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  • #2221940

    How much is too much for Christmas


    by naughtymonkey ·

    How much do you get your kids for Christmas?

    Did it increase with better jobs or decrease with more children?

    At what point are you spoiling your children?

    Just trying to see if I spoil my kids too much. I tend to want to give them everything since I had so little, but how much harm am I doing?

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    • #2479685

      My standards versus yours…

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      I may be on the hard side…..

      I have three kids, ages 14,12 and 10.

      I have an ok income, but my wife can’t work for medical reasons, and I’m not in an inexpensive area to live, though cheaper places would just increase an already long commute.

      I look at a rough budget of $50 per kid for ther main gift, plus any shared items (bought air hockey table last year for $80), plus about $20 in stocking stuffers. I might throw in some clothes on top.

      I give my kids about the same on their birthdays. I have bought special presents for a good report card – last year it was MP3 players at $40 per.

      My kids get $10 a week in allowance if they do their chores. If they don’t – nada.

      My son has been saving for an XBox 360, but doesn’t yet have the discipline to get it. I may help him bridge the gap, but I want to see him save at least $200 before I get generous and top it up.

      I think spoiling kids is more than just giving them every material item they want, its also lack of discipline, not setting rules and boundaries, being too permissive and so on. I’ve known kids who grew up with everything they ever wanted but who were not “spoiled” rich – they knew about hard work and sacrifice and discipline and honoring their parents.

      But I’ve also read business books about how the first generation – the hungry one, makes the money while the subsequent ones who are soemtimes spoiled, spend it and sometimes throw it all away.


      • #2479671

        So true…

        by naughtymonkey ·

        In reply to My standards versus yours…

        On the other end I know a whole family who are poor yet spoiled because they think everything is owed to them. They will not work for anything.

        I use to spend about $1500 per child but that has declined. My oldest is 11 and I got him a new Ipod Nano this year. other than that he will get a few gadgets (memory cards, card reader, etc…) that he keeps borrowing from me.

        I added it up last night and it is about $500 for him, $700 for my 9 year old, and about $300 for my 9 month old.

        My son doesn’t believe in Santa and he was told that if he would not get presents from Santa then. He has learned about money well though. He just bought a new DS Lite on his own. My daughter seems a little spoiled though. Of course I did look at buying her a pony one year. 🙂

      • #2638056

        Nice to hear

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to My standards versus yours…

        I rgew up with hard working parents who grew up mainly post war in England. I couldn’t POSSIBLY tell them that I had nothing or should have more, it just didn’t hold weight to what they went through as kids (not that they were sent into a mine or beaten into sweeping chimeny’s or anything).

        As a middle class family, I was spoiled (according to my siblings). I THINK I had it pretty tough at times, I always earned anything I had, was never just handed anything for nothing. When we moved to Nova Scotia and I wanted a toboggan like everyone else had, my dad took me to the basment and had me helphim make one. Much to the jealousy of other kids it was a well finished, rocket that was built like a tank.

        While I don’t have what some people do, what I DO have I own and earned myself. Other kids who didn’t have a relationship with their parents often got showered with gifts instead, I always felt kinda short changed but see myself as fortunate now.

        My son didn’t have it too easy either, I taught him to either build it or earn it himself (just as my father did for me). Even though it was often easy to earn things, it was still not just a handout. (as you are going to do with the XBox).

        Nice to see someone else feels that throwing money/gifts at something isn’t the ultimate solution.

    • #2479684

      It is not what material things you give your children

      by dadspad ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      but what quality time you spend with them.

      Now most of us spend money on our kids, nothing wrong there. It would be wrong to go into debt at Christmas, so that your family would be deprived of things the next year.

      We asked our kids, when they were almost out of their teens, what they remembered the most about Christmas. Not one mention of any toys or gifts recieved. They remembered the holiday dinners, the decorating, the Christmas cookies (my wife, Chris)does the best cookies at this time of year.

      I think you get it. It will be the fun times you spend with your kids that will last. Sure, find gifts that they will need and enjoy. Teach them that giving gifts at this time of year is all about giving, not receiving.

