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I never got Christmas presents in my childhood. Did you?

(108 Posts)
ssaw2012 Tue 04-Dec-12 13:19:51

I have just read "Kids' presents", which makes me feel quite guilty as we cannot afford expensive presents. We have two children and if we spend £30.00 in total, that would be perfect. They do get toys throughout the year so they do not grow without toys and I hope they can understand it. One problem is that they often ask for useless toys. They tell us how much they want something and then after a few days the toy is forgotten.
I grew up without hardly any toys. We had a Christmas tree but never presents. I do remember getting a present for my birthday perhaps once or twice. There were three of us and our parents did not earn much. Never theless, I did not ask for presents. I was very understanding at that time. It is now that I think that they could have actually prepared something, even a tiny one.

ssaw2012 Thu 06-Dec-12 12:25:20

Thanks Belina. I really like it. Looks so simple.

BelinaTheChicken Wed 05-Dec-12 23:14:19

OP if your boys love bath bombs you can make them pretty cheaply

Not as good as lush, but still good

butterfingerz Wed 05-Dec-12 17:08:12

We were poor but always had Christmas presents, even when my dad was made redundant. They weren't expensive, they seemed to go for quantity over quality! Which I guess is what small kids want. My mum got us involved in Christmas cooking, mince pies, puddings and cakes. My dad was a perfectionist when it came to decorating the house in lots of foil garlands and tinsel and strings of Xmas cards. And lots of nice but probably cheap food. Yes, poor but happy!

BeaWheesht Wed 05-Dec-12 14:54:24

We were all overrun with presents as Christmas and my kids are the same although i spend less because I trawl car boots and second hand sites.

I'm really shocked how many people got nothing - afaik all of my friends at school got stuff. One friend in particular got a present every day in December - not a wee thing either - I remember her getting computer games and designer clothes and jewellery for her 'advent calndar'

SantasLittleHo Wed 05-Dec-12 13:23:04

We got lots of presents when my dad was alive, minimum when Mum was single and working 4 jobs, the first christmas with my alkie step dad was amazing. We'd never seen so many presents. The years after were very lean. One year we got no presents, no tree, no dinner... just the 4 of us sat huddled watching christmas tv while our parents recovered from a hangover. The year after I got a weekend job just so I could buy my siblings a gift to open. They thought they'd been bad. sad

takataka Wed 05-Dec-12 13:16:13

just got some great stuff from our local pound shops ssaw; Moshi Monster/ spiderman/ hello kitty bubble baths...

Janeatthebarre Wed 05-Dec-12 11:46:30

We always got presents at Christmas. A lot of them were second hand things bought at sales of work eg old annuals or a bike that my parents resprayed and looked like new - it didn't matter to us, we were really excited that Santa had remembered to come. Once, when I was very small my parents were totally broke and my mum just knitted me a jumper with a reindeer on the front and she said I was absolutely thrilled. We did get new stuff as well but this is my first Christmas without my father who died during the year, and it is the thought of him scouring sales of works for books and Bunty annuals that he knew we'd like, or painting an old bike himself so we would think Santa had bought us a new one, that really brings tears to my eyes.

ssaw2012 Wed 05-Dec-12 11:17:41

Last night I talked to my older DS regarding presents. We came to an agreement that I buy a few presents for him and for his brother instead of one expensive.
1. Bubble bath and I think I might go for Matey instead of Lush bubble bombs. I think I have seen them in Tesco. 2. Kinder Surprise Christmas edition. 3. stationary. 4. other little things I am planning to find in the city centre.

Last night I also checked Past Times website for toys. I do remember they were sell interesting stuff. I was surprised by the high prices. Many toys were overpriced. I would not find John Lewis cheap for buying toys but similar toys at Past Times had a double price. It is a bit ridiculous.

