Do you disagree on Christmas spending for the kids?

Discussion in 'Community' started by emw, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    Not to be too "bah humbug?" on Christmas eve - that's not what this is about, but while reading about the dad selling his kids toys on eBay here, it got me thinking about something else near and dear to my heart. Do you and your spouse/significant other disagree on how many gifts or how much should be spent on the kids at Christmas?

    In general, my wife and I tend to be on a fairly common train of thought - but in this instance we are a little more of opposite bents. As a child, my parents didn't make tons of money, but we generally got a couple of nice gifts at Christmas, as well as the requisite number of clothes and other miscellany. But in general, we didn't get a lot. And as far as I'm concerned, it worked out okay. I don't find that I am too materialistic (heck, I'm the only one on the planet without an iPod right now), not do I feel that my childhood sucked because I was screwed on presents. So naturally, I tend to think we should lay off the gifts for the kids (they are 4 and 1), getting them a couple of nice things, as well as some books and such, but not going to far out with things.

    My wife, while not so much spending a lot of money (everything is bought on sale, etc.), tends to want to get many gifts. A lot of them are educational, I suppose (books, etc.), but I just think it gets to be too much for kids that are so young (my 1 year old son will just as likely play with the wrapping paper as the gift).

    So my question is - does anyone else have this issue, and if so, how do you deal with it?

    Does anyone have a "phase-out" plan where old toys get donated to charity? If so, which ones have you found to be the best?

    Merry Christmas!
  2. Roger1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2002
    I don't mind spending money on the kids at Christmas. We spent about $200 each on toys etc. for the kids, then another $200 each to get them each a loft bunk bed for their bedrooms. It's a little high, but half was for furniture for their rooms. We usually only spend about $20 on birthdays, and an occasional toy throughout the year. That's about it.
    I haven't given it much thought, but phase out won't start until their older. Heck, my parents still buy me presents. But both my parents, and my in-laws started the phase-out once grand kids started showing up (when we were all in our mid twenties).
  3. applekid macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    Well, from my childhood experiences, I got jealous when other kids got tons of presents that are probably well over $300 in value. It sounds like parents just splurge for their children blowing hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on them.

    I could talk about what happens in the teenage years, but let me just say, it's not surprising for teens to be getting near $1,000 in cash/gifts.

    Anyways, my parents only spent up to $100 on gifts when I was younger. My parents are pretty stingy. A couple of $50 video games was often what I asked for and got. But, I sorta got jealous when I hear my friends and other people at school getting just hundreds upon hundreds of dollars worth of stuff. Lucky for me, my birthday is June 24, so my gifts come every six months :p

    Nowadays, my parents have no trouble spending money for getting a computer or iPod or other electronic for a gift on either Christmas or birthday, but that doesn't happen often at all. However, don't get the wrong impression. It's not like my parents don't use "my" computer or digital camera. Luckily the iPod is all mine :) And I had to promise my parents not to ask for a new computer for every five years. Fair enough for me though.

    For me, I find that as I age, I am really not into gifts. Last years, I think I went deprived without a gift for my birthday or Christmas because I never asked for anything. There wasn't anything I wanted. My relatives might send some money, but it goes straight to the bank. But, I asked for nothing because the things I want aren't realistically obtainable. For example, I want something like a video game console, a computer game, a PowerMac, etc. But, my parents will not spend the money, and I am pretty much ban from buying new video games. It also doesn't help money has been getting really tight for us. :(

    This year, I almost went deprived for Christmas, but my parents said I could get a few small things this year. So, I purchased some iTunes gift cards ( is having a 5 for 4 deal!), an iTrip, and Rush in Rio DVD. But, I've lost that whole feeling of excitement and just being wowed by my gifts. I think I lost my materialistic-ness...

    My parents let me keep my old toys. They have too much sentimental value, I just can't let them go. So, no "phase-out" plan at this house :)

    I think what you're doing currently is fine. They're too young for you to just splurge on them. Once they start asking for things, you should talk to your wife about what to do. You should set some sort of budget and work things out that way.
  4. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Your not alone, I don't have an iPod either. Its called prioritizing.

    I have no idea of the amount that my parents spent on my brother & I. It was back in the 50's and early 60's. We usually got 2 nice gifts, clothing, an miscellaneous items. Definitely not spoiled.

    It's best not to get children too many, they can only play with one at a time. When you mentioned your one year old interested in wrapping paper. It reminded me of the story that our Pastor told last Sunday. The one year old will learn from his older sibling. The wonder of how a child views Christmas and the gifts.

    When you want to phase out some gifts. I'm sure that a homeless shelter for families would be very appreciative.

