How Much is Too Much at Christmas?

I’m intrigued by how much other people spend on their kids for Christmas. Admittedly, I LOVED getting presents as a child. Loved it! One year I got a Sega Genesis gaming syste. I remember that year so well. And all the time I spent playing games. I only had a couple of games, but it was money well spent for my parents. Other than that special year, I didn’t get huge elaborate gifts. I felt that I was never lacking in things but I had quite a few friends who got much more expensive, bigger gifts than I did. Still, I loved the holidays.

It’s weird to become an adult and enter the stage where you don’t really get presents. Grandchildren’s names replace your’s on the gifts. You watch the excitement in their eyes as they open boxes with new toys, books, and clothes. They need to play with each gift now. Bryan and I each have two siblings, so the boys get plenty of presents for their birthday and Christmas. Because of this, we’ve never really gotten too much. We’ve taken the low-key route, they get a small toy for their birthday. It joins the sea of bright colors that litter my living room floor each day.

Last year we decided that we’d had too many years of Christmas money pain. Before Dave Ramsey came into our lives, we basically took all of our extra money in November and December and put it to presents. We have six nephews, one niece, two kids, each other, and parents. That’s a lot of money! We don’t go over the top on anyone because there are too many factors – price limit, type of gift consistencies, and number of gift consistencies. Last year we decided to start a Christmas savings plan. This is by no means a new idea, I’m sure some of you already do this. For us, it was The Best Idea Ever! An automatic transfer each month kept us from stressing about holiday spend. We just had to decide what to buy everyone! We’re making a few adjustments for next year to give us a little more money in the pot, but all-in-all it was a total holiday lifesaver!

As Christmas approached, I started to feel guilty about the number and quality of presents that the boy’s were getting. I heard and read bits and pieces from others and felt like we weren’t “providing” enough for our children. They each got two presents from us and a shared present from Santa. Both got clothes items that they needed, a book, and then an activity cube. When I bought everything I was proud of my plan. I was getting them something they needed, something to read, and something fun. Bryan talked me off the ledge and reminded me that it’s not about the number of gifts. Especially at this age. Yes, Maximus did proclaim that the biggest presents were for him and my dad, but it was nothing more than a statement. He was a little aggressive with opening Quinten’s presents, but he didn’t complain once about not having any more presents. And he never once asked for different presents.

I look around my living room and see six toys sitting on the floor. All but one are new toys. Behind my couch sits a bookcase with six baskets of toys and more toys litter the floor. EveryMost nights, I walk around the house and pick up toys. My children aren’t in need. They are too young to be in want. I’m in a constant battle of trying to organize and pick up all of their stuff, why add to the chaos by doubling the number of things in my house?

For a few minutes, I let my mind get carried away and I thought they needed to be overwhelmed with presents under the tree on Christmas morning. I know the needs will get more expensive as they get older and the reads will become less. I hope along the way we can instill a sense of satisfaction and thankfulness while also making them feel spoiled. I think we’re reaching a turning point and it feels pretty major. How do you provide for your children and shower them in gifts while making sure they don’t act like spoiled brats?

5 thoughts on “How Much is Too Much at Christmas?

  1. We struggled with this as well this year. Since Cassidy is more aware we want to be smart with our choices. Lucky for her (and us a bit) my Dad and sister had their gifts at our house Christmas morning which gave her the idea that we had more than we really did. We only bought a couple gifts for each girl then used the extra money to adopt a family in need for Christmas. Both girls got mainly things they needed. We want to make sure they understand the real meaning of the holiday. We also gave them piggy banks to start saving for various goals (save, give, spend).

    1. That’s a good idea to adopt a family! I’d love to hear how the save, give, and spend goes with them! Sometimes we give Maximus a coin for helping around the house, but we haven’t talked to him about anything other than it going in his piggy bank.

  2. Sara

    We did like you. Three small gifts from us (one a book and one something they needed) and a shared gift from Santa. I admittedly stuffed their stockings to the brim – but it was tiny stuff. And we had them each pick out a toy they wanted at Target for Toys for Tots. Not a perfect plan, but it worked this year v

    1. Great minds think alike! 🙂 I like the Toys for Tots idea. Good involvement to show them how to give.

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