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AIBU?

Christmas present buying for other’s children

20 replies

Amzy22 · 18/09/2022 10:32

We have one DD. We usually exchange Xmas pressies just with the kids of our close friends and family (not adults). Historically, we’ve always given a decent (but not over the top) present to the kiddies for birthdays and Christmas. We try to spend a similar amount on each kid to what they spend on our DD.

Money is increasingly tight this year, and it’s just occurred to me that maybe…just maybe, it’s acceptable to spend a little less per kid on the families with two kids than they tend to spend on my one DD? I’m not talking half; say, usual cost is around £15 each kid and I might spend £20 on the two kids total.

AIBU to think this is ok and won’t look stingy?!!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

37 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
5%
You are NOT being unreasonable
95%
NuffSaidSam · 18/09/2022 10:38

I think it's a very odd approach to match the value of the gifts to what people spend on your DD. It's not ready in the spirit is it? Plus, it means children with wealthier parents get better presents, is that fair? Why would you do that to a child?

Set a budget you can afford and buy all the children a present within that budget. Don't play favourites based on how much money their parents have!

Amzy22 · 18/09/2022 10:46

Thanks that’s an interesting take on it. We probably do get too caught up in the social etiquette of the spending element but you’re right that’s not really in the spirit nor in-line with our own feeling around spending generally. I hadn’t thought about the fact that those parents who spend more then get ‘better’ (or certainly more expensive!) presents for their kids in return so I’ll mull that one over too…

OP posts:
DorotheaHomeAlone · 18/09/2022 10:50

I’m not keen on this approach but I also don’t match spending. That makes it about the adults not the kids in my mind. I have a rough figure that I’m happy to spend on kids we’re close to and a different figure for acquaintance kids (ie all class party birthday presents) and I stick to that regardless of what we get in return.

SBAM · 18/09/2022 10:53

I don’t buy for many children, but I budget for Christmas on an equal basis eg. for our siblings and their partners the budget is £30 per person. I’m not super strict with a £ here or there, but they’re all equally important to us so I spend equally.
Right now there’s only one family child that’s not mine, but I expect that to change in the next few years, and every year we’ll aim to buy a present of similar value for each child because we love them equally so I’m sharing the resource I have evenly between them.

Shinyandnew1 · 18/09/2022 11:00

Reducing costs in theory is a good idea, but unless you get 3/2 deals, then I’ve always found buying something decent for £10 quite hard.

Magnanimouse · 18/09/2022 11:05

It doesn't really matter what it costs, it just matters that it is something that they would actually want. It may take a bit more time round the shops for you to spot something that's right for them and costs £10 not £15, but ultimately, they won't know how much it costs. Black Friday and/or a trip to an outlet centre if you've one nearby?

purpledagger · 18/09/2022 11:10

If you are thinking about this, it's a sign that maybe you should be knocking the gift giving on the head. I'm sure your friends will be thinking the same.

Amzy22 · 18/09/2022 12:23

Thanks, really interesting to hear different views on gift giving! I quite like giving gifts, but am struggling with seeing such a huge chunk of money going on Christmas when our finances are so tight. It’s not helped by my DD’s birthday being a few days after Xmas (bad timing, Mummy!!) so the last few years we seem to haemorrhage money in December, despite keeping things low key.

With my very closest friends with kids, we have agreements to keep it small and simple so less of an issue. The two families we buy for with 2 kids we are less close to (one is in laws we see a few times a year and other is a newer but lovely friend I’ve made from my NCT group) so can’t have as frank a conversation. I think it’s the in law one I really resent spending so much on; I end up spending more on their kids than I do on my closest friend’s kids and we barely see them. I think maybe I need to forgo social worries and just do a small token gift regardless of the more expensive pressies they do for my DD.

OP posts:
Oldbird69 · 18/09/2022 12:32

As the patent of an only child, I understand what you mean OP. When money is tight I have been dismayed when other parents have suggested buying for each other's children instead of adults when they have 2 or 3. Joint birthday parties were another time that was expensive, having to buy 2 presents at a time.

DorotheaHomeAlone · 18/09/2022 12:41

The fact that these are nieces or nephews makes this even stranger to me. I buy for my nephews because I love them and to show that they are important to me. I wouldn’t spend less on one set because they have siblings. It’s not a per family thing. Each child is an individual. I might lower my overall spend per head if necessary but not less on one child than another.

1224boom · 18/09/2022 12:49

Sounds like it's time to stop Some of the presents - kids get far too much and most of it ends up not used. Maybe suggest a meet up at the pub for a meal instead?

SarahWoodruff · 18/09/2022 12:50

Ultimately your in-laws aren't going to be comparing presents with your friend unless they are very nosey and/or strange. Still less would it be reasonable for them to get agitated because their children's presents cost £5 less. It's entirely reasonable to cut back a bit this year; most people will. If they choose to buy something more expensive for your child, that's a matter for them. I think you should allocate your budget in the way you think is fair. There's more than one reasonable view of what is fair in this scenario.

stayathomer · 18/09/2022 12:56

We always just keep an eye out for reductions or buy eg jigsaws and craft sets or colouring stuff and put a pack of sweets with them. Forget about cost, the kids won’t notice it so there’s no point in spending huge amounts!

AlwaysFoldingWashing · 18/09/2022 13:14

I'm suggesting to my friends who have kids that we don't buy for each other this year but have a soft play session together sometime around Xmas instead. Maybe this would work for you too?

honeylulu · 18/09/2022 13:24

I think that's fine or it might be time to suggest giving everyone the option of voting whether to stop or continue wish the gift exchanges. You might find most might be relieved!

When I and my friends/cousins etc started having kids it seemed sweet and a novelty to buy them presents at Christmas. But as time went on there were more and more kids of various ages and as life got busier we saw less and less of them. It started to seem like a chore, especially as often the gift had to be posted, and some of the mums have up work and lost an income.

I suggested stopping depending on what others thought. The consensus was to stop birthdays (unless actually attending a party) but carry on with Christmas. 2 or 3 years later one of the others suggested stopping altogether and everyone agreed it felt like a good time.

RainbowPhilosophy · 18/09/2022 13:37

You could join the Mumsnet Christmas bargain thread and potentially find them a gift that is reduced because it's on offer but that has the same value as what you'd usually buy, if that makes sense. But I don't think reducing what you spend is an issue either.

Stompythedinosaur · 18/09/2022 13:40

Spend what you want to (and can afford to) spend. Trying to match gift prices is not the point of gift giving.

Nothing wrong with reducing costs or suggesting stopping gifts this year.

I find the Argos 2 for £15 sale quite good for other people's kids.

1AngelicFruitCake · 18/09/2022 13:49

I get it OP. It’s depressing how much I’m spending on other children when I rarely spend on myself. I’ve tried to broach it but they were offended!

Mommabear20 · 18/09/2022 16:05

We have said that starting next year, any families with multiple kids, will receive a joint gift for all the children eg a board game, puzzle etc. and that we encourage people to do the same for ours as costs are rising for everyone and none of the children actually need anything or really remember individual gifts amounts the mass of them on the day. Everyone we've suggested this too has been very keen and agreed it's a good way of doing it.

petmad · 04/12/2022 22:30

Presents Christmas or Birthdays set an amount you can afford per child even if that family is well off stick to youre guns and let them know this is what im spending on said child no more no less if they cant agree with you tuff its not a competititon and the parents and children shouldnt feel entitled alternatively vouchers or cash for what you are going to spend a cop out i know but they can buy whatever they want and if they spend it on shit its not youre fault. once its gone its gone.

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