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.

suebfg Tue 04-Dec-12 21:45:06

This thread is really sad. Are there really children in hospital who won't get visitors on Xmas day?

Badvocsanta Tue 04-Dec-12 21:47:21

Sue...my ds1 was in hospital for over a week when he was 2.
There was a baby in the same bay as him who never got a visitor in that time.
I think - from snatches of overheard nurses conversations - that there hadn't been any visitors in a long time sad
It does happen.

suebfg Tue 04-Dec-12 21:58:22

That makes me really sad. I felt really guilty one year as DS went into hospital one Xmas. He was there for about seven hours but not overnight. When he left, the nurses gave him a present and I sort of felt that he wasn't really who these presents should be destined for. It has sort of put me off giving to hospital appeals. But the thought of there being children with no visitors is horrendous ..

PeppermintCreams Tue 04-Dec-12 22:14:44

I watched a documentary on a special care baby unit (I think) earlier in the year. There was a baby in there whose mum didn't visit him often. Not even once a week? She lived in a hostel with an older toddler and she said that she had to concentrate on the older one because the baby had all the doctors and nurses to look after it. sad

We had presents. Cheap market stall, or broken second hand toys or ill fitting clothes. All rubbish, but at least it was something to open. Occasionally from a catalogue and have to spend the rest of the year hearing them moaning about it. We had basic food, and toilet paper most of the time. Bottle of coke and tin of chocolates at Christmas was the highlight of the year. But I do wonder how much better our lives would have been if my parents didn't waste money on cigarettes, alcohol and the betting shop.

Vulgar Tue 04-Dec-12 22:18:01

This is such a sad thread.

Lots of you that were never given gifts seem to have been left with feelings of worthlessness and that is heartbreaking.

I mean, isn't it natural, however poor you are, to want to indulge your kids, even if you have to do it very, very cheaply?

I hate the mindless present buying that goes on at this time of year but my heart bleeds for those children who go without completely.

I cannot comprehend children in hospital without visitors. Just awful.

whois Tue 04-Dec-12 22:18:29

This is a very sad thread. You can be v poor and still have SOME kind of Xmas pressie.

Lots of feckless parents around :-(

FreshGoosedandStuffedLetticia Tue 04-Dec-12 22:26:42

I still have the wooden painted crib my parentxs made for me when they had not much money and also some of the Sindy clothes Mam made. DD2 still plays with them.
I have made many things for my own DCs. Last year I made both girls a sewing kit. My DD1 (18) said last week it was the best present she has ever had.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 04-Dec-12 22:36:55

'...cigarettes, alchohol and the betting shop.'

That's where the majority of our families' my dad's cash went as well.
We had presents and you'd get the thing you wanted - a board game or a record - and that was it. Oh, and a Cadbury's stocking.

There would be a pillowcase of presents, from extended family.

I never understood why I was always told no when I asked for new clothes - I used my pocket money on tights for school, and only really got clothes at Christmas - when both parents worked. We lived in a working class area, incomes were pretty much similar across the board. But some dads didn't smoke 60+ a day, or drink in the pub every night twice a day on weekends.

I struggle with gifts for myself - never thought about it that way before. DH doesn't buy much for himself either. We tend to give each other a token so
the kids see us open something, occasionally a few surprises for each other. But the funds are for the DCs at Christmas, really.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 04-Dec-12 22:38:51

DD1 was born in a posh private hospital two days before Christmas and we were there for a week. The nursery nurses were looking after twins who'd been very premature and poorly but were ready to go home after having been there for months - the nurses hadn't seen or heard from the (obviously very wealthy) parents for weeks sad

suebfg Tue 04-Dec-12 22:46:05

Yes, bad parenting isn't about wealth or lack of it.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 04-Dec-12 22:47:42

I always got presents but I knew not to ask for much as my mum couldn't afford it - was always amazed by kids at school who got a bike and a computer and whatever the craze toy was.
Funnily enough my children always struggle to think of much they want even though we could notionally afford to buy it.
I really enjoy creating little traditions for them though (I lost my mum relatively young and didn't really do Christmas for a long time) and making a pretty tree, which is what I really loved about Christmas when I was a child.

ssaw2012 Tue 04-Dec-12 22:51:58

Thank you everyone for the nice wishes. I also wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and lots of happy days with your loved ones.

