I never got Christmas presents in my childhood. Did you?

(108 Posts)
ssaw2012 Tue 04-Dec-12 13:19:51

I have just read "Kids' presents", which makes me feel quite guilty as we cannot afford expensive presents. We have two children and if we spend £30.00 in total, that would be perfect. They do get toys throughout the year so they do not grow without toys and I hope they can understand it. One problem is that they often ask for useless toys. They tell us how much they want something and then after a few days the toy is forgotten.
I grew up without hardly any toys. We had a Christmas tree but never presents. I do remember getting a present for my birthday perhaps once or twice. There were three of us and our parents did not earn much. Never theless, I did not ask for presents. I was very understanding at that time. It is now that I think that they could have actually prepared something, even a tiny one.

DragonMamma Tue 04-Dec-12 14:25:18

Wow that's really really sad.

I had lots of presents when I was growing up, mainly for Christmas as we aren't 'big' on birthday's in our families but even then I remembered getting around £100 in cards from various family members.

Christmas was always a magical time in our house, at almost 30 it's still my favourite time of the year and I throw myself in to it, head first.

Dragon I had my first proper Xmas that I remember after we got married 5 years ago nd i make a huge fuss. I think it should be magical for the dcs and the same with birthdays.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Tue 04-Dec-12 15:04:15

It's birthdays for me. I know I had a couple of parties when I was very small, but I didn't get anything for it/allowed to have friends over after I turned 8 until my friends surprised me with one when I was 17 at a restaurant. The only exception was my 13th or 14th when my mother gleefully got me a pack of cupcakes to share with everyone and my very ill, housebound grandmother had managed to get me a book from a show we watched together (Hyacinth's Etiquette Book - she loved old British shows) and a Judaic candle (I started discussing my interest and plans to convert when I was 12, she gave it to me to show me that she loved me regardless). I still have the candle, my mother took the book at some point. My brother always got winter baseball camp (born 26/12) and my younger sister always got a major gifts and parties that I would be dragged to (she was the miracle baby).

That and their horrendous money management skills (both badly debt in a desire to keep up appearances, was once home alone when electric company came to turn the electric off), I feel that it is bad for me to want and can't really buy stuff for myself. Can buy quite a bit for the kids though. Birthdays are massive (I fill the living room floor with balloons) and I've bought tons for this Channukah blush.

jammybean Tue 04-Dec-12 16:01:59

We never had any presents in our house. Not birthdays or for Christmas, mum was incredibly tight savvy with money, regularly had to wear clothes that were too small in my teens.

As a result I too always have a fully stocked cupboard/fridge & freezer. I can be very impulsive when buying myself clothes thank god for eBay. My brother is exactly the same if not worse.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 04-Dec-12 16:06:42

Our kids get various 'presents' that are actually things they need, so they get things to unwrap.

So pjs, a jumper, a toothbrush, a lunch bag, a water bottle, a face-cloth interspersed with a tub of homemade play dough, a tube of smarties, some felt-pens, a book or two, paper, a pritt stick each etc etc.

WilsonFrickett Tue 04-Dec-12 16:12:12

Grr and others I have a small savings account that I put £20 a month or so in, then if I do want to 'treat' myself I use that money. I find that makes me feel in control of the spend but also 'allows' me to treat myself. Both DH and I have struggled hard to get in a better place with money, but it's hard when you have poor role models. My DM was telling me a 'magical' Christmas story last night and it really wasn't how I remembered it at all sad

Badvocsanta Tue 04-Dec-12 16:17:00

You see I can't do that.
I know it's sensible. I know it is.
But if you need it it isn't a gift IMo. It's something you need. I like Xmas to be about silly things you will love/use/adore that you would never buy yourself.
Hec...your post rings many many bells for me sad
And yeah, my house is full of loo roll and kitchen roll. I actually get properly anxious when we are getting low sad
A lot of my kids stuff this year is small silly things like a water colour paint tin, some Thomas engines from e bay, bath bombs etc.
They will love it smile
If I got my ds1 clothes he would literally pass out in disgust smile
Ds2 would quite like a princess dressing up set but dh is refusing point blank smile

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 04-Dec-12 16:21:56

We didn't do presents either. I can relate with Hec et al about getting anxious when things run out - it's drinks with me, mainly, but I do have 50 toiletrolls in the cupboard, and I buy two more whenever we get one out.

I don't make up for presents now though. I hate getting them. I don't know how to open them, or how to react, or what to ask for. OHs family don't understand, and won't not buy me anything, and OH is desperate for me to enjoy it and can't understand why I don't. He even did me a stocking last year, for the first time ever.

I'd much rather buy for everyone else and not get anything. I'm used to not getting things, it's familiar to me - it's my comfort zone, and I'd rather stay in it.

5dcsandallthelittlesantahats Tue 04-Dec-12 16:31:48

I used to get loads of presents. I do remember one year though when my mum had been really ill in hospital (she died the next year) and they were really struggling for money. My dad went out and sold loads of his things (including his prized video camera) so that we could have a nice christmas together - perhaps he knew it would be the last one thinking back. I wasnt a child then I was 16 so there was no need for this in reality. I still appreciate it now even after the crappy way my dad has treated me since then because I think it showed he cared enough to think of us.
I never get people who say they cant afford things for the children and yet have luxuries like alcohol or expensive things for themselves tbh!.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 04-Dec-12 16:37:09

I suppose Bad that they do need these things but they don't NEED them. They can carry on with their shabby pjs and old toothbrushes.

