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!

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!


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.


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.


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

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!

homeaway Fri 16-Nov-12 16:08:00

Do you know that some of the best presents are things that dont cost much? Now the kids are older they talk about the traditions that we had when they were younger.

Helenagrace Sat 17-Nov-12 10:03:23

OP you're having a sensible, normal Christmas and good for you! There are some very rich and some very silly people on Mumsnet. They may buy the entire Toys R Us store but their children won't be better for it.

Not long ago we had one of DS's friends over to play. He walked in and this was the conversation:

Friend "where's your playstation?"
Me "we don't have one"
Friend "so where's the Xbox then?"
Me "we don't have one of those either"
Friend "so do you have a wii then?"
Me "no"
Friend "so what do you DO then?"
Me "climb tress, go to the park, ride bikes, collect conkers, make cakes, skim stones on the sea, that sort of stuff"
Friend "woah can do some of that stuff today?"

He had every single gadget going. He came to ours with an iPod and a 3DS! But deep down he wanted to do stuff. To have experiences. He climbed a tree and talked about it for weeks - his mum told me in the playground several weeks later that he was still talking about it.

I'm no saint, I don't have endless time and I'm sure my children do sometimes wish they had an iPad/ wii/ Xbox etc but they do stuff.

Most children would prefer one game that an adult spent time playing with them rather than hundreds of pounds worth of toys.

Have a fun Christmas doing free and cheap stuff that will live on in your children's memories way beyond the demise of a £100 piece of plastic that makes a noise. Look forward to hearing them telling your grandchildren "but we have to make xxx biscuits on Christmas Eve because I did it with my mum" and "you have to have a new boardgame at Christmas - it's tradition!"

Oh and yy to whoever reminded us that those with the long lists of expensive gifts for each child will be weeping in here over their CC bills in January.

Helenagrace Sat 17-Nov-12 10:06:58

mum2fergus was that the bar shaped cake? I looked at that the other day because it felt squashy and moist and I like a good squashy fruit cake. I usually make my own and drown it in alcohol but we're moving 300 miles on December 4th so I just don't have time this year. I don't care what the label says as long as it's nice and moist!

I wouldn't worry op, i really wouldn't.
Children don't need bucket loads of money spent on them to be happysmile
I normally buy mine a main present each, a few smaller gifts and a stocking full of chocolatey treats, art stuff and bits n bobs from poundland.
They love what they recieve, i normally spend £200 on each dc but this year i'm only spending just over £100 on each dc as that is all i can afford.
Family members are also recieving less this year.

Buy one main and then maximise your money to go further on the smaller gifts, kids love all the small bits n bobs.

Mrsrobertduvallsaysboo Sat 17-Nov-12 10:31:01

Sounds as if you'll have a lovely xmas OP.

I am not a big Xmas person..only buy for dcs and dh. We have a quiet day, seeing friends for lunchtime drinks then back for something like a lasagne or lamb. Dh and ds are off to Oz on Xmas Day in the evening, so it's a very strange day this year!

We are lucky in that if I wanted to spend £1000 on each child I could. Comfortably. Not feel any pain. But I never would .
I had a very frugal upbringing but remember happy Xmases with home made sledges and dolls houses, Sindy dolls and books.

Dcs (teenagers) love their stockings more than anything.

I don't have a house full of crap food which I normally wouldn't touch.....or tons of booze over the festive period. I find it quite obscene what some people spend/eat at Xmas.

Chottie Sat 17-Nov-12 12:39:23

A 6 year old school friend of my DD who had everything (DD is now grown up) came round for the day. She loved being taken to the park and jumping in puddles, which she had never done before..... Children remember the simple pleasures and rituals of Christmas. Having time spent with them, reading stories, baking Christmas biscuits, etc. I truly believe quality time together is the most important thing. I have always strived to have a relaxed Christmas.....

oohlaalaa Mon 19-Nov-12 14:32:11

My mum never used to spend much on our Xmas gifts, unless it was a big item such as new bike. We were always loved and happy. We never went short, but mum didn't want to accumulate tat. I'm only spending £10 on my 6 month old DD1. She'll be none the wiser.

cozietoesie Mon 19-Nov-12 16:22:02

Actually, your DD1 would probably be entirely happy just looking at lights and playing with some Xmas paper (if she's up to the latter!)


MrsAceRimmer Mon 19-Nov-12 16:31:26

Xmas is for family and food IMO. We are really skint this year, and so have cut back. DD is getting the Cosy coupe car (charity shop find £10!!) and DS is getting a few easy board games (also charity shop) and a joke kit. We will do wee stockings for them and probably a big tin of sweets from Santa. My DC are only 4 & 1 and we have a big generous family. smile
We try to make it about doing fun stuff rather than the presents. Although I do wrap stuff for their stocking, and will wrap things they need anyway, socks, underwear etc.
Have a lovely Christmas your way smile

Mathsdidi Mon 19-Nov-12 16:37:57

My dds will have whatever I can get within the budget I have set. This year we're feeling a bit better off than previous years so we have a budget of £100 each in total before we're skint again next year as dp is about to be made redundant. Dd1 will get stocking fillers and vouchers (because she's a teen who doesn't need anything), dd2 is getting tons of stuff because she's 2.5 and won't realise that it's all come from ebay.

We're very lucky that both sets of gps are quite generous too.

My kids have never felt like they have missed out, even though they have never had the latest gadgets or loads of money spent on them. The one year we bought a wii it was dd1's main present from us AND my parents AND it was her birthday present for that year as well. She was grateful for it and loved it, despite the fact that one or two of her friends got a Wii and a laptop just for Christmas. She knows that Christmas isn't about how much gets spent on you.

Paintyourbox Mon 19-Nov-12 18:23:50

It's DDs first Christmas this year (she will be 6 months old) and we have decided on two presents:

Some wooden bookends which she will be able to keep forever.
A fisher price jumperoo (second hand from eBay)

I am resurrecting my sewing skills (haven't done any since school!) and I am determined to make her a Christmas stocking that she will be able to think "my mum made that just for me" when she is a little older.

A few mums have been horrified with what we are buying as they think its not enough but she is going to be totally spoiled by her gps/aunt and at the end of the day she will have no recollection of the day! The best thing we bought for her lately was a £1.99 survival blanket which she loves to crinkle up and roll about, we have had hours of fun watching her with it!

We are getting together with our neighbours on the day to share the cooking and we'll all sit around on an assortment of chairs and eat and chat. I love the memory of lots of people sitting round sharing a meal and having fun. It was a tradition to always watch Its a Wonderful Life!

I am another one who has seen Christmas spiral completely out of control in the last few years. The memories my children most value are not to do with presents, but are about playing silly games on Christmas day, decorating the tree, walking the dogs on Christmas morning, when local barmpots have decorated the dog park trees with tinsel, singing carols by candlelight...precious special memories.

My sister and her family came for Christmas last year, and we all felt a little bit ill at the complete excess of presents they exchanged. We like simple, home made, thoughtful and small gifts.

bumble I have PMmed you

Chottie Mon 19-Nov-12 22:04:55

It's lovely to read these threads and think of all you parents making special Christmas memories for your children. A Christmas hug to you one and all smile

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