      What do you remember best about you Christmases? Mine are about how great parent I had.

      Merry Christmas.

      • #2479668


        by tig2 ·

        In reply to It is not what material things you give your children

        My step-son is getting a new computer for Christmas. It is an extravagant gift but after much discussion, his father and I agree that it is the right thing to do. (Note- my step-son is 24). By contrast, last year we put tires on his truck. He took a lot of care and effort to find the best deal available and then called to clear the purchase first.

        The gift this year is as practical- his computer is dying and he uses his computer professionally.

        End of the day, it doesn’t matter what you give your children beyond the knowledge that you are supporting them functionally and emotionally.

        And another thought- the gift that you give your child isn’t as much a gift to the child as it is a gift to yourself. I want to see the kid’s face light up as he realizes that something that has burdened him will burden him no longer. But I want that for ME.

        • #2543799

          someone just sent me this – not targeted to TiggerTwo – sorry

          by j-braden ·

          In reply to Perspective

          Don’t be a victim of the bastardisation of Christ-mas!! It is
          supposed to be a RELIGIOUS observance. Therefore, I would suggest one
          of the following methods for opting out of the endless cycle of
          hyper-consumerism gift-giving:

          1) Treat it as the religious observance it is. Worship God for
          condescending to us and showing us His mercy. Go to church. Pray.
          Sing. Worship. That is all. This has nothing to do with marathon
          sessions at Best Buy. (This is my preferred method.)

          2) If a person is not a Christian, there is no need to celebrate it at
          all. (Again, this means not having to go broke buying things for people
          that they don’t need.)

          Don’t be a victim!! Either way you choose, you don’t have to buy
          everyone presents.
          (I apologise if my cynicism over the Uber-commercialism of the
          ‘season’ is showing.)

        • #2631517

          we need seperate holidays

          by dakin ·

          In reply to someone just sent me this – not targeted to TiggerTwo – sorry

          How is it that from the birth of our lord and savior we got a fat guy in red delivering presents?

          There should be two different holidays on that day. One is celebrating the birth of Jesus and the religious observance for those that believe. The other is a seasonal gift-giving, commercialized, Santa Claus-letter writing, lights-on-your-house, secular holiday for everyone.

        • #2632595

          You do realize that…

          by naughtymonkey ·

          In reply to we need seperate holidays

          the commercialized version is just an over exaggerated version of the original.

          Star on the tree – star of Bethlehem

          Gift giving – 3 Wise Men bring gifts

          And then there is the innocence of the holiday and the meaning of gathering with your family.

          Yes Santa Claus was adopted from the Dutch but the symbols and practices are mostly still Christian.

          Don’t be such a grinch. 😉

        • #2638122

          More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to You do realize that…

          When the early Church expansion was taking place the Christians said “Hey, what pagan festivals and traditions can we pinch for our own” so they stole The Winter Equinox festival (which EVERY Northern culture has) that marks the turning south of the Sun and arbitrarily assigned it to the birth of Jesus. The Romans called it Sol Invictus.

          “Christian Christmas” traditions… Yule logs, mistletoe, holly, Christmas Trees – all pagan. Still, whatever its origins and putpose, Christmas has now become a secular festival and a commercial enterprise with tacky, mass-produced, plastic and branded items such as Santa Claus’s red uniform (Coca Cola! Turns and spits).

          So, the non-religious and non-Christian can celebrate the commercial and social event, Christians can pretend Christmas has something to do with Christ, pagans can celebrate nature, and everyone can be happy.

          Unless of course you are a secular cynic like me.

          BAH! HUMBUG!

          Neil 😀

          Oh, and just to be a little picky (because I CAN), the Star of Bethlehem was only mentioned in Matthew as were the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. One out of four gospels ain’t too good. And Matthew doesn’t actually SAY there were three Magi, just that there were three gifts and so three givers has been assumed.

        • #2638111

          Poor Neil!

