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To think people should only spend what they can afford at christmas ?

(82 Posts)
charlieincharge Sat 04-Dec-10 21:19:49

Have been really suprised this Christmas at how many people who normally seem sensible and intelligent are buying things for their kids that they just can't afford (by their own admission).

Where does this insecurity come from that they kids must have what their friends have? Is this the way it is now ?

I know several people who are really struggling financially who are spending a ridiculous amount on gifts. Some of them started shopping ages ago to save money and are now adding more and more stuff as they hear what others are getting and christmas lists get written.

Most people I know only have little ones and the eldest are around 7 - what about when all toddler siblings grow up ?

Am I just naive or is more marked this year in the midst of the recession than ever ?

Am not normally scrooge-like at all and never actually thought of myself as good with money but am shocked that people who aren't sure if they will have a job after xmas will buy £2-300 christmas presents for kids under 7. And am wearing my judgey pants on with no shame.

panettoinydog Sat 04-Dec-10 21:23:01

Of scourse they should. But there is a lot of pressure put on us from every which side. Companies spend millions on advertising because it works, goddammit.

HeathcliffMoorland Sat 04-Dec-10 21:23:12


SheWillBeLoved Sat 04-Dec-10 21:23:20

YANBU. Bloody ridiculous. Just be glad you won't be receiving their credit card bills/bank statements after Christmas!

pozzled Sat 04-Dec-10 21:24:57

YANBU. Nothing wrong with shopping well in advance, but I don't understand why people feel the need to spend more than they can afford. Especially for little ones.

DD will be getting her main present from e-bay and her stocking fillers from somewhere like Asda or Poundland (or charity shops) at least until she's old enough to complain.

spidookly Sat 04-Dec-10 21:26:43


I'm nearer the £2 end of your range.

I wouldn't buy a £300 present for anyone.

sunshineriver Sat 04-Dec-10 21:27:17


If I can't get everyone's presents for £100, I will be miffed! DS has cost me £50 and I will be skipping off to Boots to get some little bits for my family in the 3 for 2 range

IsItMeOr Sat 04-Dec-10 21:28:26

YANBU. I don't really understand it.

LBsmumblingxmascarols Sat 04-Dec-10 21:29:26

Judgey pants indeed, certainly the sensible thing would be to spend only what you can afford. The reality is that parents often want to spoil their children at Christmas.

Now to put my judgey pants on, this thread could have only been written by someone with enough money to not have to worry about financial constraints - lucky you

LBsmumblingxmascarols Sat 04-Dec-10 21:30:17

Sorry so YABU - not really your concern how poor people spend their money

spongecakelover Sat 04-Dec-10 21:32:03

2-300?? <splutters> YANBU. Ebay all the way for me this year.

herbietea Sat 04-Dec-10 21:35:12

Message withdrawn

charlieincharge Sat 04-Dec-10 21:36:28

Oh God I wish I had enough money not to worry!!! Have spent reward vouchers for xmas presents. Token presents for DH & I.

But hopefully a really lovely Christmas as we finally do not have DH's redundancy hanging over us.

Did sound snotty though I know but I do genuinely worry about where it will end.

Its the age that suprises me.

MadamDeathstare Sat 04-Dec-10 21:39:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

charlieincharge Sat 04-Dec-10 21:40:33

LBSmumbling - am not talking about poor people (however its defined). You don't have to be poor for £200 to be alot of money once you have kids. And its not really about how people spend their money in particular but I take your point.

Its more about the peer pressure element starting so early and fears that children who already will have a good pile of presents won't have 'enough'.

pagwatch Sat 04-Dec-10 21:40:53

Oh but people are not so straight forward are they ?

I was brought up to leave within my means and always did so - still have no credit cards etc. But people who have struggled and said no to their children all year can get tempted to try and make it magical. Living life all year feeling like you have your nose pressed against the window whilst others just relax, must be hard.
It is hard. I remember. But I never had to do it with children.

Of course you are right. But we are all frail

3beagles Sat 04-Dec-10 21:42:39


3beagles Sat 04-Dec-10 21:43:19

Xmas is the same time evry year. Not a suprise. Budget for what you can spend.

charlieincharge Sat 04-Dec-10 21:44:24

And what prompted me to type was actually DH asking me if we had enough presents for the DC's after having several conversations with people who said they were feeling sick this year about the amount of money they'd spent.

Its the idea of them having 'enough'. What is 'enough' now ?

charlieincharge Sat 04-Dec-10 21:49:32

Yeah you're right Pagwatch - its as old as the hills but the amounts seem so much greater at an age when the kids aren't even aware.

Am quite cantankerous tonight though.

pagwatch Sat 04-Dec-10 21:53:40

Nah, I do agree.
There are threads where people go out to buy more so that a 3 year old will have the same amount spent on them as the 5 year old. Just does not make sense I know, but parents are a bit barking.

SantasENormaSnob Sat 04-Dec-10 21:57:44


but that is easy for me to say as we have never been on the breadline.

LynetteScavo Sat 04-Dec-10 22:02:57

SIL lives on a council estate in the NE.

Families there (IMO) spend extraordinary percentage of their income on Christmas presents for their kids. It's as if buying a load of stuff to make one day a year special makes up for not having masses the rest of the year.

I think the keeping up with the Jones thing with presents is sad, but I remember going back to school after Christmas, and being really nervous of people asking what I'd got for Christmas because I didn't get expensive presents. (It wasn't because my parents couldn't afford to buy me more, they chose not to). I can see the temptation in wanting to give your child something as good as Billy down the road.

Bunbaker Sat 04-Dec-10 22:03:36

I don't care what other people spend on their children. Yet I simply don't understand this getting into debt over Christmas. I guess that I am lucky that the children DD mixes with don't get given ridiculously expensive presents anyway. DD's Christmas list this year doesn't have anything that costs over £30 on it. If we genuinely couldn't afford something she really wnats I would just tell her - she is 10 BTW.

My parents were honest with us about what they couldn't afford, but we never felt hard done by.

charlieincharge Sat 04-Dec-10 22:03:43

God - hadn't really thought about this being a breadline rant so was obviously more ranty than clear.

I actually understand it more if really struggle all year. Who wouldn't want to see their kids lit up at whatever cost.

Was a far more embarrassingly middle class rant I'm afraid.

Was wondering what it will be like in years to come if people will spend this much just to make sure their kids have all the 'must haves' even when they are cancelling pension payments & suspending mortgages etc.

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