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Christmas presents, now my friend has 4dc

(33 Posts)
KatyS36 Thu 11-Nov-10 22:07:20

Myself and three school friends have retained the tradition of swapping Christmas presents even though we are all in our thirties. They are old friends, who I know will be in my life forever, but I'm not close to them on a day to day basis as I have moved so much for work and now live a consoderable distance away.

When the first babies came along we all bought presents for them too at Christmas and birthdays and I enjoyed doing so.

However, one of the girls now has 4DCs and I'm finding it all a bit much - both financially and in terms of time to track all the presents down. I generally spend £5-£10 per a present, although it has been tending to be nearer the £10 mark to get them what they want.

It's not that I can't afford it in absolute terms (we're reasonably comfortably off) but the amount of money involved is now much greater then I ever anticipated, and I've realised I've spend more than double on her family than on dd hmm, and more than on DH.

AIBU to think about cutting back here? Has anyone got any thoughts, experience or good ideas? I don't want to stop presents completly, and I feel a bit mean even thinking like this, but it is now a lot of presents!



Bingtata Thu 11-Nov-10 22:08:34

Buy a joint present for the DCs like a board or wii game?

Haliborange Thu 11-Nov-10 22:08:36

How about getting her kids a box of art supplies to share? You ought to be able to put something decent together for less than £20.

KatyS36 Thu 11-Nov-10 22:10:54

I was maybe thinking about an idea like this, but the ages range from 9 years to 2 months, and its trying to think of something the whole family would like....

Please keep suggestions coming


cat64 Thu 11-Nov-10 22:13:30

Message withdrawn

nagynolonger Thu 11-Nov-10 22:14:32

Don't feel obliged to buy individual presents. I had 6 DC (grown up now), I would have been mortified if people had felt obliged to buy for all of them! A tin of chocs would have pleased me!

CarGirl Thu 11-Nov-10 22:15:27

Go back to just buying for the adults!

cat64 Thu 11-Nov-10 22:15:56

Message withdrawn

fatsatsuma Thu 11-Nov-10 22:16:35

This is interesting, because I'm having a similiar dilema with several of my friends and their children. I have started to do a joint family present eg. a game, but I do feel sorry for the younger DCs who are usually too young to enjoy a game aimed at the older ones. But it was getting really expensive and time-consuming.

deaddei Thu 11-Nov-10 22:16:44

Don't buy for anyone.
Much easier all round.

suwoo Thu 11-Nov-10 22:18:05

I have had to have 'the conversation' with people this year as we are skint.It is easier for me though as I have 3 DC and my friends/relations have one or two, so I can pitch it as being a benefit to them. It is super cringeworthy, but will make a massive difference to our budget this year.

LadyInPink Thu 11-Nov-10 22:18:34

Do what the other posters suggested and buy a joint present - the tiny ones won't even know they aren't getting a present. How many DC do you have? Maybe say to your friend that this is getting out of hand; chances are she will feel the same and want to stop altogether. You will have to do the same though with the other friends or it won't be fair. I now do not buy for any friends DC as it was getting way out of hand and I asked my friends not to buy. Some still do but i don't feel it's contractable so don't feel bad that i haven't.

Kids get so much these days at Xmas, they won't notice what they aren't getting, believe me.

Make a stand and i am sure it will be well received. Good luck smile

justonemorethen Thu 11-Nov-10 22:18:36

Time for the secret Santa?

Lots of the families I know that have loads of kids do this. The present is even wrapped in different paper (newspaper is good) and everyone likes to guess who got who.

ENormaSnob Thu 11-Nov-10 22:18:42

Just buy for adults.

The dcs probably get more than enough anyway.

everybodysgotone Thu 11-Nov-10 22:19:00

Agree send a tin of chocs / sweets / biscuits or something all kids enjoy like a baking set or disco ball or such like.

canyou Thu 11-Nov-10 22:19:45

My Mums friends used to give us selection boxes and pressie for Mum and her God child only

ASecretLemonadeDrinker Thu 11-Nov-10 22:21:50

£20 voucher for all 4.

DinahRod Thu 11-Nov-10 22:21:51

Maybe your friends think the same and would like to cut back but no-one dare broach it for fear of offending? I've just spoken to a friend about buying for each others children as her circs have changed and we've just had another baby & I would hate that she worried about/begrudged having to buy presents.

If you want to retain the gift-giving then a family present or just going back to the initial idea of a present for the friend - but even to do this would probably involve talking to your friends.

alfabetty Thu 11-Nov-10 22:22:55

I'd suggest no Xmas pressies 'as they get so much' and focus on birthdays instead, if you want to buy for the children.

Or say - instead of presents, why don't we all plan a nice day out together in the new year - spend the money (on your own entry to...) iceskating or a trip to the farm. Then you actually do something nice together rather than it being a big hassle involving too many pressies?

nbee84 Thu 11-Nov-10 22:28:43

I like alfabetty's idea of spending the money on having a day out all together grin

alicet Thu 11-Nov-10 22:28:44

I was getting into this situation with a group of girl friends even without kids. I just said lets stick to birthday pressies and leave it at Christmas. No problem at all - noone was offended or upset by it and we had £40 odd more at Christmas.

KatyS36 Thu 11-Nov-10 22:38:47

Hi guys,

Thanks so much, I had no idea if I was going to get a 'you're being mean' slating (fortunately I haven't), and its good to know others have come across this.

Next year its going to be the conversation, or a family present. I really like the idea of going back to adult presents only, and I'm quite happy to do birthdays.

I feel slighty awkward as we only have one dc (I would love another), but this isn't my reason for wanting to cut back - its as simple as 4 is a lot of presents.

If it was me though with lots of DC I think I would have raised the topic myself. I did send her a text asking for present ideas, and got a separate suggestion back for each child, but she could have seen the text as an indication I was actively wanting to buy for each child.

I'm glad noone thinks I'm being mean wink


Blatherskite Thu 11-Nov-10 22:48:34

Me and my friends are doing Secret Santa with a budget of £15 per family this year. That way everyone spends the same regardless of how many children there are.

DH and his friends give each other "The gift of Time" every year. DH doesn't 'spend' time looking for presents for them and they don't 'spend' time looking for presents for him. Probably works best for blokes though and I still end up shopping for their children hmm

Rachyandmeg Fri 12-Nov-10 03:12:08

Hi katy,

Why don't you do mix and match at boots that's 3 for 2 or I've seen in argos they have 2 for €15. This way you don't have the problem with age ranges as they have something for all ages.
It really gets more expensive every year and then you get more kids to buy for. If its not christmas its birthdays , always something. Don't get me wrong I take pleasure in buying for others and like to spoil people. But money wise its never ending xx

onmyfeet Fri 12-Nov-10 03:50:45

Some ideas.
*Big 12 inch candy cane for each person.
*1 video rental voucher for each family, in bowl with package of microwave, or a bag of popcorn.
*Bake some sweets, and make a decorative plate(buy Christmas themed plate & paper doilies at pound store, and one Christmas ornament like a snowman or candle to add height, add decorated cookies around it, wrap with cellophane and bow, for each family.
*Buy each family a Gingerbread House Kit to do together.

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