BookieMonster Wed 05-Dec-12 11:09:48

I just remember Christmas as an utterly anxious time. My parents were useless with money and the calls from debt collectors would be bad. They used to make me deal with them. It was worse in January and February, mind.
I completely overcompensate with my DC.

rotavirusrita Wed 05-Dec-12 11:06:47

"pony magazines"

rotavirusrita Wed 05-Dec-12 11:06:32

such a sad thread.

we went from being "well off" to not having any money when my dad left to go abroad and our house was repossessed. I was about 11 and I remember mum being down to literally her last £10 note, and having to "be vegetarian" for a few yrs as beans were cheaper then meat. Thing is though I never remeber not getting presents at christmas or it being a miserable time of year. I know she never drank, smoked, or had any kind of social life for a long while but that didnt seem to matter to her. We were always surrounded with relatives and she managed to get second hand or "hand me down" presents from relatives. I remember my sister and I getting a big pile of pont magazines that had been our cousins.... we thought they were amazing. My mum has been a bit flakey in other respects in recent yrs ( another man on the scene you see) but I am greatful for what she did for us then.

I also get very guilty about spending money.... I menu plan and get fruit and veg cheap from the market.... even though we probably could be more extravagant. I also still get anxiety attacks when I go into a bank or check how much money is in my account!

Theicingontop Wed 05-Dec-12 10:48:30

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one with issues surrounding buying myself things. I struggle with buying myself conditioner sometimes blush I just feel so guilty.

It's weird isn't it, that it doesn't go the opposite way? When you don't have things as a child you'd expect that when you have money, you'd go to town. But nope.

Coralanne Wed 05-Dec-12 10:37:00

This thread is a bit of an eye opener to me. Even though I am a relatively young Grandma I thought everyone born after my generation always got loads of Christmas and birthday gifts.

Coralanne Wed 05-Dec-12 10:34:33

Theicingontop. I was like that with socks. Only had 2 pair and had to wash them out every night,

When my DD was at school she had about 40 pair of socks. Same as DS.

Actually I have also bought 2 five packs (expensive) of socks to put in DD's Christmas parcel.blush

Hippymama Wed 05-Dec-12 10:01:10

I've read this thread with a huge lump in my throat. Most of you would be around the same age as me or younger and it's made me sad to think that you didn't get presents at Christmas sad

We never had much money growing up but we always had presents and new clothes at Christmas. I feel very lucky having read this thread.

We don't have a lot of money this year and i wasn't looking forward to Christmas because of it, but this thread has given me a kick up the arse. It's not about how much you spend, it's about making happy memories and we can do that without spending a lot smile

I hope we all have a fantastic Christmas x

Badvocsanta Wed 05-Dec-12 07:49:21

Making decorations, baking, going to carol concerts and seeing the lights turned's all very cheap really.
Will be making decorations and mince pies and cakes with my two after they break up from school smile
We went to a national trust property at the weekend to see the Xmas decs...they had a brass band playing carols, giving out mulled wine. Was lovely smile

exoticfruits Wed 05-Dec-12 06:55:31

It is a terribly sad thread. Christmas was a magical time, and that was much more important than the present. You can do the magic for very little and it was spending time as a family.

Allalonenow Wed 05-Dec-12 06:39:54

We were quite poor when I was a small child, but I did get presents, often home made, like a doll's cot made out of a crate. Mum was a wonderful seamstress, so the cot had beautiful quilted bedding. Other years my doll would get new clothes Mum had made. There was sometimes a board game, very occasionally a book, a well off aunt always sent a selection box.

But I remember it as being happy, the excitement of a sock with a tangerine and some marbles, seeing the tree on Christmas morning. I feel so sorry for those here who missed out on delight in their childhood.

I think one lives out the echos of your childhood throughout the rest of your life, as the stories here show, so when I hit hard times as an adult, I could still make sure Christmas was fun for my son with simple home made treats.

I'm not especially looking forward to Christmas this year, as it will be my first alone for many years, but I'm hoping that simple treats will see me through, I'm stock piling Maltesers!

Morloth Wed 05-Dec-12 04:54:22

Another toilet roll hoarder here, I buy the packs of 36 when they are on sale everytime so that I have heaps and heaps in the cupboard. I think of all the shit things (hehe see what I did there) about being poor that actually came towards the top of the list.

We also got some Christmas presents, not big, not flash but there was always something and we always had the whole family (and a few waifs and strays) and THAT is what I remember from my childhood Christmasses.