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


          I understand that by now you are bleeding from the ears with all the bad caroling and the festivity around you. Buck up, little beaver- just 15 days to the event and your life can return to its normal, cynical, Grinch-like ways.

          Hmm. Does the UK do the “Morning After” think like we do in the US? I think the stores open at midnight or some such so that people can spend whatever they missed spending earlier on the “After Christmas Sale.”

          If so, I fear you’re stuck a bit longer!

          Merry f*cking Christmas!

        • #2638106

          Lucky for us Christians

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          that you Brits were so big on Kings, so that he could take and change as he saw fit.

          God save the King! B-)

          [b]Question Neil[/b], what did they say BEFORE the crown adopted Christianity? Just curious if anyone would know….. Not really up on my Kingly “stuff” and whatnot!

        • #2638099

          Perfect Christmas gift for Neil

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

        • #2638089

          British Christmas traditions

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          We do lots of things the same as you and lots of things differently.

          Boxing Day (Dec 26) is a holiday here and – certainly in my part of the world and in my family – is when we go visiting and have a mince pie at every stop. It has, however, become the day when all of the post-Christmas sales start and people queue outside Harrods store at midnight. I would say that Christmas stops dead over here after Boxing Day and although the decs are still up, they don’t mean anything.

          It’s the last few years that we’ve had pre-Christmas sales although Christmas has definitely been increasingly commercial for all of my life.

          It is only this year, though, that it has got to me so early so hard! It’s that damn M&S advert! Whilst I am as fond as any man of fit birds in their underwear, when I’d seen the damn thing for the twentieth time AND HEARD THAT SODDING MUSIC and we were still in November, something cracked inside…

          If I saw Antonio Banderas in the street, I’d punch the Dwarf Dago’s lights out! And you know, it wouldn’t even be his fault.

          Oh, and the Spice Girls shop at Tescos and are all going to get their prezzies there? Yeah! I believe that. Certainly that leather-clad painted stick-insect, Victoria Beckham does. I’ve seen her down at the Peckham branch in front of me at the checkout. Not!

          Neil 😀

          You did it! You set me off again! Why doesn’t everybody leave me alone. :_|

          I had to edit this post because you got me so wound up that I mistyped a motty and I NEVER do that! :_|

        • #2638077

          You raise excellent points, Neil

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          I recommend that you watch JD’s link. At least no danger of that M&S advert THERE!

          But having viewed both links, I begin to understand a bit better why you are having a hard time with the season. And I agree, the M&S one is particularly bad!

          But leave poor Antonio out of this.

        • #2638070

          What did we do before Christmas?

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          Earliest religions were naturalistic, usually Sun worshippers. Whatever they did it for, they built Stonehenge.

          The pre-Roman inhabitants of Britain were Celts (I’m one because of my Welsh ancestry) and the priests were mostly Druids who had a whole bunch of gods and goddesses and lots of sacred natural places – woodland groves and such.

          They were conquered by the Romans in 50AD (Claudius) and so we followed Roman religious traditions for the next couple of hundred years until the dissolution of the Roman Empire, when Christianity started to take hold.

          The Anglo-Saxons and Danes, invading from Scandinavia and Germany, were pagans and pushed Romano-Celtic-Christianity back to the fringes, Wales, Ireland, the North East. Christianity then pushed back from the North and the Catholic Church was successful in its conversions, pushing up from the South.

          The Catholic Church and the Celtic Church disagreed in lots of things but Catholicism triumphed at the Synod of Whitby in 664.

          Henry VIII sorted THEM out!

          Neil 🙂

          Christ! That was boring…

        • #2638067


          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          Yeah, I know. But I couldn’t punch out Twiggy, now could I?


        • #2638066

          No no no, Neil

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          what did they say before they said “God save the King/Queen”?

          They still say that, right?

          Sorry, like I said, not up on all this King/Queen fascination crap and just don’t get the life of luxury that is given to the royal families.

        • #2638064

          Well no, Neil

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          I suppose you couldn’t. She looks pretty fragile and might break.

          You could track down the wanker that thought that whole thing up and set fire to his socks. But a thought here- make sure that he’s wearing them!


