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DSC and DC? Who gets what proportion of the Christmas budget?

(64 Posts)
Wallywobbles Tue 10-Oct-17 07:11:45

So what’s fair for Christmas when you have DSC and DC? Who gets what proportion of the Christmas budget?

I’m afraid this is long, but I want to paint an accurate picture.

We have 4 DCs. 2 DDs are mine aged 11 & 13. They don’t have any contact with their Dad at all, so no presents. DH has 2 DCs, DSD 11 & DSS 9 and they live with us a little over 50/50. We do live in the EU but not UK.

The last 2 Christmases we have had the DSC part of Christmas Day, but either we have had to rush our Christmas to drop them off at their Mums or my DCs have had to wait until they turn up (usually 3 or 4 hours late) so that we can open presents etc and have our family Christmas together. This has felt really unfair on my DCs. It has also meant we can’t see my family at Christmas.

This year we won’t be having DSC until 29th Dec, but next year we will be having them for Christmas and not doing the change over on the day. Which feels like a real improvement. This year DH, myself and my DDs will be spending it with my family in the UK, next year we will spend it with DHs family and all the kids.

What is fair in terms of presents? For the last 3 Christmases I have spent roughly the same amount on everyone, and its been a bloody fortune. I do love a big Christmas, lovely stockings etc loads or presents. However, pretty much everything that we gave to DSS went to his mothers house and was never seen (or used) again. It’s his stuff so thats his (or his mums) choice, but does feel like a waste of money. This year things are quite a lot tighter and I just can’t afford to throw money down the drain.

My DSC’s mums family are very very generous, for e.g. DSD got a computer, a phone and a DS last Christmas when she was 10. It just feels unfair to my DC that I spend as much on my DSC as I do on them, but the DSC then go to Mums and get the full wack again. In effect by being generous to the DSC my kids get less which feels like a fundamental inequality.

This year we have started talking about Christmas and what everyone should expect. Eldest DD is very grateful for her presents, takes care of her stuff and is generous to a fault with giving presents too. (She has her quota of faults but not here). My lovely DSD has said she doesn’t care about the presents she just wants everyone to be happy. DSS does care about the number of presents; but like my youngest DD its more about the number of presents under the tree. Interestingly though both of these two have said they’d prefer the cash.

I have said, if you’re not here on 25th in the morning then there is no stocking. For terms of ease imaging our budget is 1500€ I think that if I spend 500€ on my kids then 250€ is probably a fair amount on the DSC. I think its highly unlikely that I’d stick to that but I think its probably fine to spend a bit less on DSC. For some reason cash really does feel wrong though it would definitely be cheaper and easier particularly in terms of wrapping presents which I dread. But I think the two wanting cash are not really imaging that is all they’d get (and they are probably right). But maybe it’s a good lesson to learn for them.

So for those of you with a limited budget how do you spend it?

FrancisCrawford Tue 10-Oct-17 07:22:31

What about your DSCs Dad? Presumably under this system he would be spending more on his DC and less on his DSC? Because this isn’t family money you are talking about spending in this unequal way, is it?

Inherently it seems very unfair to factor in what your DSCs extended family buy for them when deciding how much you are willing to spend on them.

It is perfectly normal for some families not to open presents until after Xmas dinner, so your DC waiting a few hours until the DSC arrive really isn’t a big deal, especially as they are not little children

If you are going to treat your DSC less favourably it is sending them a signal about their place in the family. It’s likely none of the DC believe in Santa, so that decision about stockings seems unfair and designed to benefit your DC.

What does your DH feel about all of this?

Ditsy1980 Tue 10-Oct-17 07:23:19

Always equally.
It is not your step-children's fault that your own children do not get presents from their other parent. You can't penalise them for getting presents from their Mum as well as you & DH.
Also, what does your DH think? I'd be unhappy if anyone suggested my children got less so theirs could get more. And why can't you get a stocking if you're not there on Christmas morning? Do you not recreate a second Christmas for them when they're with you? I'd be starting to feel pushed out if I was your dsc.

Buggeritimgettingup Tue 10-Oct-17 07:27:25

We just treat them all the same. But ours get absolutely nothing like that amount spent on them.

NotMyMonkees Tue 10-Oct-17 07:28:55

But if you spend the same on all children, effectively they are being treated differently because noone else is going to be buying e trashing for your dc? This year, since your emotional seeing them Christmas day I'd say it's fine, your kids will open their presents Christmas day I assume (as will dsc at their mums) and then on the 29th your dsc will get bonus presents, which yours won't? So I can't see how it could come across as your dsc missing out, even if you spend less overall on them?

Wallywobbles Tue 10-Oct-17 07:29:44

All Christmas spending is from my money. We do have family money but Christmas is entirely my spend as DH traditionally did one present each. DH does this still and does my presents.

And it’s not waiting til after lunch it’s waiting til 8 or 9 at night for Christmas Day to start.

NotMyMonkees Tue 10-Oct-17 07:30:23

Buying extra for your dc that should say! And not seeing them Christmas day... Too early for me 😁

Wallywobbles Tue 10-Oct-17 07:31:08

Notmymonkeys that’s how I feel about it.

calamityjam Tue 10-Oct-17 07:32:54

I have a son with a different dad and my partner has a daughter with a different mum. We then have 3 together. The children with other parents get about half of what we spend on the others,as they have another parent to make up the other half. This way all 5 get equal amounts spent on them.

Rainybo Tue 10-Oct-17 07:36:08

I think you’re feeling more pissed off at compensating for your DH than at what your all your combined children get.