Now as the owner of the biggest house I end up with everyone at my house, which I love and I think the boys enjoy having everyone around as well. I do love buying them great presents but the best bit is opening those presents with family. (I actually have a stash of random pressies in case we have unexpected extras at Christmas so that everyone gets something to open).

I had a happy childhood even though it was poor, as far as I can see my boys are having a very similarly happy childhood without the poor bit.

Ponyinthepool Wed 05-Dec-12 03:18:17

We got presents but it's that's not the thing I remember most about my childhood Christmasses. My mum loved Christmas more than anyone I've ever met and would have it in mind all year round, keeping an eye out for little gifts to go in the crackers we'd make, taking us to a forest to collect pine cones to make wreaths and decorations, making the cake and the pudding in June (and feeding them with booze for the next 6 months) etc etc.

Almost everything we had at Christmastime was homemade and what I remember most is how much fun we had together making all those things, they are my happiest memories.

I've always felt very lucky to have had that, and all the more so now reading some of these sad stories. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas this year. In the long run it's the love and care that goes into Christmas that's memorable, not the presents.

BeaLola Tue 04-Dec-12 23:15:15

I have cried reading some of these posts & others have made me laugh out loud.

My parents were not well off but were "older parents" who came from large families & never had anything new themselves. I cannot think of a birthday or a christmas that wasn't made special. We always had warmth, food and loving arms to hug us and their time. We didn't get tons of presents & often gifts were 2nd hand eg bike. I think both my brother & I really appreciate how much they have done for us as we have got older & understood more about life, finances , work etc.

Christmas was magical & still is. We adopted a little one earlier this year & are so looking forward to our first Christmas together - my Dad cannot wait either for his first as Grandpa !

My DS has got quite a few gifts for Christmas ............. the most fun I have had so far though is buying nostalgic or daft items that I hope he will like for his stocking eg whirly santa snowglobe, popping candy, goldcoins, superman slipper boots, jumping beans, slinky, glow stars for ceiling. What I remember so far for this first Christmas is his little face when he opened his first ever advent calendar or the look on his face when he watches the PNP Father Christmas Video & sees the book with his name on it - priceless . I'm sure there were be tons more memories to come ............ i hope when he is grown up & is asked about Christmas he has lots of great memories that make him smile & laugh too.

ssaw2012 Tue 04-Dec-12 22:51:58

Thank you everyone for the nice wishes. I also wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and lots of happy days with your loved ones.

I must admit that some of the post have too made me feel very sad. While my parents did not think of giving us presents they would never eat a better piece of food. I can not imagine my mum eating a chocolate biscuit and giving us a plain one. We were not completely poor but their salaries was just enough to sustain for the family of five. Looking back, I still think they could have saved some money to make us presents at least once a year but they did not think it was important. I knew other children had birthday presents and Christmas presents (not everyone though) but I did not dare to ask for one. These days my mother spends lots of times with my sister's family. She does make presents for her grand children. I think she has learnt it from my sister. It is actually nice to see this change in my mum. Only about two years ago she mentioned about the "amount" of our children's toys. I did, however, reminded her about the toys we did not have. So, I am actually very pleased that she has finally understood why/that children need toys.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 04-Dec-12 22:47:42

I always got presents but I knew not to ask for much as my mum couldn't afford it - was always amazed by kids at school who got a bike and a computer and whatever the craze toy was.
Funnily enough my children always struggle to think of much they want even though we could notionally afford to buy it.
I really enjoy creating little traditions for them though (I lost my mum relatively young and didn't really do Christmas for a long time) and making a pretty tree, which is what I really loved about Christmas when I was a child.

suebfg Tue 04-Dec-12 22:46:05

Yes, bad parenting isn't about wealth or lack of it.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 04-Dec-12 22:38:51

DD1 was born in a posh private hospital two days before Christmas and we were there for a week. The nursery nurses were looking after twins who'd been very premature and poorly but were ready to go home after having been there for months - the nurses hadn't seen or heard from the (obviously very wealthy) parents for weeks sad

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