Spoiling your child at Christmas — The Bump
Pre-School

Spoiling your child at Christmas

I'm trying to figure out how to not spoil DS1 especially now that he's at the age where he knows about Santa and getting toys and the whole bit.

What are your plans for Christmas and gift giving? Are you capping at a certain amount of toys or money spent? Are you giving them everything on their Santa list?

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Re: Spoiling your child at Christmas

  • We don't really have a budget (at all), we just buy them pretty much as much as we can afford.  I'm not proud of it, but we are spoilers at Christmas.  This year we're done even though I'd like to get them more, but DH is out of work, and obviously I'm a SAHM (I looked into working, but I can't get a job to cover childcare, and when DH does get a job, we'll make too much for any kind of assistance with childcare). 

    ETA:  We also "adopt" a child at Christmas and the boys help pick out presents.  We also go through current toys and get rid of them for "the kids that don't have any toys".


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  • They do end up spoiled, I suppose, in volume.  The way we make sure they aren't "spoiled" is we make sure they take time to stop and thank everyone for each gift, and we actually write thank you cards to family and describe why they love their gift.  One at a time opening gifts and we take time for them to explore a gift rather than ripping it open, casting it aside and getting another. 

    We make sure they find a home for their toys, respect them and share them with eachother.  I also buy most gifts for all three of them and then some personal ones- like clothes, or a special doll for each- like the girls are getting Baby alives and DS is getting a Fur Real.  They'll get plenty that is unique to them, but in our house very little is just for one person. 

    We also spend a lot of time making gifts for everyone else.  The school has a holiday shop where you send in advance a list for each to shop for and they go with a staff member and pick things out and wrap them.  We focus on what we can do the whole season for others, then give them that day to be all about them.  They earn "Kindness Cash" each season and they pick a charity to donate.  DH spends a morning with each of them, takes them out and has them each pick a toy for toys for tots. 

    I always swore I wouldn't allow the gluttonous insanity My SIL and BIL always had for their kids- it was ridiculous.  But have decided to try and work up to them giving more during the season than they receive on one morning and it all evens out- at least in the tidy little "Happily ever after" in my little pollyanna head.

    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

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  • So I think the more they get it loses impact. Our DD also will get gifts from relatives. I Read advice once that said three gifts were enough for baby jesus. So we do one gift from santa, three from us plus stocking.




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  • I'm also going to do toys for tots and have DD pick the gifts.




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  • DD and DS will just get a few things this year.  Last year I picked up a lot of puzzles, craft stuff and then some toys.  Some of it was stuff that I would have picked up anyway, but it was way too much and I decided not to do that again.  We have a lot of the "basics" so they really do not need anything.  We have way too many toys already and I hate to just add to that pile.
    Anna Kate 10.17.2009 Alexander 6.10.2011 Baby Girl 6.2014
  • This year we are splurging a bit.  We decided on a Christmas budget of $250 each for me, DH, and DD.  I went back to work this year, and our budget spreadsheet is looking pretty good.

    We don't do Santa; we tell DD that her presents are from me and DH, our relatives, or whoever bought them for her.

  • We buy throughout the year and even have some stuff leftover from last xmas that he opened and never played with or just never got to open (got distracted!). Now that he will be four, I'm sure those days are over.

    Our problem is more my parents and brothers buying lots. We asked that they get them clothes or donate to their 529 plans. Lame, I know, but we have so many plastic toys and a small house; they really don't need more toys.  (And, my son's birthday is a month before xmas).  Half the fun of xmas is unwrapping the presents!  We are also planning a trip back to Disney in the next two years, so we have asked our family to scale back xmas this year and for us all to save for our big trip!

