My best friend who is a new mom this year, and I were discussing shopping for Christmas presents for our kids. She told me Christmas shopping stresses her out more than anything else. It's hard to decide how much to spend.
I’ve also seen many people online asking how much is too much? If you Google the subject thousands of articles on the Internet appear. These numbers are arbitrary.
Social Media can also be a place where we figure out what we are comfortable giving our children. On, Social Media we can get mixed messages on what's appropriate.
You will read this every year on Facebook; someone will post a picture of the gifts for the children. Sometimes the picture is a room full of gifts. The comment section will be full of smart remarks.
You will also find people posting about how too many gifts can make other children feel bad. As a child, I never told everyone every present I ever got. I don’t recall my friends doing the same thing. I understand the intent was to help. For one to tell parents how they should label gifts is a little extreme. Unsolicited parenting advice comes off offensive.
You can’t win as a parent if you buy too many presents; people will say you’re spoiling your kids. If you don’t buy enough gifts, you are a crappy parent.
Parents facing financial difficulties that can’t afford gifts are going through enough. Concerns over providing for the kids can overwhelm someone. The added stress of the perception you're not doing enough can be devastating. Not to add many of these parents won't be able to provide for their own needs if they spend money on the kids. Many parents go without providing for their children.
My husband and I are in the same boat. The car needs new tires and an alignment. We need tires now. Which means we cannot buy gifts for one another. Plus we must work even harder to earn money for tires and an alignment.
The sad truth is no tires means no driving. No driving means we cannot get to work. I'm sure millions of parents face similar impossible decisions this time of year. Things break. Groceries or a doctor's appointment can put you in the red.
The Facebook post I shared made me laugh. When you're in a situation where you can't afford to buy presents for your kids that sentiment is bs. No one has the time or nerve to ask others to change how they label gifts.
More significant concerns exist in these situations. Putting food on the table is one of those concerns. People who do not understand say this.
This needs saying it does not matter how much money you spend on your child for Christmas it’s one day of the year. What you do every single day of the year matters not Christmas. If you teach your children to value what they have and to have gratitude, you won’t end up with a spoiled child. One Christmas will not ruin them.
We overlook the bigger picture Christmas is one day of the year. You need to use your judgment and discretion. After all you’re the one that knows best. If you know a gift will end up collecting dust, then don’t buy that or go ahead because you want them to be happy. It's your choice you are the parent.
I also see parents worry about providing gifts for the kids and their friends and co-workers. Worry more about what you’re spending on other people and not your kids. If you can afford gifts for the kids, but not everyone else then put your kids first if it pleases you.
Smaller children won't pout on Christmas morning they did not get what they wanted. At the dollar store one can get several presents for under $20, and I'm sure they will be happy.
The problem is not everyone can spare $20. Not everyone gets help from family or local food banks. The situation is not always that simple. If you work 18 hours a day and lack the time or gas to dive somewhere else. The choice is you risk your job for free food. Work will always win. Some people have no one to help. When you put that into perspective you should understand. What you spend once a year is not that important.
Another thing that makes people nervous is buying gifts for other peoples children. Ask the parents what they want. If the gift is too expensive, do not buy it.
But let’s be real here if you’re looking up how much to spend on presents you’re worried about spoiling your kids. Or you don’t have the money to buy the kids Christmas presents and are looking for comfort.
If you're the latter if the people in your life offer to help accept that help. Let your family and friends help you this year if that is an option. You could try local organizations like Toys For Tots. Sometimes getting help is hard because you can't take time off of work to pick the gifts up. Or the organization runs out of gifts. You will be ok. Things will get better.
If you're the former, I will not tell you how to spend money on your children. How much you spend is your choice. If you care enough to search you care and the likelihood is, you will not spoil your kids. Remember Christmas is one day. If you want your kids to understand money and possessions are not everything teach them that.
Last, do not compare yourself to anyone else all this holiday season. If someone shops the clearance isles at Target all year, they may buy a lot of gifts for under a hundred dollars. I used to buy things on clearance and save them for Christmas. A Facebook photo means nothing if we do not understand where the gifts came from.
Facebook sucks because a lot of parents will take a picture of the tree in the morning. When someone bought more than you did that can bruise your ego. It’s a no-win situation when you compare yourself to other people. So do not.
I can guarantee you as the parent of an adult child Christmas presents will not be held against you later in life. It might upset them on Christmas morning because they didn’t get a specific toy but they will get over it. I can tell you though they will not come back as adults and say you didn’t get me that Nintendo, and you ruined my life.
One must spend days, weeks, months, and even years, to spoil a child. We focus so much on the materialism of the season we forget that Christmas is one day of the year. We forget the most valuable gifts you give your child are not gifts a person can wrap.
If you like this post I suggest you read my post on surviving Christmas on a budget.
Are you a DIY’er? Read my four easy handmade gifts tutorial here.
Hosting this year. My post on Holiday dinner clean up tips is a must read.