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Parent Talk: The St. Michael Albertville Christmas Budget

How do you budget and limit when it comes to Christmas shopping?

The tree is up. The stockings are hung and slowly but surely the bottom of the tree is becoming surrounded by wrapped gifts. For friends, family, adopt-a-family and of course, our kids.

We shop early, which is both good and bad. Good to get it done, bad because in the middle of December when your 5-year-old tells you the only thing he really wants is the "Red Lego Ninjago" and you know it's not wrapped and under your tree, you're faced with a dilemna.

Just buy one more gift? Or not?

And what does one more gift for him mean? One more gift for the other three.

So what's your strategy? When is enough enough?

I heard one mom say she buys one thing her kids need, one thing to play with, one thing to read and one thing from Santa.

Another mom said one gift from mom and dad and one gift from Santa.

Still another said whatever is on that list is under the tree.

How do you budget for Christmas? Do you set an amount of gifts or a dollar amount? Tell us.

Leah December 07, 2011 at 05:43 PM
I have three kids ages 4, 2, and 5 months and my goal was to spend $50 or less on each. I ended up spending about $70 on my 4 year old and about $65 on my 2 year old, but only $15 on my 5 month old. (If it wasn't for me checking out the cyber monday deals, I would have spent a little less.) They will each get one gift from mom and dad and the rest will be from Santa. At the ages they are now, I could get away with spending even less since they have no concept of price. I am not looking forward to them getting older and asking for the latest expensive electronic items because at this point we simply cannot afford to spend more.
Meghan Gutzwiller December 07, 2011 at 08:22 PM
We do a certain number of gifts from mom and dad and a certain number from Santa instead of a set dollar amount, though I do keep in mind what gifts I've already gotten for each child so I don't get one child too many bigger gifts compared to the others. This year I set aside a certain dollar amount from each paycheck in October and November, depending on when we had "extra" based on other expenses throughout the month. The biggest gift we got them this year is a shared gift, so it counts as one of each of their santa gifts (even though the baby won't use it for years, he doesn't know better or need anything else!)
Happy in St. Michael December 08, 2011 at 02:32 PM
We spend less than $100 total between our two kids, but I am a bargain hunter and bought all of their presents through Amazon.com. When you can buy that $70 Lego set that you thought he'd never get for only $30, it's awesome! We give them each 2-3 gifts, normally 1 $25 - $30 one and 1-2 under $10; we buy a present from each one to the other so that everything isn't coming from us. We don't want them to focus on the presents, but on the fact that we're celebrating Jesus' birth. We do the Santa thing for fun, but we've always taught them that it's folklore. They do get to choose a few things from the Samaritan's Purse catalog to buy to help others, such as clean water for a village, mosquito netting, education for 30 children for a year, etc. Looking through the catalog helps them see how others live and why we should be thankful for what we have and why we should help others as much as possible.

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