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.

Bumblequeen Fri 02-Nov-12 16:37:33

Thanks for your kind words.

As you said parents have different budgets and it is wrong to compare how much we all spend. No parent is better whether they spend little or much.

Badvoc Fri 02-Nov-12 17:02:30

Look, this is MN.
There will one thread about how a mother is taking her kids to Disneyland for Xmas and another where the mother is refusing to buy any gifts and making her kids gifts out of hairspray and dust smile
Dont stress about it.
My eldest ds is 9 and his fave part of Xmas is the run up...watching Xmas films, eating popcorn in our pjs in the sofa under a blanket smile
Kids remember the small stuff. Not what they got as gifts..I am nit even sure I could tell you what I got them for Xmas last year!

I'm aiming for a frugal CHristmas too smile
I have not bought anything. I,m knitting scarves for friends and MiIL. I intend to sit my 4 kids and husband at the table and show them some catalogues -Oxfam, Cafod, etc.- and propose that we choose the gift we want from there. So hopefully it'll be some chickens, a school kit, vaccinations, etc for people in need.
That is my plan, but have to be crafty so the kids don't think it's an awful idea. I thought maybe I could frame the certificate the charity sends and give it to the kids. Still I can make stockings for them and put in some small things or chocs.
I'm trying to make the kids understand that Christmas is the time to give... Having said that, I saw DS looking thru the Tesco catalogue, haha. Normally the godparents will give them a present, same with my inlaws, so there is no issue of them being deprived.

cozietoesie Sat 03-Nov-12 06:09:09

If it's any consolation, Bumblequeen, my best memories of Christmas when I was a kid are of colours and lights. My parents used to keep the downstairs empty, send us to bed early on Xmas Eve, and stay up late (with a glass or two) wrapping. We'd be allowed downstairs early on Christmas morning (we used to troop downstairs in a line behind my Dad all singing the song from Laurel and Hardy's desert movie) and arrive in the sitting room to a blaze of colour (fire going, Xmas lights on and coloured wrapping paper.)

I don't think we got very much value wise and like one or two of the posters above, we mostly got things which we would have had anyway (clothes etc) but just the look of the room was fun. Invest in some cheap and gaudy wrapping paper. That should do it.

Have a good time, anyway, when it comes!

smile

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Sat 03-Nov-12 07:14:42

Don't worry Bumble, my DS has been asking for both Xbox and Nintendo DS for the last couple of years but we haven't bought them for him, he's now six but he will still be happy with bits and bobs to open, you definitely don't need to spend a lot. The whole Christmas season is magical for them, seeing all the decorations and Father Christmas etc. Have a lovely one.

BettyBum Sat 03-Nov-12 09:43:57

They have some gorgeous stuff in Aldi. Bought my niece a gilet for £4.99, her sister a peppa pig rucksack for £3.99 and my son a wooden train set for £9.47. I'll add to this and spend about £50 on him and his sister. I thought the Aldi stuff was great, looked good quality!

harrietspy Tue 06-Nov-12 14:19:09

I used to spend without thinking at Christmas but circumstances have dramatically changed so this year (partly because of living beyond means, partly because of circumstances beyond my control). I have nothing to spend at Christmas, but my mum has offered to buy Christmas dinner and all the grandparents are giving us a fixed amount to spend on the kids, so the budget will be tight. I'm incredibly grateful for their generosity and feel a double responsibility to spend carefully now.

This year I'm thinking really hard about what dc would really benefit from rather than just creating a pile of presents... Really embarrassed when I think about how much Christmas money I used to spend without thinking eg buying nightwear for the kids from M&S without price-checking elsewhere... It's better though, now. Really good to be thinking about this Christmas carefully and consciously.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 06-Nov-12 14:45:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 06-Nov-12 14:48:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

We are not particularly struggling but my kids are each getting:

1 toy £20-30
1 book people set £10-£15
and a stocking with chocs, toothbrushes, satsumas and small cheap things

because I don't want them to expect endless toys and not appreciate them every birthday and Christmas.

They also get quite a lot from relatives, which I am trying to curb a bit.

poorbuthappy Tue 06-Nov-12 15:04:25

My eldest is 8. Her favourite part of Christmas is walking around the village with me and the dog looking at everyone's christmas lights.

cozietoesie Tue 06-Nov-12 17:24:37

Well that's the thing. Presents (in our family) tend to be left in heaps and then trundled up to the bedroom after a few hours. Christmas is really about doing things with your family and having fun. Sorry if that sounds po-faced but it's what I always like best about current Christmases and remember best about the past.

smile

givemeaclue Thu 08-Nov-12 16:54:07

We are not hard up, we are lucky. But I do find the concept of, in addition to Xmas presents, giving the dcs a hamper of goodies on Xmas eve or even a book every day of advent (as per Xmas threads) are excessive. Why are people looking for ways to give even more gifts? And spend even more money? I don't get it

Pootles2010 Thu 08-Nov-12 16:57:53

Agree with everyone saying presents get forgotten - I honestly can't remember anything my family bought me over the years, but can remember silly games played with my family on Christmas day, and the thing mentioned earlier about having just the Christmas tree lights on. Lovely!

DS is only 2, so doesn't need much, but he's just getting a Duplo fire engine, and a stocking.

