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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.

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

NorksAreMessy Mon 19-Nov-12 18:47:20

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

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!

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.

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

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!)


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.

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.....

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.

pumpkinsweetie Sat 17-Nov-12 10:17:40

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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

Ghostsgowoooh Fri 16-Nov-12 10:56:59

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.

QueenofWhatever Thu 08-Nov-12 19:44:08

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.

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.


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.

BeaWheesht Thu 08-Nov-12 18:21:26

Harrietspy - prep nnd landing is on amazon - used but good condition

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.

wheredidiputit Thu 08-Nov-12 17:23:01

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.

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.

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.

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.

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