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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.

TheReturnOfBridezilla Tue 04-Dec-12 19:10:31

I make fun of DH's hoarding tendencies wrt toilet roll and ketchup and other random household stuff and his family were very poor when he was growing up. Never made the connection before. sad

I always do him a stocking now because they never had them when they were young.

I always had presents, great ones before my parents split up and after that my mum couldn't afford much and my dad never got it right but hey!

I was brought up mainly by my father who was never very good at remembering to buy new clothes when the old ones were grown out of / worn through or toiletries like sanitary towels and deodorant etc and I was too (shy? Scared? I don't know!) to ask him for anything.

As a result my dc have the best of everything. I would go without myself if necessary to avoid them being embarrassed by their clothes etc.

flaggybannel Tue 04-Dec-12 19:30:04

This thread has me thinking of my wonderful mum who had a very difficult deprived childhood and yet made every christmas special for myself and my brother- not excessively with expensive gifts and 'stuff' but just by doin what most families would probably consider the 'basics' of christmas- especially as she done it all on her own. I didnt realise until i was older how alien it must of been to her to treat us well and be a loving supportive parent as she was never shown this consideration herself. She truly is a wonderful woman, this thread has reminded me of that- i thank you all. I am making a mental note to spend more time with her and tell her how great she is this xmas.

pingu2209 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:37:46

I'm still finding this thread really shocking. I feel extremely saddened that there are children that literally get no presents at Christmas and don't think Father Christmas is real as they don't get a stocking. I thought we were poor because we didn't have cakes and biscuits and squash etc in the house. Food was never 'free flowing' and we had to ask if we wanted anything from the kitchen other than water. Every fluid oz of milk was accounted for and my mum would make the cereal in the mornings because she had so little of everything that she needed control over the kitchen food/budget. However, we always had presents at Christmas. Not loads, but something.

lovestotravel Tue 04-Dec-12 19:58:25

We got small presents, nothing expensive mind - Kirkby grips, pencils, new knickers grin and either a doll or when we were older a record. My mum had literally not a penny spare and I know it took a lot for her to get us the presents she did. Christmas wasn't really a happy time though, not for me anyway, I hope I managed to make it fun for my little sisters though. My mum was always deeply depressed and had been most of her adult life, it got worse when my dad left and she just withdrew completely. She would try but she just couldn't engage. My mum worked in a Chinese restaurant and worked every Christmas day ( double time) so she would be gone from mid morning till about 10pm - she always brought home a big bag of Chinese food though and we would all wait up for her coming home with our 'feast'. My mum would just sit and watch us devouring the food like there was no tomorrow with a sad smile.
DH is an only child and the first Christmas present he ever recieved was from his girlfriend when he was 16. He spent every Christmas looking after his alcoholic mother who saw Christmas as an excuse to drink even more than usual.
The adult mr and mrs lovestotravel have cupboards full of food, toilet roll, soap etc etc, I can't bear to run low on things. DH insists we save a % of our salary every month - he is terrified of not having savings ( they often went without food as there was no money to buy any and he recalls hiding from the various debt collectors that came calling). We also spoil our DD in over compensation.
DH has no contact with his mum any more which is a decision he made a long time ago. My lovely mum found happiness late in life and married a lovely man who treats her like a princess - she deserves it and she is an amazing grandmother but I do feel sad that we weren't enough for her, we could have been so happy sad

Agent64 Tue 04-Dec-12 20:04:20

We didn't have much money when we were growing up. I didn't particularly notice at the time although there were things you just didn't ask for, so I guess I must have realised on some level.

We did get presents at Christmas though - usually a thrilling heap of them, though none of it would be expensive. The "big" toy would be a board game or an art set and every year there was a tin of toffees and a book.

OP - I can't splurge money on useless toys either. Small things individually wrapped will be exciting for your DCs to open. I hope you have a lovely Christmas smile

Taffeta Tue 04-Dec-12 20:08:40

Yes, we had a lot for a long time. Then hard times struck when I was a teenager and my Mum had nothing to give so gave me a bracelet of hers I'd admired. I felt dreadful and didn't want to accept it as it was hers and I wanted her to have it. She said it would give her more pleasure if I had it.