        • #2638040

          Since I definitely…

          by naughtymonkey ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          don’t want to debate with anyone and only meant to say that they have been used as symbols for a very long time for those things, I will not argue.

          I just wish people didn’t have to be so anal.

          You ruined the birth of Christ.

          Get a life.


        • #2638038

          Royalty and royalists

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          Whilethere are many ‘royalists’ who think the monarchy is worthy of the fanfare and adoration, most Brits just have a respect for the royalty.

          They have OLD money, they are not showered with money. The money in those families is OLD OLD OLD British money, it goes back long before we took up residence in North America. Think of George Washington’s bloodline having billions invested in American property and lavish buildnigs (except in England that goes back hundreds of years in to the castle ages and prior)So they own lavish estates with castles upon them. Then again, so does Billl Gates and he is just a software giant not soemone who built America.

          Think of a Canadian telling Americans that the founding fathers and those who fought to take America away from the indians should be forgotten and didn’t really matter. YOu wouldn’t even give it consideration beyond flaming the Canuck who suggested your country forget its roots.

          The monarchy established, fought for, built and governed what is England today and the commonealth with it. Yes, raping and pillaging and forcing religion on people, (a bit like we still see from governments today) but that was how things were done back then and no country was any better than another when it comes to the spoils of war.

          Today the monarchy is more of a figurehead than a governing body, however the wishes of the monarchy are always considered and respected, be it Canada, India or anyone else’s governmeent who was or is part of the commonwealth.

          Today’s monrachy is not the same which fought for England from Roman rule, who fought against the Picts, but it is the same monarchy that saw England through the WWII. THAT is something Brits don’t easily forget.

          On another note, why does Clinton still have devoted followers? He didn’t settle America, he doesn’t lead or rule America, he in fact was ousted for a BJ, but he still gets free food at restaurants, showered with gifts from many devoted followers etc. WHy wasn’t Regan forgotten the minute he was replaced? I’m sure past presidents and families/descendants aren’t hurting for a few extra bucks when they want to buy a new house either.

          If you don’t understand royalty, don’t feel left out, unless you are British it’s pretty hard to see. While I am not a royalist by any means, I do respect the history of the familty and the fact that their rule has formed England into the empire it is today.

        • #2638024

          Giving people their due

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          Did not mean to offend followers of the Royalty, just trying to understand their place.

          Old money. Here in the US they would be called the “evil rich” and people would cry that it isn’t “fair” that they have so much….

          Clinton? He was a polarizing figure, who put himself out as young and hip. And no, not for a “BJ”, but purgury on the witness stand while defending himself from a sexual harassment suit, but that is besides the point.

          Still doesn’t tell me what they said before “God save the King/Queen”, which was really my only question, started from Neils reference that Christmas was created by the king because of his new-found religion.

        • #2638022

          JD, religion predates modern royalty

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          England was not acting under a monarchy before religion had been adopted by the people and definitely before what is today, the United Kingdom. Spread across the island by an Arch Bishop in the 5th century I believe.

        • #2638000

          Oz is correct….

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          Christianity came in to Britain before the Romans pulled out. Before the Romans there was not one “King” there were several.


        • #2639691


          by naughtymonkey ·

          In reply to More Grinch ( which ain’t in MY tradition)

          you might like this

          Merry F**king Christmas

      • #2479667

        We do lots at Christmas…

        by naughtymonkey ·

        In reply to It is not what material things you give your children

        go look at lights, bake cookies, lots of decor. I have just had a hard time with my son getting him to understand that you have to work hard for things. He has made great progress the past two years and saves hi money to buy the things he wants so he appreciates them more.

        I am still working on my daughter though. We definitely spoiled them before I think. Now with the new baby, I want to do it better this time. Everyone I know thinks I am a great Dad and my family will always come first, but I think I spend too much on them sometimes and don’t want the negative effects.

