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I have learnt my lesson from last year, need to cut back on kids presents... (Reassurance needed!)

(19 Posts)
lydiathetattooedlady Wed 14-Sep-11 12:23:27

Soooooooooo...last year spent a ridiculous amount (probably about £300-£350) on our 2 dc aged then nearly 4 and 18months, not including their stockings. I have no reasoning as to why we/I spent so much. My only thought being that when i was little we all had a pillowcase bulging with gifts. In reality now i look at a pillowcase and think they have either shrunk in size over the years or (the obvious reason) They look bigger when we were so small!

We brought our dd at least £100 of sylvanian stuff of which she only plays with the figures, The furniture sets are still practically untouched in a storage box. Ds we brought about the equivalent amount in happyland of which he only plays with one set, the alien robot! Then obviously more money on other bits and pieces.

This year, because of this, i do not intend to spend as much hopefully about £200. For ds as he loves toy story i was going to get him a buzz lightyear (£40 ish) and the toy story films and dd wants a baby cot and doll (£50ish). They will get some other little bits and their stocking. Is this really stingy? Im worried she'll remember loads of presents from last year and wonder why she hasnt got as many this year?!

Also present opening wont take as long so any advice on how to make it last? They dont need loads of presents to make it a good xmas do they??

Machin11 Wed 14-Sep-11 12:29:07

No they don't need so many, they will love the magic of it, I can't link to threads as I'm rubbish but look under Christmas and see the Christmas PJ's topic and steal the hamper idea for Xmas eve, it's fab!!!!
We were the same and one year DSS didn't want one big present so bought lots of smaller (still around £30 each) presents, 8 months later still in cellophane wrappers I sold a load on eBay as never touched, wish I'd not wasted so much money and just focused on what he'd like (instead of what I though he'd like).
Ask what they want if possible, dish some inexpensive items out to family and friends and focus on a couple of main presents!!!
They will love Xmas!!! smile Good Luck as I need to reduce my spend on Xmas too.


lydiathetattooedlady Wed 14-Sep-11 12:38:45

Thank you so much! I did steal the christmas pjs idea from here from dds first xmas 4 years ago!
Id like them to have an exciting lead up to xmas as the day itself is over so quick, so hoping to compensate lack of presents by going to carol service, seeing santa, going to xmas markets and xmas crafts!
I feel better now smile

feetheart Wed 14-Sep-11 12:53:43

We've never had the money for a big splurge on presents at Christmas (either when I was growing up or now) but I don't think we have missed out. We more than make up for it by using the time to do fun stuff together - making paper snowflakes for the windows, decorating the tree, carol/nativity service (has novelty value as we aren't church goers!), decorating a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve, DC (8 and 5) have Christmas colouring books that come out each year and a bit more gets done each year, long snowy walks and with hot chocolate in flask, etc. We are planning to have a go at making bunting this year hmm

What DC remember the most is Christmas 2009 (they were 6 and 4) when we couldn't go to grandparents as too much snow - they have no memory of presents etc but still talk about sledging to the shops to buy stuff for the Christmas dinner that we weren't expecting to have here smile

lydiathetattooedlady Wed 14-Sep-11 13:04:52

feetheart your xmas's sound lovely. Unfortunately we couldnt really afford to splurge but we did anyway, our klesson has been learnt!
Im making them a fabric calender each, i think i may steal some of your traditions to put in them as things to do!

worldgonecrazy Wed 14-Sep-11 13:14:26

What do you remember from your own childhood? Was it the big expensive presents or was it the silly things that made it 'family'. My own favourite Childhood memory is sugar mice, tangerines and walnuts in our stockings. We would have one present each and that was it. Okay, I sometimes felt deprived when my school friends had lots of stuff, and as a child I couldn't understand it as I knew my Dad earned more than everyone else's Dad except for one other girl, but it wasn't the terrible thing that some parents think it might be. I do joke with my mother that I was left emotionally-scarred by her refusal to buy me a Barbie.

lydiathetattooedlady Wed 14-Sep-11 13:28:17

world when i was little we used to be in a our dance schools panto/dance show which was on through the first week of december, Christmas cards were always given out on the last performance, thats when we knew xmas was a-coming! The next day we would always put our xmas tree up. We would also be taken to our local garden centres to look at the xmas set ups. One where we used to be was massive! The presents were a bonus i guess! I say that we had a pillow case filled but we wouldnt get a stocking, and given that i am one of 3 girls most stuff we'd share anyway. So we'd get a sylvanian house to share then we'd each get a furniture set and an animal family!
I have to say though, my best and most remembered present was a family of 3 rabbits my mum made me, i still have one of them that i have given to my dd! All of us received a set of 3 handmade stuffed animals that year, they were beautiful.
I am going to sweep any feelings of guilt away and plan fun festive activities for the kids!

feetheart Wed 14-Sep-11 14:21:48

More than welcome to steal ideas - enjoy them smile

Off to look up Christmas Eve hamper idea.

LatteLady Wed 14-Sep-11 14:39:27

It isn't the big stuff that you remember but the little things. So do have the colouring pencils, books, plasticine... in fact if it is just the sack on the end of the bed, before big gifts, give yourself £20 ish to spend at the Pound shop... at this age children don't know the cost of gifts.

Also, I have a friend who each year fills his son's bedroom with balloons - his son plays happily with them when he wakes up and until recently had to be cajoled to leave his room to open his presents!

olibeansmummy Wed 14-Sep-11 15:43:01

£200 is the perfect budget IMHO ( mostly coz is my budget lol) I've done a list of presents and it's HUGE there will be more than enough for ds ( will be 2.7 at Xmas).

