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Holiday Shopping: How Much for Kids’ Gifts?

Do you set limits on spending for your children's presents?

As the holiday shopping season goes into full swing, some people are maxing out their credit cards to pay for presents and others are setting budgets and sticking with them.

Scour just about any Facebook stream or stop in a local coffee shop and you might hear parents debating the merits of setting spending limits. Or, you'll hear them lamenting about just how much they've already spent.

The ideas for a perfect limit do seem to vary rather greatly. Some parents say $100 per child is more than enough. Others tend to lean toward much more generous figures. After all, there’s nothing like seeing a child’s eyes light up as they unwrap gift after gift.

Do you set spending limits on the presents you buy for your kids? How much is too much? 

Bob B November 24, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I admit, I go nuts when it comes to Christmas presents for my grand-children. I average $350.00 per child (I have two here in CA and two in OK). I spent approx $150 per parent, as well. My CA family joins me on Christmas Eve, we have an elaborate (religious) traditional German celebration (praying, singing, etc...) to honor the Infant Jesus on His birthday, during which the Christmas Tree lights a lit and the children solemnly place the Baby Jesus figurine in the crib. Then we open presents, visit, listen to Christmas music (German and American), eat traditional German and American cookies and other goodies. Then it's off to Midnight Mass for me. It's lots of fun for all of us, especially for me, who was raised in a orphanage in Germany, receiving a few presents from the good nuns that took care of me and 79 others - our Christmas Eve celebration was huge and wonderful - and I try to continue that tradition. Merry Christmas to all and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year as well - if we make it passed 12-21-2012 (lol). On a side note, this Dec 16, 2012 I will celebrate my 50th anniversary of immigrating to the US (Elk Grove) - THANK YOU, America, and to my fellow countrymen/women for being there for me, and hope I have contributed much to my adopted country over those many years in lots of positive ways (like serving in the US military, including Vietnam) and doing my civic duties with a happy heart! I will continue to do so in the years to come. God bless you all!
Jim November 24, 2012 at 06:28 PM
There's no specific amount of money I spend on Grandkids. I buy whatever I feel they want. Last year it was over $100. 6 Grandkids. 6 biikes. This year I spent a little less than $50 on things they wanted.
Kelly A. Ryan November 24, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Thank-you Bob for sharing your Christmas traditions-you really have the Christmas spirit and your thoughtfulness and gratitude is so inspiring!
Kelly A. Ryan November 24, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Thank-you Bob for sharing your Christmas traditions-you really have the Christmas spirit and your thoughtfulness and gratitude is so inspiring!
joycelyn November 24, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Bob, I loved your story! 2012 has been such a horrible year not only for me, but my family and friends, that yourh heart felt story gives me a sense of hope and inspiration that yes, there are good people on Earth afterall. Thank you!
Cody Kitaura (Editor) November 24, 2012 at 11:50 PM
What a great story, Bob. Thank you for sharing it.
Sarah Creeley November 25, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Thank you for sharing your story, Bob! I love your generous spirit! I am happy that you are HERE with us! I spend about $350 on each of my kids, (2), and smaller amounts on everyone else. Sometimes, when I can, I make things, like crocheted hats, or beaded necklaces. On a different note, I don't want anyone to feel pressure to give me things. I feel as though I have SO MUCH, I'm happy with cards, time, I don't need more things. After reading the story about the homeless man who became stuck in a pipe, but was Fortunately saved, because people heard him calling for help, I feel SO GRATEFUL for what I have.
Sarah Creeley November 25, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Hi Jocelyn, I wish you and yours better days ahead! This is definitely a difficult economic time for many, and life also has a way of throwing us some curve balls. I hope that things look up for you soon! :)
Bob B November 25, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Joycelyn, thank you for your kind words, and I, too, hope you, your loved ones and friends will have a much better year in 2013 ... you and they will be a part of my Christmas prayer. There are lots of good people everywhere, especially here in America - and I try to be a good person by being kind to others, just as Sister Victoria at the orphanage - God rest her soul - thaught me so many years ago!
Bob B November 25, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Thank you, Cody and Sarah, for your kind words. Coming to America and living here among lots wonderful people, such as yourselves, has been, and continuous to be a wonderful experience for me and it is something I will treasure even after God calls me home ... Of course, I'm hoping He takes His time about that 'calling me home' stuff. lol
Bob B November 25, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Thank you, Kelly, for your kind words. I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas (Frohe Weihnachten) and a propersous New Year (und ein glueckliches Neues Jahr)!
Karla Payne November 25, 2012 at 03:10 AM
That was lovely, Bob. Thanks for sharing!
Karla Payne November 25, 2012 at 03:19 AM
I only have one gift to buy, and that's for my daughter. She's turning 30 on December 8, so I plan to send her $500 (maybe more) for Christmas. I know the money will allow her to buy what she wants, rather than my buying her something she doesn't like and having to return it. I bought her a MacBook Pro about 6 months ago and told her it was an early birthday present. I will also make a generous contribution to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission to feed the homeless and the needy.
randy November 25, 2012 at 05:43 PM
My personal opinion is not to overspend. We have 10 grands and 4 adults plus spouses. I am a frugal shopper, buying what is on sale through out the year. this year I started in March. Now I am finished. I also prefer to keep the real reason for CHRISTmas in the foreground and not the commercialization of christmas Randy, just thinking
Rebecca Whitnall (Editor) November 27, 2012 at 06:20 AM
I don't have kids, but last year, I read a short guideline I thought would be neat to follow when looking for gifts for my nephews and niece: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.
Theresa Edwards November 29, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I prefer to spend more on a child's birthday gift (then it's his/her birthday) and not so much on Christmas gifts. I understand the need for merchants to make profit on this season but wish that there wasn't SO MUCH emphasis on buying expensive or masses of gifts to celebrate Christmas. I wanted my daughter to respect the true reason for the season and when we lived in Germany (8 years), Christmas there was my favorite holy day. I was there in the 80's and then, Christmas was very much like Bob described! Oh the sound of Christmas carols rung by church bells, snow, hot gluhwein, Christkindlmarkts and stores open only in larger towns on week-ends! The commercialization was about 35% of what you get here! TV didn't tell you that a diamond gift was the only way to say "I love you" and children were not bomb-barded with commercials for every toy under the sun! My daughter and I spent Christmas Eve at home, had a nice dinner, played music, LIT the real candles on our tree and opened one gift each; our gifts to each other! Christmas day was spent visiting others and opening the rest of our gifts. As I was active duty Army, I made a point to visit my troops and make sure no one sat alone in the barracks. We had a Ger./Amer. program where German families took in soldiers for Christmas day. My favorite song was "I'll be Home for Christmas". I still have good friends in Germany and one day I hope to take my whole family to Germany for Christmas!
Washy November 29, 2012 at 12:33 AM
My parents have six kids 17 grand kids 5 great grand kids....about ten years ago (and ten grand/great grand kids ago) we told them to not buy anything for anyone over 21. For them we get gas cards and pay their car/RV insurance for the year.
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