        • #2473114

          It isn’t what you buy—it’s attitude.

          by clandress ·

          In reply to We do lots at Christmas…

          I believe that all of the spoiled children with whom I’ve been in contact had parents with the same attitudes. 1. The children are **more** important than the parents, and 2. The parents are powerless or unwilling to exert authority over the children.

          Attitude number 1 creates children who expect to get what they want without putting forth effort.

          Attitude number 2 creates children who know no bounds over their behavior.

          Both attitudes are devastating to the children and the parents.

          The children’s expectations are formed early in their lives and are difficult to change as they get older. At some point it is impossible to change their expectations.

          Children who continually get what they want without earning it by behaving correctly and helping the parents with chores, etc. rarely learn to respect themselves, others or things.

        • #2632590

          I don’t think it comes from giving…

          by naughtymonkey ·

          In reply to It isn’t what you buy—it’s attitude.

          I see the same attitude from some families where the parents don’t give their kids anyway. They inherit their parents ideas that everyone owes them because they are poor.

          That is a US attitude mainly I believe.

    • #2479656

      I have 4 kids

      by maecuff ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      When they were all young, I would spend between $150.00 – $200.00 per kid (including functional gifts like socks, PJs, etc).

      Once the kids are grown and out of the house, they get $100.00 in cash. And that is shared with the spouse (if there is one).

      • #2466471

        Now that I have 3…

        by naughtymonkey ·

        In reply to I have 4 kids

        I will definitely be cutting back. I am trying not to go overboard with this one.

        • #2544259

          It’s not easy

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Now that I have 3…

          We didn’t have much when I was growing up. I’ve tried to do more for my kids than my parents did for me and it’s blown up in my face more often than not. Giving too much to your kids is not a gift to them.

    • #2543558

      My 2 cents worth

      by ontheropes ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      I say spend whatever you’d like as long as it doesn’t jeopardize your families security. As one who has previously filed bankruptcy I say stay away from loans and credit card debt for Christmas. It’s not worth the risk.

      May your future be bright.

      • #2543427

        Thats true….

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to My 2 cents worth

        I have spent more on summer vacations with the whole family than christams presents. But as long as you aren’t in over your head its ok.

        I don’t go into debt.


        • #2466472

          I learned a long time ago…

          by naughtymonkey ·

          In reply to Thats true….

          that credit cards are evil and loans are for emergencies. I have no credit cards and the only loans I have are mortgages. If I don’t have the money to buy something, I don’t. I have learned that is the best way and have stuck to that for 10 years now.

    • #2543262

      Show them this

      by roger99a ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

    • #2543830

      Its not hard to overspend :)

      by shellbot ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      If it was me I wouldnt spend the amounts you do..but I’m not you 🙂

      When I was growing up we were pretty “poor” i guess. Didn’t have a lot, but I always remeber that we never wanted for much at Christmas.
      Mom baked a lot of treats and we had a lopsided oddly decorated tree (long story for another day). Christmas eve choclates and assorted candy, mandarins and other treats cam out. We watched Mickeys Christmas Carol and went to bed dreaming of Santa coming. We’d get up Christmas morning and lo and behold, under the tree there were a million presents!!! (4 kids) My parents did not allow ANY gifts under the tree untill we went to bed xmas eve. When I was child that annoyed me, but it made xmas magical indeed.

      We tended to get a lot of presents, however, the individual spend was small enough. We always got one biggish item and then a lot of small things, clothes socks and underpants included!

      When I had my daughter, I followed the example my parents set. One big gift, and loads of small things. Obviously the younger they are, the easier it is, cause you can get a lot of stuff form Dollar Stores and the like.

      Now that she is older, I would estimate I probably spend about $200-250 on gifts for her. This year I spent about $140 on presents (clothes, socks, cd, dvd, book, novelties) and then getting her a gift card for $100 which she can use to purchase something she really wants/needs. (she lives in canada, so can’t send anything eletrical or bulky, so with gift card she can get that kinda stuff).

      I will say this, looking back Christmas was magical because of the amount of small gifts we got and the laughing and the good food 7& treats..not becuase of the expensive stuff I may have got.