  • We try not to go crazy but I do make them clean out all their toys in early dec and they know it goes to underprivledged children.  They get plenty (it is actually ridiculous) from my in-laws so I don't go nuts.  I hate that my inlaws do it but my MIL gives only money for bdays and she feels Christmas is supposed to be that way so I don't fight it.  I feel like as long as they are alive and here to do what they wish and it makes them happy, so be it but we only do what we can afford and they do not get everything on their wish list.
  • I have a set budget and that is all I spend. We usually get them one "big" gift and then smaller more inexpensive gifts. My Christmas budget has to pay for everything from Thanksgiving Day Dinner to DSS Christmas gifts that are shipped to him. My girls get plenty of gifts from other family members as well so they get plenty of gifts/stuff for Christmas.

    They are now at an age that they see things in sales flyers or on TV when my niece is watching cartoons in the afternoon (I provide aftercare for my niece) and they are always telling me the things they want from Santa. I just tell them that they will get some things from Santa, but not all and they will have to wait to see what they get. I tell them Santa also has to bring gifts to all the other children in the world and he cannot give them everything they want.

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  • No spoiling over here.  I'm getting DS one big toy and I'm not sure what DH is picking out.  He gets plenty of other gifts from family members.  I already spend enough on him during the year and I don't want him to miss the point of Christmas.

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  • Everything on his list, not possible. DS looked at the toy catalog from TRU, and everything he didn't own he announced that Santa would bring him. The kid is beyond entitled sometimes, and I secretly fear I'm raising a Dudely Dursley.

    DS gets a lot for Christmas and his birthday from his grandparents, so DH and I don't go all out by any means. We like to have a couple special presents, but that doesn't mean they have to be big presents. Due to travel and families, DS typically has two Christmas and two birthday celebrations. DH and I make sure he has something from us at each of those, and he gets something from Santa from us at one of his Christmases as well.

    This year we are having to explain that Santa cannot bring a whole bunch of gifts, because he has to fly all over the world in a sleigh, so there's not a lot of spare room.

    We really try to encourage the spirit of charity during Advent. We celebrate St. Nicholas Day, and DS is given charity money from St. Nick to buy a present for Toys for Tots. When DS is older, he can have a say in the charity he wants to support, but at his age, he grasps that some boys and girls don't have toys, so he gets to be a helper and pick out a toy for a boy or girl.

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  • we usually buy DD 1 big present, then a few smaller things. She gets plenty of gifts from both sets of grandparents and my aunt/uncle
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  • DS gets a ton of stuff for Christmas between my immediate and extended family and DH's family and extended family. We haven't in the past given DS gifts from us...just Santa gifts. In the past I let DS open a couple of toy items that he is really excited about or interested about. Then I put the rest away and pull them out throughout the year when he seems to get bored which his toys or when it is seasonally appropriate. We don't give him things throughout the year and he really only gets "spoiled" at Christmas and his birthday. He very rarely asks to anything when we are out and helps pick out gifts for others and loves to give gifts that he helped pick out. We are always good about thanking everyone and finding out who a gift if from before opening it. I have actually gotten compliments from friends and family about how patient DS is and how he loves to know who gifts are from before opening.
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  • This is a great topic!

    My DH and I found that even when we try to stay sane, the grandparents still go over-the-top and the kids still wind up with more "stuff" than they can ever play with.  If we don't also go all out, it just makes Santa look cheap.  We wind up buying stuff just so Santa can stay ahead of Grandma.  Ugh. 

    One way I've worked hard to combat this is by helping the kids stay psyched up about family togetherness and about giving at this time of year.  They get most excited about picking out and giving gifts to each other, so I really play this up.  We spend a long time planning what to get the other sibling.  I take each kid out on a special shopping trip to get the other kid's gift.

    This kind of helps to balance the "gimme gimme" feel that can develop around the holiday. 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • I don't but them toys throughout the year unless it's for a special occasion (birthdays or earning it some how), so I tend to go over board on Christmas for them.
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  • Our kids get 1-2 items from Santa plus their stockings. We buy them a couple things, and they'll each pick out something to get for each other. They definitely don't get everything on their list, but I do try to make sure they get the few things they want the most.
    Annalise Marie 05.29.06
    Charlotte Ella 07.16.10
    Emmeline Grace 03.27.13
  • I find it so difficult to NOT over-buy at Christmas time for the kids, but it's also REALLY important to me that they know Christmas is about a whole lot more than just 'stuff', so this year we're really focusing on keeping it simple. 