    I don't have any children. In my case it's my wife that likes to spend way too much. So you are very lucky that you and your wife are in a agreement.
  5. latergator116 macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2003
    Providence, RI
    My mom never spends more than $100 on presents for my brother and I. Lately though, she has phased out the Christmas gifts. Frankly, I don't really mind. I'm not trying to be humble, but gifts in general usually don't give me too much pleasure.

    This year we received a few (4-5) small gifts. Probably no more than 50 dollars each. She also made us buy and deliver food to the local food shelter. (I say she made us do it, but all agreed it was a good idea).

    To sorta adress the original question, there is nothing wrong with giving gifts as long as you don't go too over the top like some parents do.
  6. AppleMatt macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2003
    My parents used to take me Christmas shopping with a clear what's acceptable and what's not. As I grew older I felt guilty asking for expensive presents, because my parents provided what I needed within the year. So for example, if I broke a wardrobe it would be replaced with a better one the same day. If I needed some text books they'd be bought brand new and dropped on my desk. There are a lot of things I wanted, but I was taught to earn them. I'd have to make half the money to buy it, and my parents would match the other half.

    I think the "magic" of Christmas is a lot more important. Like others I remember being jealous when friends got more than me, but I can't for the life of me remember what those things were. I can however remember the feeling approaching Christmas, the (crappy) films shown, the excitement etc. Also, I appreciate now the money "saved" over the years was invested for my future.

    It's a shame that Christmas has lost it's magic (for me at least, I don't speak for others here!), but I've every intention of making my kids (if I ever have any) Christmas' more magical than materialistic. I'd like them to say "wow Christmas as a kid was great" rather than "remember the megablaster 3000 I had when I was a kid...can't believe how much they spent on that"

    I wouldn't worry about the beds, you could well have bought them anytime, buying them at Christmas just adds to the day for your children. Plus they're going to get years of use out of them.

  7. urban1985_ macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2004
    Burnaby, British Columbia
    I don't have an iPod either, I'll wait til next year.

    I think $100 or lower is a good price range for kids' gifts. You have to consider the kind of gift, too. You wouldn't buy a 4 year old, an Xbox with Halo (although maturity levels may differ in kids). I have a nephew that just turned too. Since I'm tight on money, I don't buy him anything fancy. I go to toys r us and pick out some educational games, or buy him some clothes at Old Navy hehe. I think educational games are great. They're enjoyable (I know I loved them) and you actually learn... wow. I wish higher learning consisted of fun, educational games. haha
  8. broken_keyboard macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Secret Moon base
    I think Christmas is a time to celebrate and buy lots of gifts and eat way too much food.

    Because people work hard all year and deserve a time to celebrate. I know I do in my job with stressful project deadlines etc. And kids work hard at school too, I'm sure it's much more competitive these days. So I say let your hair down and be generous with the pressies.
  9. stubeeef macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    I don't have an iPod either!

    Childhood aside, (we were broke too) all my memories are good.

    We make it a point to do a couple of things,

    1) our girls have for 3 years now (they are now 6,7, and 8) find good condition toys in their room to give to goodwill for other boys and girls.

    2) They can only ask Santa for 3 gifts (learning about utils here). Just like the 3 gifts that Jesus got.

    3) We always sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, sometimes the wife has a cake, and this is to bring in the true meaning of Christmas.

    Now our kids get more than 3 presents by the time mom, dad, sisters, aunts, uncles, and Grandparents chime in. But they only ask Santa for 3.

    I have started to try and make a break between Santa and Christmas this year with my Girls. This forum has made me more aware of the difference. And they know that Santa is giving and Christmas is about the Gift we all get from God, the gift being his son, Jesus Christ.

    Just our slant, it is a tough road to hoe!

    Good luck and Merry Christmas.
  10. Col. Panic macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2004
    I do have an iPod by the way.

    My daughter is only 18 months an has more toys than she knows what to do with. Most were either hand-me-downs or gifts from other people. She doesn't really need anything else right now. And I am sure her grandparent will spoil her as usual.

    My wife is Jewish and I am Catholic so this year we gave her a small book or puzzle each night for hanukkah and a couple larger gifts (a small table and chair for her room and an easle for drawing on) for Christmas. The total dollar value I don't think is over 100$.

    In the future I don't know how we will work it. I guess it really depends on her. If she asks for a lot of toys during the year then Christmas would probably be small. If (like my parents did) we don't buy her much during the year then Christmas would be bigger.

    But to answer your original question I don't really think of the dollar value when I am giving a gift (for Christmas, hanukkah, birthday, wedding etc.). If it is something I know somone really wants then I enjoy giving it to them. It may be something small and inexpensive or it may be something bigger.