Ps Argos do a full size interactive buzz AND woody fir £50 so get that!! ( unless you live near meand there's a shortage in which case they are mine lol!!)

NHScutback Wed 14-Sep-11 15:43:19

Like everyone has said, the memories of christmas we carry with us are not tons of toys but are sentimental: lovely experiences, warmth, anticipation, lots of good times together as a family. Plus the religious significance for some, of course.
i've been guilty of buying the DCs too much stuff before (carried away with excitement) and it's just been overwhelming. Then of course only some of it was well used. So this year I'm purposefully restricting the number of presents we buy them, if not the cost. to me it's a problem of volume rather than cost that overwhelms kids.

Machin11 Wed 14-Sep-11 19:52:58

Awww, feeling kinda left out, I don't have loads of nice Xmas memories growing up sad only a couple. Mind you since I've been with DH and had my own house, I have more than made up for it! I drive him and my DSS bonkers with Christmas, you know it's bad when a 13 year old and dad both roll their eyes at the same time. blush

Meglet Wed 14-Sep-11 20:01:54

For the last couple of years I have kept the DC's presents to a minimum. A few second hand bits from the NCT sale, a nice new book and a bit of money squirrelled into their bank accounts. £40 each max.

We did start Xmas PJ's last year, I love it as they think they're getting something amazing but they'd get PJ's anyway grin. Little, useful presents in their stockings, pens & pencils, socks, vests, pants, kids smellies and a clementine. I don't like giving them anything that will add to the clutter in the house.

Last year I took them into town on Xmas Eve morning (it's quieter then) and I let them choose a new bauble for the Xmas tree, they were all reduced by that point. So that's another tradition I hope they will enjoy every year.

This year DS will be 5 by the time Xmas is here so he will be getting proper Lego but his 3yo sister will still get the bare minimum and second hand stuff, she won't notice the difference.

melodyangel Wed 14-Sep-11 20:07:51

Feetheart - I love the colouring book idea!

BelleEnd Wed 14-Sep-11 20:11:06

I have 2 DS, 6 and 2, and I get everything second hand off ebay. And I do it now before the mad rush. At that age, they really are not going to be bothered if it's boxed, it's far cheaper and recycling is good for the enviroment.

I am very very aware that if I go overboard now, they will expect it every year, so mine expect very little. DS1 has asked for one small Dr. Who figure (£6.99). I asked him if there was another small gift he'd like and he said "a surprise".

As everyone else has said, gifts don't make Christmas. What DS1 remembers about Christmases past are the mince pies for Santa, the wooden nativity scene we have, and the bells he hears. (we bought some jingle bells from a charity shops and as one parent puts them to bed, the other jingles the bells in the garden. Absolutely magic) smile

RobynLou Wed 14-Sep-11 20:15:27

what the others said, they won't remember the presents!

one little practical tip though - go to the disney store for buzz. they do cheaper versions of all their characters that you can only get at the disney store, nowhere else. DD1 has a buzz, he says lots of phrases, has pop out wings, a 'lazer' on his arm etc but was only £20. looks like they've gone up by a fiver, but still a lot cheaper than elsewhere.

Mousey84 Wed 14-Sep-11 20:27:44

Im doing mostly "events" this year. Vouchers for movies, a show at the local theatre, the science center, zoo, etc. Esp if I can use tesco vouchers for them. Will also be getting clothes, underwear and pjs. Basically stuff that she would get anyway... She will get plenty of toys from friends and family.

Tradition - put decorations up on her birthday (early december), buy a christmas movie. make mince pies. sure theres more but I cant think of them right now.

unfitmummy Thu 15-Sep-11 11:16:20

every year i keep a tally of how much i spend on all christmas presents (2DC, 1nephew, 4brothers/sisters and partners, numerous aunts and uncles,my and DH parents,one grandma and nursery teacher presents) and it doesn't come to much more than £250. i've been brought up to beleive that its not the value of the gift that counts but the thought. in my family we are only allowed to spend £10 approx per person (we're all adults who can buy things we want so why spend more?) and for the kids i spend about £20 on stocking presents which i collect throughout the year as i see them, alot come from NCT sale, and then they get one big thing from us that they have asked for. last year DD got a scooter (£20) for example. since DD is now 6 i'm waiting for her to start asking for more expensive presents and DH and i have already agreed that if they cost more than £30 then she will have to ask us and her grandparents for money so that she can save up for it. we had to do that and it is a valuable lesson -it also means she gets what she wants!

poppyandsneeze Thu 15-Sep-11 11:22:02

If I manage to sort ourselves out for next month, then I am only planning on spending £50 each on the two children - and this is quite a luxury for us, as I normally spend money on the children (but use the credit card). I am determined this year, to make sure that it is our money that I am spending on the presents. I am only going to spend £30 on parents in law and £30 on my parents. £20 on the godchild and sister (jointly) and have got presents sitting in my cupboard that will do the nephews (presents received years ago for my little one and haven't been open - so will reuse them).

I did mention to my dh that I would like to spend £50 on him this year - as he never gets anything. We never go elaborate and the children never do without. I find the more toys they get off other people the less they play with them. I would prefer to get a few small toys for them that I know they want and appreciate.

My m-in-law has for the first time asked me what my lo would like - so I am hoping to steer her in the right direction so she gets something for his age and something that he likes (and not always baby books)

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