I must admit that some of the post have too made me feel very sad. While my parents did not think of giving us presents they would never eat a better piece of food. I can not imagine my mum eating a chocolate biscuit and giving us a plain one. We were not completely poor but their salaries was just enough to sustain for the family of five. Looking back, I still think they could have saved some money to make us presents at least once a year but they did not think it was important. I knew other children had birthday presents and Christmas presents (not everyone though) but I did not dare to ask for one. These days my mother spends lots of times with my sister's family. She does make presents for her grand children. I think she has learnt it from my sister. It is actually nice to see this change in my mum. Only about two years ago she mentioned about the "amount" of our children's toys. I did, however, reminded her about the toys we did not have. So, I am actually very pleased that she has finally understood why/that children need toys.

BeaLola Tue 04-Dec-12 23:15:15

I have cried reading some of these posts & others have made me laugh out loud.

My parents were not well off but were "older parents" who came from large families & never had anything new themselves. I cannot think of a birthday or a christmas that wasn't made special. We always had warmth, food and loving arms to hug us and their time. We didn't get tons of presents & often gifts were 2nd hand eg bike. I think both my brother & I really appreciate how much they have done for us as we have got older & understood more about life, finances , work etc.

Christmas was magical & still is. We adopted a little one earlier this year & are so looking forward to our first Christmas together - my Dad cannot wait either for his first as Grandpa !

My DS has got quite a few gifts for Christmas ............. the most fun I have had so far though is buying nostalgic or daft items that I hope he will like for his stocking eg whirly santa snowglobe, popping candy, goldcoins, superman slipper boots, jumping beans, slinky, glow stars for ceiling. What I remember so far for this first Christmas is his little face when he opened his first ever advent calendar or the look on his face when he watches the PNP Father Christmas Video & sees the book with his name on it - priceless . I'm sure there were be tons more memories to come ............ i hope when he is grown up & is asked about Christmas he has lots of great memories that make him smile & laugh too.

Ponyinthepool Wed 05-Dec-12 03:18:17

We got presents but it's that's not the thing I remember most about my childhood Christmasses. My mum loved Christmas more than anyone I've ever met and would have it in mind all year round, keeping an eye out for little gifts to go in the crackers we'd make, taking us to a forest to collect pine cones to make wreaths and decorations, making the cake and the pudding in June (and feeding them with booze for the next 6 months) etc etc.

Almost everything we had at Christmastime was homemade and what I remember most is how much fun we had together making all those things, they are my happiest memories.

I've always felt very lucky to have had that, and all the more so now reading some of these sad stories. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas this year. In the long run it's the love and care that goes into Christmas that's memorable, not the presents.

Morloth Wed 05-Dec-12 04:54:22

Another toilet roll hoarder here, I buy the packs of 36 when they are on sale everytime so that I have heaps and heaps in the cupboard. I think of all the shit things (hehe see what I did there) about being poor that actually came towards the top of the list.

We also got some Christmas presents, not big, not flash but there was always something and we always had the whole family (and a few waifs and strays) and THAT is what I remember from my childhood Christmasses.

Now as the owner of the biggest house I end up with everyone at my house, which I love and I think the boys enjoy having everyone around as well. I do love buying them great presents but the best bit is opening those presents with family. (I actually have a stash of random pressies in case we have unexpected extras at Christmas so that everyone gets something to open).

I had a happy childhood even though it was poor, as far as I can see my boys are having a very similarly happy childhood without the poor bit.