      Its true that memories this day I put out my candy and treats on xmas eve, I watch Mickeys Crhistmas Carol and i wake up to lots of small gits. My hubby knows how I am, I would rather 10 small presents than 1 big one. He indulges me and lets me act like the kid I am !!

      • #2543797

        1 thing to look at Shell

        by the scummy one ·

        In reply to Its not hard to overspend :)

        is at the $1 store, many of those cheap items have warning labels stating that the paint (or other) used is known to cause cancer (or other problems). Just thought I would mention it before giving them to a child. Look at the labels, and after opening, wash them off.

        If it is the paint — take it back or dispose of it.

        • #2544317

          ah ya

          by shellbot ·

          In reply to 1 thing to look at Shell

          ya have to be careful..but for things like craft paper, stickers, crayons etc its ok as long as you properly check them. obviously using the $1 store is only appropriate for certain ages.
          i used to get a lot of doll clothes there, and always gave them a wash before giving them to her, and made sure there were no loose bits etc.
          Paying $2 for barbie clothes was much cheaper than the $15 they wanted for the real thing in walmart!!

          Again, have to use common sense 🙂

    • #2473381

      spoiling your kids

      by nzimmerman67 ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      I think it is ok to get your kids presents and “spoil them a bit”. however, it is equally as important to help them understand the true meaning of the holidays and not just think its about presents. Balance the gift giving with some charity work. have them donate something to toys for tots or help at a food bank or volunteer with Unicef or something. this way there is balance!

      • #2632588

        There is a local radio station that…

        by naughtymonkey ·

        In reply to spoiling your kids

        does a 28 hour broadcast for Toys for Tots every year. We all take a few toys and go down and drop them off. This year they raised their total from over $40,000 to over $80,000.

        It is really a great feeling to give to those that need it and they look forward to it every year.

    • #2473335

      Give so it’s special, not expected

      by jasocher ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      With kids, when you give give give, they quickly take things for granted and can get to the point of where gifts and getting what they want is expected.

      However, if you say no to their pleads, begs, and fits 99% of the time and then splurge on them for their birthday and , they’ll appreciate those gifts that much more and will also get more mileage out of them.

      • #2473315

        I agree wholeheartedly – watch for the monsters

        by jennifer1019 ·

        In reply to Give so it’s special, not expected

        I don’t have children, however, my sister has 6 and now they are all over 20 years old. The older ones who got special gifts during the early lean times do not expect to get things without working for them.

        The last two get whatever they want whenever they want and now that they are entering the reality of adulthood, they are struggling. My sister realizes that she created these monsters and now has to teach them that working and saving are good things.

    • #2473312

      Two words “I’m bored”

      by locrian_lyric ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      When you hear that from your kids, you’ve given them too much.

      We didn’t have all that much growing up either. We made due. We even played with sticks, pieces of wood and string. It’s all the same to a child.

      To this day, what I remember growing up is spending time with my family. Visiting my relatives, and having them visit us.

      I remember exactly two toys I got. One because someone broke it, and another because we all played with it for years.

      If you give your children too much, the damage you will do is make them feel entitled, and you will have them remember the things instead of you and your family.

      Never give them everything on their lists, because getting everything murders hope more quickly than the greatest of tragedies.

    • #2473264

      Some ways to manage expectations

      by cindy.brandi ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      We struggle with how much our kids get too. (There are lots of doting aunts and uncles). One way is we do discuss dollar limits with our older daughter (who does not believe in Santa) so when she puts five items on her list, and they are all over $100, she knows she is not getting more than one of them. For our son, who does still believe, we talk about how Santa has to go to everyone’s house and he brings only two or at most three presents to each child.

    • #2473254

      Teaching kids responsibility

      by terryma ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      I have 4 boys, and we have always given something to others. When they were young, they saved some of their money throughout the year and then picked a tag from the Salvation Army angel tree and picked the present themselves and paid for it with their own money. Now, we collect money from friends, family and co-workers and adopt whole families. My kids participate in all aspects of this: donating/collecting, shopping, wrapping and delivery. This year, we adopted 5 familes (26 people in all).