I've tried to give it back to her many times over the years but she won't take it. It makes me sad every time I look at it.

DeafLeopard Tue 04-Dec-12 20:23:41

I've read this thread with a lump in my throat and want to hug each and every child who didn't get presents at Christmas / birthdays sad

Mum and Dad were poor when we were growing up - working alternate shifts to try and make ends meet, (Mum walking 2 miles back through Leeds at midnight during the time when the Yorkshire Ripper was around for eg), but they always put us first and made sure we had something, no matter how cheap.

By contrast they are now quite comfortable and so spoil their GCs.

DH grew up in a very wealthy but dysfunctional family, where they were given lots but he and his siblings had to care for his alcoholic mother as his father worked abroad.

Alarielle Tue 04-Dec-12 20:24:07

My DH never had a christmas growing up. His DM enjoyed playing bingo to much. His favourite christmas memory was one year when he was about 7 and his older siblings (who moved out as soon as they turned 18) came down with a food hamper as they knew there would be no food in the house and money for the meter (electricity had ran out a few days before) and a few christmas presents for him.

Even now he rarely buys himself anything and its not because he's mean, I think he's just never gotten used to the idea of being able to buy himself things. But he makes sure our children never go without. He never wants them to have to worry about money the way he had to in his childhood.

FrostyTheShosheman Tue 04-Dec-12 20:35:54

I feel so sad for all who never got anything, as a single parent, in the late 70's I couldnt of imagined not buying mu Ds a christmas present.

I started buying small things in January, and paid into Park Hampers a 50p a week (which was a lot to be honest, I seem to remember CB was about 1.75 a week or there abouts then.

I was a TA, which has never paid much, and never had maintenance (pre CSA), but I guess I managed my money well.

DS never had big things, but there was always presents.

We always got something, it was sometimes only a book or a new but broken toy they repaired but never quite worked right but always something.

We are dirt poor since fleeing exh but my dd has loads.

I do think its easier now with eBay and charity shops no kid should go without.

There was a local advert the other day asking for new presents to be donated to those children who won't get a present or visit on Christmas day in Manchester Children's hospital.

Really upset me to think that not only were they spending Christmas in hospital but no present or visitor either sad

my dad hoards because he got nothing but also so when they are struggling he has something to sell.

When I was tiny he sold his rail set and all the trains and all his jewellery to fund stuff I needed.

Hes worked since age 14 and bloody hard but is now disabled and is having to once again sell stuff for my mum for Christmas sad

lovelyladuree Tue 04-Dec-12 21:22:28

We had tons of presents but it didn't make us happy at all. My mother made sure we all knew how hard she had to work to cook the fucking turkey. Never mind that my Dad was working 15 hour days to pay for everything she was buying. And she always had chocolate biscuits every day, and we were only allowed plain ones. A packet of milk chocolate digestives was the first thing I bought with my student grant. And my kids can have a fucking chocolate fucking biscuit whenever they want.

I had 2 toys when growing-up a doll and teddy. We would get money that "would go into the bank". I hated the last day of school when you brought a toy to play with in because I didnt have any (oh how I wanted Guess Who envy). I hated it when I was older and I had horrid clothes jumble sale clothes (no uniform) and was bullied.
I never bothered to ask to go on school trips as they just wouldnt pay for just to go. (they could afford 60 a day fags and a few cheeky beers at the weekend though).
Christmas was just anothe day in our house, birthdays too. I think that is why I make such a big fuss now.
Money is tight but I save up and use Ebay where I can, my DC will have loads of presents under the tree, some presents and some boring stuff they need like pj's, sponge etx. They get nothing from my parents even now.
I am the same as another poster I worry about spending money even when I had some and rarely bought things for myself sad and worry about money.

apostrophethesnowman Tue 04-Dec-12 21:29:54

Gosh I've read this thread with a lump in my throat. It's so sad to read that people got literally nothing at Christmas - or had their presents taken back and sold.

I remember as a child being disappointed that we had little compared to others and being embarrassed when people asked what I got. As I became a teenager I realised we could have been a bit better off if my parents hadn't smoked and if they weren't heavy drinkers. I think that's why I always made sure that my own children had piles of presents, as do my grandchildren.

