A frugal Christmas

(63 Posts)
Bumblequeen Thu 01-Nov-12 10:31:36

We will not be overspending at all over Christmas. We have a little put down to tide us over and for any unexpected payments.

We usually top up our normal shopping of £200 to £250 pm. Not much as it all adds up.

Only buying dd one/two gifts this year- nothing for any family members or each other.

I stupidly looked at a thread on the Christmas forum titled " what have you bought your dc so far?".

Parents have gift lists as long as my arm! Now feeling crap at what dd will receive. Glad she is only 4 so not yet at the stage of counting her gifts or discussing them with friends at pre school sad.

Dd does not go without, has enough clothes and toys but I cannot indulge her as much as I would like. she can only ever receive one or two gifts at birthdays/Christmas.

SavoyCabbage Thu 01-Nov-12 10:37:00

Last year I cut out middle size presents. I think where I was going wrong was I buy them a main present, not necessarily an expensive one. Then there is all the little stuff that they seem to love. Necklace, chocolate Santa, stickers, bag or marbles, egg-cup. All good. But then I would panic buy stuff for about twenty pounds. So that would be eighty quid. Usually three days before Christmas day.

When they're younger the stockings are almost more enjoyed than the rest TBH.

I've been buying little silly gifts, as my 2 are teens it's hard to find stuff that isn't tiny + expensive or vouchers!

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Thu 01-Nov-12 10:46:29

Ignore the parents with huge lists, it's silly to buy children so much tat stuff. Christmas should be about family and friends, not how much money you spend. It's turned into a consumerist holiday event, which is very wrong IMO. The parents with huge lists are making a rod for their own back.

mum23girlys Thu 01-Nov-12 13:31:05

Please don't feel bad. Your dd is so young and as you say does not do without. We recently moved house and to be honest the amount of toys and general tat I threw away, charity bagged or sold is quite honestly shocking. No wonder we are permanently skint even though on paper we have a higher than average income.

We have decided this year we are going to cut way back. It's dd3's birthday in a few weeks and she is getting a dolly and pram as I know this will be well used. She's currently pushing dd1's doll about in a plastic lego box grin Will be gutted if she continues with this grin

That means that at Christmas she really doesn't need anything. Got so many handed down toys from her older sisters. So I think we'll buy her a few wee token gifts as at 2 she is too young to know. My other 2 dds are 6 and have asked for a couple of things. 1 of which is a Furby which at £60 each they will not be getting. Was shocked when dh put his foot down to this as he's usually the one that runs out on Christmas eve and buys a bike each as a wee surprise! Both sets of grandparents spoil the girls so it's not as if they will do without. We've told them that Daddy has to pay Santa and they know money is tight so know not to expect too much. Whatever happens I know we will all still have a lovely Christmas spending it together with family. Glad we've managed so far to bring our girl's up just to appreciate what they do get.

Bumblequeen Thu 01-Nov-12 16:58:21

Dd likes little things such as jewellery, pretend make up sets, Cinderella dresses, sticker books.

I know I should not feel bad but I do. Some of the parents came across as smug- almost as though their number/cost of gifts reflects how much their dc's are loved.

We live in such a materialistic world. I am sure school kids who do not have ipods/kindles/x boxes are looked down on.

hlipop Thu 01-Nov-12 17:05:47

meh at other parents i have bought my children a main present and a stocking present each, as for ipods/kindles/ xboxes they won't be getting them as 1) we cant afford them and 2) i highly doubt they need these before secondary school...but i know plenty of people who will buy their 4yo a ipad (whether they can afford it or not) and be like well they NEED to understand technology...well yes perhaps but this doesn't mean they NEED said expensive item just for them

GrendelsMum Thu 01-Nov-12 20:31:13

My mum always used to do that - she'd buy a present, and then she'd panic and buy us the most ridiculous stuff that she could get hold of at the last minute. And she would always be so stressed about it, pushing these ridiculous presents at us on Christmas day, and apologising while she handed them to us. Every present we got was always 'It's not very good, but...' It then took me years to get out of the habit of apolgising for anything I gave someone.