      We do buy gifts for our own kids, but it is about the same number of gifts as those we donated, and we put a limit on how much we will spend on each of them.


      • #2638053


        by sharpj ·

        In reply to Teaching kids responsibility

        I think many hit the target, until we got off track. Celebrate Christmas as you want (we celebrate the Christ part more than some), but Tigger, what you set as the limit, just remember that love and kindness in selection should be apparent. As we get older (51), we tend to spend more, because we have more; however, I see us spoiling the g’kids SO much more than our own children when they were same age. BTW: Tigger, I always twinge when folks call a child a ‘step-son’, especially in public, when others have no need to know the biology involved… this is not a criticism of you… see, I am not the biological father of MY first son, but he is my SON, nonetheless…. it’s SO important that they don’t feel “different” from your “real” kids, for all the reasons we already know, I think.

        Marge, good for you, lady…. true spirit!!

        Merry CHRISTmas…. give from the heart, not just the pocketbook.


        • #2638044

          Celebrating Christ at Christmas

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to Commendable

          I do, he doesn’t. We BOTH celebrate family at Christmas.

          I agree with your sentiments re: “Son” vs “Step-Son”. If his mother were no longer living or not a part of his life, I would drop the “Step”. As I have no children, he is the only person I get to have a maternal relationship with. But I know to never imply any disrespect toward his REAL mother.

          The love and kindness reflected in my choices is really most clearly seen in the need we are trying to meet. The gift is more about lifting a burden from a young man who is doing the best he can to be independent than anything else. Were it not for Christmas, he wouldn’t accept it.

        • #2639085

          Great response

          by sharpj ·

          In reply to Celebrating Christ at Christmas

          Hey Tig, thanks for your comments, I see where you’re coming from. I guess my point was poorly worded, since i only meant to say that when WE (as a society) refer to “our” children as “step” it seems to imply a lesser degree of closeness to others. BUT, I was NOT impying that your relationship was lacking, just the perception that some folks see, along with those terms.

          Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy time with your family.

          All the Best,


        • #2639069

          No worries!

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to Great response

          I do agree with you. But I also have a very deliberate reason for the reason for keeping the “step”.

          I wish I knew a better answer. As blended families have become more common, it seems like we could have done better to identify these “children of the heart” better than we have. “Step” seems horribly impersonal to me too.

          I took nothing amiss at your comments. I just wanted to explain why I have chosen to keep the word.

          A very Merry Christmas to you and your family. May God bless and keep you.

    • #2632599

      Single mom

      by buuick ·

      In reply to How much is too much for Christmas

      Being a single mom with 3 kids (ages 15, 18, & 19) and no help from their dad makes things a little tough at Christmas. I get them the things they need during the year and something that they want for birthdays and Christmas. This year, I have spent $75-$80 on gifts and approximately $20 for little stocking stuffers.

      • #2632586

        I am also a single mom

        by ganyssa ·

        In reply to Single mom

        with little help. I am lucky in that I work for a company that gives a quite generous Christmas bonus. It makes it kind of difficult, because it’s the one time of year I can afford to not say no so much, but the one time of year I don’t want my daughter to get the idea it’s all about her.

        Still, I’m spending around $200 on her, and $90 of that went for an electric keyboard (she wants to play piano, but no space in a small house) that was marked down from $200. The rest is a few smaller gifts and stocking stuffers. The majority of the bonus usually goes into her college fund, but this year we need clean clothes more, so most of it’s a washer and dryer.

        • #2632573

          Single Dad

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to I am also a single mom

          Same situation, just different gender. The ex puts nothing in to help raise my twin boys (age 15) that I have full custody of.

          I will be looking between $100 and $150 for a big gift each, and then a few smaller trinkets in the $20 range. Will be about $400 total.

          Enough for them to say “Wow, that is cool” but not enough for them to have things off to the side that they forget to use.

          I always like to get a shirt or two from for them. Cool stuff that none of their friends will get. B-)

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