However, I now know that I was very lucky to be given gifts every Christmas. We didn't get much in comparison to others, but we always got a few gifts. Always. This thread has made me realise that.

God bless you all and I hope, whatever you have/have not, you all have a wonderful and happy Christmas.

AmberSocks Tue 04-Dec-12 21:35:37

I think its a bit sad you didnt have any presents,like not even one,they could of made you something!We were spoilt but i feel it was for my mums benefit rather than ours,she was never nice to us,buying stuff was her way of being nice,i think i would rather her spent time with us doing stuff.

pigletpower Tue 04-Dec-12 21:36:06

Oh my fucking god.This thread has made me so depressed.I cannot fathom the reasoning behind parents who treat their kids like shit.Like the ones who have special biscuits whilst the kids have plain.Why the fuck do they do that? lovestotravel- your post really struck a chord.Why weren't you enough? Why did it take a nice man to make your mother happy? How selfish.Jesus,next time my DH moans about Christmas presents for the kids I'll show him this thread.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 21:37:13

More than half of what I have bought this year has been from the second hand shops. We got a lot of toys at Christmas, but it was always one of my least favourite times of year because Dad was more drunk and there was always tension in the air. Guilt toys I think, mum wanted to have a better life than she and equated that with two parents, just didn't bargain for one of them to be a violent abusing drunk.

Badvocsanta Tue 04-Dec-12 21:37:20

Yes it is a sad thread.
sad
My childhood ended when I was 10 pretty much. Lots of reasons. My mothers mental health problems for one.
My dh always had nice Christmases. I didn't. He doesn't really understand my need to make it nice for our children.
I never want my kids to go through what I did. It's not about gifts, toys etc...
It's about being "normal" whatever the hell that is sad

Cahoootz Tue 04-Dec-12 21:37:56

This thread is making me sad. I hope everybody has a fantastic Christmas even if they don't have much cash to spend. smile

MrsDeVere Tue 04-Dec-12 21:38:28

We got TONS of stuff at Christmas. So much stuff we didn't know what to do with it all.
A few weeks afterwards we would get our lecky cut off and the phone and my DM would announce she was 'going for a drive' and feck off for hours because of 'stress'.

On one memorable occasion she told me 'They are going to put me in prison soon!!!!' I was about 6, she had not paid her tax or something. I was terrified.

I also vividly remember coming out of the bathroom and meeting a bailiff coming through the back door. Then there were the threatening phone calls from debt collectors.

Fun, fun, fun...but hey, we got lots of presents so that was ok hey? hmm

My DCs get lots too but we pay the fecking bills first.

MrsDeVere Tue 04-Dec-12 21:39:43

Sorry - I got a bit carried away. I didn't mean to try and compete. It all just came out blush

suebfg Tue 04-Dec-12 21:40:21

I had presents as a child but my parents were not well off. I don't remember getting presents other than at Xmas or on birthdays though. My DS now gets quite a bit through the year although some comes from charity shops. We don't spoil him though at Xmas or on his birthday as he gets presents from relatives too.

Ps matey bubble bath is the best bubble bath I have tried for children. Have recently rediscovered it and it smells of sweets and is very bubbly

Badvocsanta Tue 04-Dec-12 21:42:20

It's that sort of thread mrsdv...
I may be 40 now but we are all, to some extent, prisoners of our childhood sad
Must get some matey.....smile

StockingFilly Tue 04-Dec-12 21:43:01

Yes, we did. We got a 'main' present and a few other gifts that were usually cheapo stuff we needed - socks, gloves, toiletries - or stuff like stationery or pens. My mum was a top bargain hunter, though, as she was a skint single mum. We also got a stocking with very cheap little bits inside - sweets, nuts, a sastuma and pencils?, rubbers, hairbands etc.

I do find the spending culture at Xmas grim, tbh. We arent badly off, but I refuse to buy piles of crap for my kids. They got a couple of presents that they really want and a stocking with stuff like books, CDs, sweets. They do nicely out of it, but it isnt bank breaking stuff.

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