Allalonenow Wed 05-Dec-12 06:39:54

We were quite poor when I was a small child, but I did get presents, often home made, like a doll's cot made out of a crate. Mum was a wonderful seamstress, so the cot had beautiful quilted bedding. Other years my doll would get new clothes Mum had made. There was sometimes a board game, very occasionally a book, a well off aunt always sent a selection box.

But I remember it as being happy, the excitement of a sock with a tangerine and some marbles, seeing the tree on Christmas morning. I feel so sorry for those here who missed out on delight in their childhood.

I think one lives out the echos of your childhood throughout the rest of your life, as the stories here show, so when I hit hard times as an adult, I could still make sure Christmas was fun for my son with simple home made treats.

I'm not especially looking forward to Christmas this year, as it will be my first alone for many years, but I'm hoping that simple treats will see me through, I'm stock piling Maltesers!

exoticfruits Wed 05-Dec-12 06:55:31

It is a terribly sad thread. Christmas was a magical time, and that was much more important than the present. You can do the magic for very little and it was spending time as a family.

Badvocsanta Wed 05-Dec-12 07:49:21

Yes.
Making decorations, baking, going to carol concerts and seeing the lights turned on...it's all very cheap really.
Will be making decorations and mince pies and cakes with my two after they break up from school smile
We went to a national trust property at the weekend to see the Xmas decs...they had a brass band playing carols, giving out mulled wine. Was lovely smile

Hippymama Wed 05-Dec-12 10:01:10

I've read this thread with a huge lump in my throat. Most of you would be around the same age as me or younger and it's made me sad to think that you didn't get presents at Christmas sad

We never had much money growing up but we always had presents and new clothes at Christmas. I feel very lucky having read this thread.

We don't have a lot of money this year and i wasn't looking forward to Christmas because of it, but this thread has given me a kick up the arse. It's not about how much you spend, it's about making happy memories and we can do that without spending a lot smile

I hope we all have a fantastic Christmas x

Coralanne Wed 05-Dec-12 10:34:33

Theicingontop. I was like that with socks. Only had 2 pair and had to wash them out every night,

When my DD was at school she had about 40 pair of socks. Same as DS.

Actually I have also bought 2 five packs (expensive) of socks to put in DD's Christmas parcel.blush

Coralanne Wed 05-Dec-12 10:37:00

This thread is a bit of an eye opener to me. Even though I am a relatively young Grandma I thought everyone born after my generation always got loads of Christmas and birthday gifts.

Theicingontop Wed 05-Dec-12 10:48:30

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one with issues surrounding buying myself things. I struggle with buying myself conditioner sometimes blush I just feel so guilty.

It's weird isn't it, that it doesn't go the opposite way? When you don't have things as a child you'd expect that when you have money, you'd go to town. But nope.

rotavirusrita Wed 05-Dec-12 11:06:32

such a sad thread.

we went from being "well off" to not having any money when my dad left to go abroad and our house was repossessed. I was about 11 and I remember mum being down to literally her last £10 note, and having to "be vegetarian" for a few yrs as beans were cheaper then meat. Thing is though I never remeber not getting presents at christmas or it being a miserable time of year. I know she never drank, smoked, or had any kind of social life for a long while but that didnt seem to matter to her. We were always surrounded with relatives and she managed to get second hand or "hand me down" presents from relatives. I remember my sister and I getting a big pile of pont magazines that had been our cousins.... we thought they were amazing. My mum has been a bit flakey in other respects in recent yrs ( another man on the scene you see) but I am greatful for what she did for us then.

I also get very guilty about spending money.... I menu plan and get fruit and veg cheap from the market.... even though we probably could be more extravagant. I also still get anxiety attacks when I go into a bank or check how much money is in my account!

rotavirusrita Wed 05-Dec-12 11:06:47

"pony magazines"

BookieMonster Wed 05-Dec-12 11:09:48

I just remember Christmas as an utterly anxious time. My parents were useless with money and the calls from debt collectors would be bad. They used to make me deal with them. It was worse in January and February, mind.
I completely overcompensate with my DC.

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