Take it from me, a present and a stocking given with a kiss and a relaxed parent is better than a worried mum handing you present after present.

dementedma Thu 01-Nov-12 20:34:02

Some of the Christmas lists on that thread are obscene. There is non other word for it

AdoraBell Thu 01-Nov-12 23:55:55

A four yr old doesn't need loads of gifts Bumblequeen just lots of cuddles, a bit of food and some giggles. Stop reading Christmas threads that way madness lies we don't need them. My two, now 11, are getting 1 gift from us, 1 from Anuntie on my side and whatever OH gets on behalf of his side. We're abroad so they give us a budget and we shop for them.

ImperialFireworksInMyKnickers Fri 02-Nov-12 00:06:52

I've been through the Christmas list threads you mention too, looking for ideas. ddtwins will be getting one big thing (about £50) each and a handful of very small things via Father Christmas. I find the idea of any child getting all of that bleepy stuff like iPads in one big go very sad. One of the middle sized things is likely to be mentioned as a possible to their doting wealthy childless aunt/godmother, but I'm much happier that she's decided to invest for their future bless her.

LadyLetch Fri 02-Nov-12 00:31:24

The first rule is to ignore what other people but for their DC. Especially on Mumsnet grin. There will always be people who spend more, and always people who spend less. You'll get threads where people write huge lists and then you get the competitive threads over how little people but their children (as if there's some inverse law stating the less you spend, the better the parent you are)hmm.

Secondly, remember it is absolutely pointless comparing yourself to some random list on Mumsnet. Some people are wealthier and have more to spend, others don't. That's life. No point comparing - there'll always be someone with more money that spends more. You need to learn to be content with what you give, and ignore what everyone else does. I know this is easier said than done, but I say this as someone who is not affluent, but lives in a relatively affluent area. Trust me, no good comes from comparing grin.

Thirdly, I think this is often forgotten but it is also relative to what else is spent on the child at birthdays and throughout the year. You cannot possibly judge a Christmas list without knowing this. For example, my DDs receive quite a lot at Christmas, but on their birthdays, I'll only spend £30 or so. I know others would balance it out more, spending less at Christmas and more on birthdays. Equally, I know others who spend far less at Christmas, but if they saw a toy their child reduced during the year would just give it to them (whereas I would put it in the Christmas box, and they would get it at Christmas). I and many others make up the bulk of presents by giving things that you also give, but probably not as presents so Father Christmas always brings my children their annual supply of vests, pants etc. These bulk out the Christmas sacks but aren't really 'extra presents' iyswim.

Every year Mumsnet goes crazy with people getting anxious over how much they've spent / not spent etc and every year I point out the madness of this for the above reasons. Just ignore what everyone else does and be confident in what you do. So long as you / your DC are happy, that's all that counts.

Loveweekends10 Fri 02-Nov-12 05:37:36

I've just been sorting dd2 s bedroom and realised how many toys she actually has. It's ridiculous. She is 7 and much prefers playing schools with pen and paper and a row of teddies than anything pink and plastic. So decided this year my nieces and nephews are getting more spent on them. My DHs two brothers families have been struggling financially so I think it's money better spent.

pointtopoint Fri 02-Nov-12 05:51:09

My kids are getting one present each for Christmas and a stocking. That's it. Other presents from my family will be useful stuff (DS is getting a sheepskin rug and DD is getting a dressing up box ).

Kids don't want material stuff. I truly believe that. I won't buy DD kids jewelry, I will buy her some beads and we will make braclets etc together.

I really don't think you need to feel bad about not over indulging kids

justbogoffnow Fri 02-Nov-12 06:00:46

My youngest dc (9) said, "Mummy, do you know what I love most at Christmas?"

"No", I said.

"Watching all the lovely Christmas programmes together, with just the Christmas tree lights on."

That really gladdened my heart, because it's what me and dh love too, all chilling out together, eating a feast and then playing games, watching a bit of tv.