You need to decide this together.

Cabininthewoods69 Tue 10-Oct-17 07:37:55

Agreed with you. But i would make a big effort for the 29th to make it another xmas day with family time and a big meal all together. Make there fav pud and biscuits.

MySecretThread Tue 10-Oct-17 07:41:18

How is your DHs relationship with his ex. Can they discuss this at all or is it to acrimonious.

Could you buy 'house' presents. Ie a fancy gaming system for everyone - it will be at your house so your kids will benefit more

OddBoots Tue 10-Oct-17 07:45:22

If it is your personal money being spent not family money I can see why you'd really be questioning it, it sounds like you have been very generous.
Could you put a proposal to your dh 'I want to spend 500€ each on my girls and I am happy to spend 250€ each on your DC, are you happy with those figures or do you want to add 500€ to the pot to spend the same on each?'

Somerville Tue 10-Oct-17 07:46:15

Just get an equal number of presents. Even teenagers don't know exactly what everything cost, to tot it all up.

Stop spending so much about Christmas. You think you like it but it's clearly a source of stress and resentment.

Just go simpler for everyone. Then save some money to buy your kids anything they need that your DSC got from their mum, such as a computer or phone, a bit later in the year.

Say no to giving cash.

Wallywobbles Tue 10-Oct-17 07:46:51

Rainybo really not pissed off with DH at all. He certainly doesn’t have the cash to throw it away though. And I have imposed my big Christmas on him.

We have decided that something needs to change because last years Christmas has rubbed me up the wrong way and upset my DC.

So before having our definitive chat with everyone I wanted to hear what others do to find a solution that fits our family.

Somerville Tue 10-Oct-17 07:50:17

Don't do a big family chat to spell it out that you're buying less for DSC. say that you've decided you need to keep it simpler and less expensivele at Christmas in future, and then move the conversation swiftly on to what to do on the 29th to celebrate with DSC.

Next year, when they'll all be opening presents together on xmas day, they should have the same amount of items to open. For sure.

Wallywobbles Tue 10-Oct-17 07:50:37

Somer I’m sure your point is valid. I suspect that there is some psychological thing going on with me and I’ve created my own monster.

Eolian Tue 10-Oct-17 08:01:50

I think you're overthinking it and I also think that discussing it as a family to see what everyone 'expects' in the way of presents is a bit weird, calculating and encourages entitlement, competitiveness and envy. You should buy presents equally, according to what you can afford, not based on what people will get from other relatives. I don't really even pay much attention to whether my 2 dc get the same amount spent on them - it's about the presents and whether they will like them, not the amount of money imo.

Apologies if that sounds harsh. I love Christmas, but I can't believe all the angst that gets created around it. They are presents and should be a nice little surprise, not a huge weight of expectation and drama.

Nannyplumssillyoldelf Tue 10-Oct-17 08:20:56

I can remember Christmas one year when I was little, going to my Dads and Step Mum on boxing day. I was given a talking teddy bear as my only present which I was happy with. My Step Sister then took me into the spare room and showed me the piles and piles and piles of presents she had got the day before. I can still feel the injustice of it niggling. Oh yes I'd had presents at my Mums the day before but seeing as my Dad left her all the debts and refused to pay maintenance all I had was a colouring book and some bubble bath. Be careful at treating them differently. I understand your reasoning for it but I wouldn't do it.

ChevalierTialys Tue 10-Oct-17 08:22:28

Logically I would say it's fine to spend less on the DSC because they're getting presents from their Mum and other family but i know in actuality, i would never do that with my DSD.

In fact, she gets more spent on her than my DS, although that's age-related.

What does DH think? It is possible to discuss with the mother?

Adviceplease360 Tue 10-Oct-17 08:30:01

Seems very unkind. They should all get the same, how much they get from their mothers side is irrelevant. Even if the money comes from your personal money, they are your husband's kids.

lalaloopyhead Tue 10-Oct-17 08:33:34

I can see how it could perhaps make the DSC feel bad if they get less presents, having said that you know them better than we do (obv!) and how they may react.

This year it maybe won't be much of an issue anyway if you are not spending Christmas together, and presents won't be easily compared. Though next year when you are all together I don't think that you can really spend significantly less on the dsc just because they get other gifts.

I have 3 dc, 2 of which are from previous relationship - they get lots of presents from their Dads side of the family and too be honest I don't think it has occurred to any of us to think this an issue for my younger dd. She certainly has never mentioned it and I am not sure even really registered it, though she is only 10.

I know it is a slightly different situation but if my DH suggested we spend less on my dd's to even it out I would think that he was mad.

Wallywobbles Tue 10-Oct-17 08:53:10

I think a lot of people feel that the DSC are getting less. In reality so far they get double not less. In no scenario will they be getting less overall than my DC. They come to us and say to DC we got all this as well as what you got.

Proportionally if I spend less on them they still get 100% from their mum. So for the last 2 Christmases they got twice as much and definitely shared that info.

2014newme Tue 10-Oct-17 09:01:43

Why on earth would you make your children wait till 8pm on Xmas day to open their presents just because stepchildren aren't there! Have your normal Christmas day, get up, open presents, have fun all day. Stepkids join in when they get there. Why do you put xmas on hold all day its mad. If they weren't vomit all on Xmas day would nobody be able to open presents till the day they arrived? This problem is if your own making and us easy to resolve.

2014newme Tue 10-Oct-17 09:02:07

Not vomit, if they weren't there

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