    I think my wife focuses more on the cost and will tell me if she thinks a gift is too much.

    I guess it is all just a compromise between what a child gets during the year and for the holidays. And then you have to decide if they really deserve the gift. Have they been good?
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    When this question comes up, I like to think of the way my parents and my aunt/uncle do this (My aunt being my mother's youngest sister). I don't remember specifics of what I got for Christmas before I turned 10 or so, but since then, it's seemed that it's usually socks + underwear (always appreciated, I wear them out quickly :D) + one or two expensive things (never more than $300, and usually under $200. More than $300, and I'll have to chip in or buy it myself). Every so often, I would also get some ski gear (boots and/or skis). Of course there's stocking stuffers too (candy, some fruit etc.). My aunt, on the other hand, buys lots of less expensive things for my cousins (now 9 and 11 year old boys), and I do mean lots, and then one or two expensive things (of course there's the requisite socks + underwear). Most of those inexpensive gifts usually go neglected, unless they're entertaining. I think it's better to get one thing that they really want, then a bunch of extra things. Unless you happen to have money shooting from your ears.

    For young kids though (under 5), I don't see why you'd get more than 4 or 5 things total. It's not like they're going to remember it later on anyway :p
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I really think parents nowadays go overboard with the gift giving. I don't really like asking for presents, or telling my parents what I want. It ruins the idea behind the gift-giving. Half the fun is finding something that your loved ones would enjoy.

    My mum spends way too much on me with regards to presents. Frankly, a sweater or something is fine, even if it's not a sweater I love. Instead, my mum gets my brother and I around 2-3 pieces of clothing, or something really expensive like a PDA, CD Diskman, etc. Sometimes it's something as expensive as an iPod. She bought me a graduation gift (again) this year after I finished my Masters. She told me to get something for myself, I bought a Sony-Ericsson K700i outright with no contract (only around $350 USD :eek: ) after taxes, and she said it was okay and gave me my money back. But usually, I don't care if you give me a gift for b-days or X-mas.

    Asking for specific things, or giving them a list seems a bit too much. I hate how kids can do this nowadays. Getting crap gifts from aunts and uncles is a part of X-mas too, and disappointment is a part of life. :p
  13. emw thread starter macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    Thanks everyone for the replies. I started the thread then got caught up in all the Christmas hysteria and didn't get a chance to check back in. Sounds like I'm not alone in my lack of an iPod at least.

    I think everything worked out okay here - the kids were excited, but tend to focus on one or two presents for now. I'm sure the rest will get used throughout the year. I guess I just tend to be a bit of a Christmas minimalist, mainly since we buy other things throughout the year for them. But they're generally good kids, so I can't complain...

    Hope everyone had a nice Christmas with your families!
  14. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    now I'm starting to feel guilty that I got an iPod today. :( really is too much...
    anyway, my kids 21 months and 7 months :) , get spoiled by the grandparents. We just got them a couple of toys, some books, and some clothes. Maybe about $50 each.

    and if they get to many toys that I don't think they will play with, I return them for store credit.
  15. emw thread starter macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    Nah - I'm just jealous. Which one did you end up getting? I may be ordering mine after MWSF, just to be safe (since MacConnection screwed me)...
  16. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    I got the 20 GB version. I didn't realize how small it really is. I expected it to be thicker. I'm so happy to finally have an iPod! Who says Christmas is just for kids ;)
  17. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    I know what you mean.

    When I grew up, there was never a lack of presents under the tree. Never got the number one gift that I wanted, the disappointment was short lived though with all the other gifts. Years later my parents and relatives admitted that they shopped the after Christmas sales for the next years gifts.

    For my other half and I we have gone to doing something for the two of us for the Holidays. Last year it was a 5 day trip to Las Vegas (back when money and jobs wasn't as much an issue). This year it was a Dyson Animal 014 vacuum - simply that his asthma has been getting bad because of the dog fur (bought with a coupon and 18 months free financing - we are good about putting money in a savings account for these offers). We tend to use the holiday as an excuse.

    For my bosses and receptionist, it has become easy. The one boss likes cigars, so he gets three good one, the other minor boss gets a gift card to Bertuciiis, he and his wife's favorite place. The receptionist gets a gift card to a book store. This year my bosses did an Apple Gift Card for me, and I could not have been happier.

    For my "niece and nephews", we have taken to what my relatives did so many years ago. We hunt for the bargains year round. We stay away from the "trendy" items. So far so good for us.

    I think that kids get too much spent on them. I am willing to overlook a computer that is shared. But a friend has spent about $500 on each of his two kids this Christmas. That doesn't count what is spent by the other relatives.

Share This Page