They also don't REALLY NEED Matey bubble-bath but they both like it.

ssaw2012 Tue 04-Dec-12 16:40:01

Thank you everyone! I feel better after reading your posts. No, really, and thank you so much for that.thanks
I think my parents just did not think it was important to give presents. Even my DH is not good at it even though he did get presents etc.
I forgot to say that my parents used to buy sweets to share with classmates. We did not have problems with sweets, e.g. toffies. I wish I also had my own toothbrush. Toffies + no toothbrush = very expensive dental care grin
Badvocsanta, thanks for mentioning about the bath bombs. My DSs love bath bombs from Lush which we can only afford as a special treat.

Lavenderhoney Tue 04-Dec-12 16:55:44

I got presents which ranged from new pjs to a pony. I think it was to make up for the dreadful poverty my parents grew up in. However, I remember the gradual excessive boozing more, and the undercurrent of forced hilarity more. For one night, and one night only....

I listen and read of people's happy family lives and wonder how my life might have been different. I had friends at school who had dads who stayed in at night with their wives, which I could not understand or feel comfortable with.

It's not being ungrateful, its something I cant quite understand myself. I feel disloyal to state that, but it's true.

TheQueensChristmasMessage Tue 04-Dec-12 16:57:00

sad that so many weren't given presents as children.

My mum left my brother and I with our (brilliant) dad when we were very young. He was heartbroken and only in his late twenties but my memories of Christmases are happy ones with lots of presents. I don't know how he did it because I know he was on the bones of his arse.

I know that Christmas isn't about 'stuff' but children don't need much to make them feel special. I don't know how some of the parents who spent money on fags/bingo etc at the expense of a small gift for their child on Christmas morning live with themselves.

pingu2209 Tue 04-Dec-12 17:08:23

All your messages make me feel really spoiled, but I really didn't think I was. I can't imagine not having a present on my birthday or Christmas. I can't imagine not having any loo roll.

I can't help but feel what you are describing is a deprived childhood. Not of love or that you were living in filfth or grime etc. Just deprived due to lack of money.

It makes me sad.

I must be so sheltered.

Badvocsanta Tue 04-Dec-12 17:09:16

So they still make matey!!?

DualFuel Tue 04-Dec-12 17:11:11

My friends at school would have been shocked if they knew we didn't have presents. We were in a big 4 bed detached house in a nice area but when my dad got cancer they couldn't manage the mortgage, they didn't qualify for any benefits and he was treated in a hospital an hours drive away so any spare money went on petrol. After years of reduced income and hospital commutes he died and we were even worse off. The house wouln't sell with the bad economic times so we were stuck. It was shitty and means the few years I had with my dad before he died were overshadowed by constant money worries.

DualFuel Tue 04-Dec-12 17:13:03

I've got a bottle of matey upstairs!

Badvocsanta Tue 04-Dec-12 17:18:29

Ssaw...smile my two boys love bath bombs. They are expensive though so they know they only get them as treats. I have got ds1 a Santa one and ds2 a purple and gold one.
Ds2 likes a bit of bling smile
He has also got a gruffalo toothbrush and flannel smile
Ds1 loves DVDs and books so he is easy to please really.
Got a lot of little surprises for them this year...not much but things I know they will love and use/play with.
Pingu...my childhood was certainly economically deprived. And it's only recently that I have come to terms with that. I won't bore you with my tales of woe but lack of money for essentials eg: sanitary protection, toothbrushes, toothpaste, decent underwear, decent shoes etc makes life very hard when you are a teenager and want desperately to fit in with your friends sad

Badvocsanta Tue 04-Dec-12 17:19:00

Is it really silly that I want to go out immediately and buy babycham and matey!?
smile

mumeeee Tue 04-Dec-12 17:21:19

Yes we always got Christmas presents when we were children. My parents were not well of but always managed a stocking and a main present. I fel sad that you didn't have Christmas presents OP.

SantyClaws Tue 04-Dec-12 17:24:20

as a small child most of our Chrismas presents were made by Mum. As was all the food and decorations, hardly much at all was bought ready made. My dollies got lots of clothes, and i remember she made us ragdolls one year, they were fab

i still remember the sheer delight of opening my Tiny Tears dolly one year - that was a real treat....the next year mum knitted her a new dress grin

cantspel Tue 04-Dec-12 17:45:42

We were poor when i was a child. My parents divorced when there was still a stigma attached to divorce and my dad was never very good at paying maintenance. We still had christmas presents but it was always the cheap version so no tiny tears but a market doll, no barbie but a cheap plastic doll that didn't have moveable arms and a stocking with market pants and cheap chocolate. My mum would be up to the early hours stuffing envelopes, doing sewing or any other type of homework she could get so we had something

NaiceDude Tue 04-Dec-12 18:04:29

This might be a bit silly, but I got a bath bomb free at Lush a while back and it's been sitting on the side of the bath ever since. I'm a bubble girl wink so won't use it.

The ink on the Lush bag has run so it'd need re-wrapping in tissue paper or something but please anyone PM me if you want it.

Just hope it'd survive Royal Mail! I'll pack it carefully.

crappypatty Tue 04-Dec-12 18:48:38

We didn't have much growing up but we always had a stack of presents on Christmas morning.

lovebunny Tue 04-Dec-12 18:52:40

yes, i had presents.

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