Maryz Thu 08-Nov-12 16:59:43

Mine will be getting as presents a lot of stuff that other parents just buy - toiletries, underwear, stationery, that type of stuff. It is all put together in a bag and is their favourite part of Christmas.

And they will get one big present each. Or money. ds1 wants a tattoo hmm

I agree it's the middle-sized presents that add up. Good presents are worth saving for, little bits don't cost much, but the extra dvds/books/games you shove into the bag really add up to much more than you think.

We have a fiver limit on adults, and a tenner on kids, that we will see on Christmas day. We don't buy for other relatives or for any friends.

And I haven't bought cards or wrapping paper for years - it is such a waste of money.

PickledGerkin Thu 08-Nov-12 17:08:14

I read that Christmas list thread and was shocked and I've been on MN for years.

We are far from hard up in fact we are incredibly fortunate but my children must learn that life isn't about getting everything you want/see (we have been saving up for a kitchen extension for a couple of years so they see that we don't have what we want either)

We take them to see the Christmas lights, and we watch Polar Express and Prep and Landing (short film from years ago) and I make the whole of December exciting. It isn't about one day where everyone gets plastic tat. We enjoy all of December, first is the advent calendars, then the Christmas table cloth and placemats, then the tree, we bake mince pies and a big ham etc etc.

My two boys are 9 and 6, they get a stocking from Father Christmas, a few presents from us and we go visiting relatives and we exchange gifts then too. They only get £10 each spent on them by relatives so sometimes they club their funds together to get a joint present.

We choose something from the Oxfam catalogue and they forgo a present each for that and understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have food never mind presents galore.

I had a very frugal upbringing mainly because my parents had no money and we had a fantastic childhood, filled with happy memories and never, the latest toy.

I think the thing to remember is those who have bought loads of stuff will probably in Jan/Feb moaning/asking advice on debt.

We do spoil our children at Christmas but it's all paid for and we don't buy during the year other then their birthday.

harrietspy Thu 08-Nov-12 18:16:42

PickledGerkin, where did you get Prep and Landing from? We saw it when we lived in the US and LOVED it but haven't managed to get hold of it in the UK.

BeaWheesht Thu 08-Nov-12 18:21:26

Harrietspy - prep nnd landing is on amazon - used but good condition

LynetteScavo Thu 08-Nov-12 18:33:10

OP, you are looking at it all wrong.

You aren't having a frugal Christmas, you are having a sensible, happy Christmas.

I had great Christmas' as a Child, and my parents spent very little on me (they could have afforded much more, but it just didn't occur to them).

Ignor those threads about all the things other people are buying their DC. Once a shopping list entitled ToysRUs ended up in my front garden, obviously from next door. The list had the children names on, and a beyond extensive list of toys. I momentarily panicked, then realised those children are no happier, healthier, more polite, more popular or cleverer than mine.

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories is making mince pies with my mother. Last year, DD had everything she has asked for on her Christmas list, and I didn't make time to make mince pies with her. sad I will be making sure that doesn't happen again this year.

CelstialNavigation Thu 08-Nov-12 19:11:44

We watch the Box of Delights in the run up to Christmas. It's 3 or 4 pound on amazon with free delivery every year recently.

Magic.

I earn above average but was brought up with European Christmas traditions so find the presents people give in Britain utterly bizarre. DD is seven and I tend to get her 3-5 presents for Christmas. We open them on Christmas Eve and don't have stockings.

I get most of her stuff off eBay and it includes things like a nightie or a couple of tops. Last year she also got a bath sponge (79p from Tesco!) which she thought was the most amazing thing ever.

Every year we get a £5 gingerbread house from LIDL and have her friends round for an Advent tea to put it together. It's a huge hit.

She never gets any stick from anyone at school. Other things she'll get this year are a notebook for story writing, some hair bands and a book on horses. I've also got her a magazine subscription with my Tesco vouchers. Really, it's plenty.

I feel awful over christmas this year. My dc get very little spent on them over the year including on their birthdays so I tend to make up for it a little at christmas. Like many people this year I have money worries so Ive cut back a bit. They always get one big present each but the cost varies. Ds I ordered an ipod from the catalogue so I can pay weekly but he is 13. Dd has had her heart set on a 3ds. She has saved her holiday money for a game to go with it and I bought it with my vouchers I received from work which saved me about 50 quid.

dd2 who is 5. I am wrapping up my ds old ds with a couple of second hand games and giving it to her. Ill buy a case for it and a new stylus and put it in a nice box for her. dd3 is having a new doll from home bargains.

They will get a few more bits but thats it.

I feel terrible. Their friends get so much more as their parents work and I don't anymore. I feel like a really crap mum that I can't do anymore.

Badvocsanta Fri 16-Nov-12 12:56:14

Ghost.
Please don't feel terrible.
Your kids will love what you have got them.
I have gone a bit ott this year tbh but there is so much you can do with them/for them that costs very little or not much.
The pnp console is up and running now so have done my boys a free e mail from Santa. Have done this for the e last couple of years and they love it.
Baking biscuits is very inexpensive. As are carol services, wintery walks, Xmas DVD afternoons with popcorn smile
Can't wait! smile

Mum2Fergus Fri 16-Nov-12 14:05:10

Slightly random, but just had the Tesco Everyday Value Christmas Fruit Cake...very cheap in comparison to others...and its delicious!

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