagged w/the littlest one's name and they delightfully rip open each package. When my older kids were 2-4ish they LOVED just opening and opening and opening...LOLOL

I don't think we spend $600 total on the entire family...two adults, 2 gmas, a gpa, mom, dad, four kids, and two cats.

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#85 of 89 Old 12-12-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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This year I am splurging. I'm spending about $300 spread out over 6 kids on the holidays. We might go out to eat, so maybe another $50-60 on top of that.
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#86 of 89 Old 12-12-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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I spent over $250 on my two kids (altogether) this year and I'm feeling like this: :

I went way over board, for us. But really, Christmas and birthdays are the ONLY time my kids get toys, and very rarely do they get nice clothes throughout the year. Other than that, I'll pick stuff up at garage sales and on the sale rack. It's my one time to kind of go nuts on them.

I can kind of see spending $600 on them together, but probably not per child. I just drool over everything in the Nova Naturals catalog. It's probably a good thing we don't have the money because we SURE don't have the room!
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#87 of 89 Old 12-12-2008, 11:24 PM
 
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http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/24...ef=mpstoryview

It just seems crazy to me to spend $600 on Christmas for a two year old. No wonder this couple has money problems.

Am I totally unrealistic?
To respond to the story. It is hard not to be able to give your child what you want to. I'm sure they'll have a good Christmas anyway.

We spent $60 on dd this year. The most we've ever spent on her is $200.
If I had $600 extra I'd love to spend it all on my dd. It might not be responsible but just once I would love to do that.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#88 of 89 Old 12-13-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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i guess i am a consumerist then.. i bought my 2 year old a camden rose kitchen (300 dollars) and some accesories to go with it, also some socks and winter clothes.. i easily spent around 600 dollars on her this year.. i make no apologies about it. we make good money as both work. also none of the gifts we bought were bought at stores or made in china or anything like that. we didnt get her a ton of stuff but the stuff wasnt cheap.

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#89 of 89 Old 12-13-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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I thought about this some more, and while I won't be spending $600 per kid on gifts, they will probably get more than that from all the people that will gift to them. I know that my ILs spent about $130 per kid on their main gift, and there will be other things like clothes and smaller toys. So, they probably spent about $250 per kid. Not to mention my parents, my sister, each of dh's five siblings, our grandparents etc. There will also be checks for their college funds, so I really don't think that we're irresponsible.
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