We won't be buying iPads etc. they'll get some presents but the best gifts are love and attention smile.

parsnipcake Fri 02-Nov-12 06:42:55

When my son was small and I was a single parent at uni, things were very tight. I made a Christmas activity calendar with a different thing to do each day - painting leaves with glitter to decorate the house, baking, watching a Christmas movie etc. on the day he got homemade colouring books, a treasure hunt for chocolate coins and a few small presents. He was thrilled and still had very fond memories of it all, so don't worry.

FairiesWearPoppies Fri 02-Nov-12 06:44:01

I agree! This year dd (5) is getting one main present and a few little bits. The only exception this year is a "medium" present from her new baby brother and that's only because she spent her pocket money on a gift for him! ( in case father Xmas didn't realise he was here yet bless her little cotton socks) her big present is a scooter and was only £20.

Xmas is all about the food family

sommewhereelse Fri 02-Nov-12 07:08:23

Bumblequeen I asked my DCs last January whether their schoolfriends had been given anything exciting for Christmas (one has a birthday early in the year and I was trying to fish for ideas) and they didn't know because they hadn't discussed it with them. They were 8 and 7 at the time.

At 4 it's fun just to open gifts so you can get away with lots of things you'd have had to buy anyway, like socks. In fact my DD still wanted to open my recent birthday present even though she knew the content was not for her.

Agree with LadyLetch, another point is that if I were to post a list on one of those threads, the list would include gifts from other people, eg if I knew what grandparents were getting for DCs, because I see those threads of a way of sharing gift ideas.

Worley Fri 02-Nov-12 07:25:28

don't pay any attention to the presents others buy. as their dec grow up they may not appreciate when they do receive more expensive gifts as they've just been used to so much so young.
my ds's (6) best preset he got for his birthday this year was a little gift bag I made up from him as a present from ds1 which contained a tiny little hex bug, some sweets and those little gift bags with figures in (Ben 10) that you don't know whose in them till you open it... he loves that. and that hex bug has still been his pride and joy and most played with thing out of everything else.. it was £5!!

Worley Fri 02-Nov-12 07:26:36

excuse typos I'm on my phone !

Oblomov Fri 02-Nov-12 07:39:45

The threads are obscene and make me feel ill.
ds1(8) has my old computer. he has decided to save any christmas money ( dh has 6 brothers and sisters) for an ipad. fine.
I'd like an ipad too. actually, I'm not that bothered.
Its not a competition Op, so don't get drawn into one.

pointtopoint Fri 02-Nov-12 07:43:57

It's just not a competition. Actually, both my kids do have iPads (they are 3 and 4). The apps are amazing!

Staryeyed Fri 02-Nov-12 08:13:08

We are having a tight Christmas this year but we have only ever bought one gift and a stocking. Piles of presents just becomes stuff and loses its individual value IMO. This year we will be spending less on the presents and stockings. Our Dc's are quite young 7(SN),3 and nearly 2. Together are perfectly happy with a thoughtful gift right now. No doubt as they get older they will have a Santa list as long as their arm (doesn't mean they will get it).

ProPerformer Fri 02-Nov-12 08:40:48

It's really not a competition: My DS has got his birthday a week before Christmas so this list is for both Xmas and birthday

2 'big presents' (1 new, one from charity shop!)
4 'medium presents' (books, micro machines)
A few items of clothing (2 'outfits' + socks and pants - all from Primark)
Various stocking fillers
Hotel chocolate tiddly pots of choc buttons.

My birthday is also near Christmas: I play musical instruments and have 3 lovely flutes, an alto flute and a top quality tenor saxophone - I got all of those for Christmas on different years but the years I did get them as gifts they were joint from parents and grandparents and only had a stocking as 'other gifts' from them and token gifts (eg bubble bath, tin of chocs) from them on my birthday which is a week after Xmas. It really made me appreciate the value of the instruments and I never felt I missed out on other gifts those years.

DD will be getting some pyjamas, a Christmas tree decoration and some books from The Book People. (They often have collections of about 10 books for under a tenner, worth £80 or £90!) She's only 1 so doesn't need much, but I also want a tradition of not spoiling her, and I figure that at this stage she won't have a clue what's what anyway!

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