    In their stockings DD gets a movie and DS gets a game for his Leap Pad. Under the tree they each get a puzzle, a book, a toy, and an outfit. On Christmas eve they'll get new pajamas.  I like the idea "one thing they want. one thing they need. one thing to wear. one thing to read" as a guide.

    I also have to remember that my kids have lots of extended family around that often get them things too, so in the end it's ALWAYS more than enough. (I grew up far away from all my extended family, so at christmas presents only came from my parents.)

    Oh, and DS2, being only 6 months at Christmas and able to inherit all of DS and DDs old toys, will get new pjs, an outfit, and maybe one toy (stacking cups, maybe?).  

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  • We have a set budget, typically $100-$150. We too feel like less is more. After opening 3 or 4 presents, she's kind of done anyway. She wants to play with what she's already opened and doesn't want to open more presents.

    The grandparents tend to go overboard which really bothers us; we've spoken to them several times and asked that they just "take it easy" & explain how she's really content with the simplest things. At 18 mos. her favorite gifts were the socks in her stocking, lol. Last year it was the books. Sometimes they seem like they are competing with each other which makes it even worse. This is another reason we don't buy much because we know she's going to get way more stuff than she needs from the grandparents, aunts & uncles.

    We're actually already done shopping for her this year. We have 4 Santa gifts plus a few stocking stuffers. She also gets 1 present from mom & dad to open on Xmas eve- new pjs.

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  • DD and DS both have summer birthdays, we buy them toys/things they  need at both occasions-which happen to be 6 months apart. We do not buy any toys in between there-so they normally get a nice stash of gifts. 
  • We celebrate Hanukkah so its a gift a night for 8 nights.  We set a dollar amount on the girls and they typically get a new pair of PJ's/slippers and a toy or outfit.  Really depends on what they ask for.  I spend around $75 to $100 max on each of the girls.  My parents spend around $60 -$75 and the girls typically get socks (my mom's traditional gift that we have been getting every year since I was a kid) a toy and sometimes an outfit - this year my 6 year old is asking for a camera so that will most likely be her only gift from my parents).  We do a grab bag with my side of the family so that is one gift for each of us (so with just us and my side, we are already covering half or more of the nights).  They get an outfit from my DH's aunt and a toy or outfit from my SIL's (2 of them).  My ILS always go way overboard and we have a hard time all that they buy.  Some of the stuff is great but some is just junky.  DH asks them each year to limit what they get to a few items (we don't discuss what they spend) but my MIL never listens.   We stress donating older toys that are in the house around the time of the holiday and the kids have been great with that - we donate toys that are in good condition but the girls don't play with any longer and then they have room for the new toys.  My kids have gotten a ton of toys and clothes as hand me downs from older cousins so we have way to much in the house and we do a toy purge a few times a year (around Hanukkah and birthdays) and then donate them.  We also particpate in the local toys for tots events so they pick out a new toy and we have them take it to the donation point.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • imageLuhdashuh:
    Maybe I'm in the minority but I don't think it's Christmas that spoils kids but day to day that spoils kids.
    I agree with this.
  • Since DD has been born, we've kept Christmas light. She gets enough from her grandparents and other family members. This will be the first year that she'll really "get" the concept of Santa, but honestly I will not be encouraging her to make a list. She'll get one gift from Santa, one or two from us and then rest of her gifts she'll get from family. DS is a baby, so he'll probably just get a few books from us/Santa.
    S- March 09 E- Feb 12 L- May 15


  • I honestly could skip it all together. My dd hates Santa....
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  • We are doing four gifts... Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. 

     

     

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