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How do you tell your child that you can't afford Christmas gifts ?

My husband and I have recently gotten laid off and we get only enough unemployment to pay our bills. It breaks my heart to have to choose between paying bills and gifts....... Is anyone else in this situation and how are you handeling it ? Of course I know I have to pay the bills....... so no gifts................ (crying) ............


Asked by suelo74 at 8:44 PM on Nov. 27, 2010 in Money & Work

Level 16 (2,334 Credits)
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Answers (16)
  • When I was 6 years old, my mother could not afford gifts. She had just left my father and had just found a full time job. She made the day a fun one for us. We made noodle ornaments, yarn dolls for each other, played games and just listened to Christmas music (we didn't have a TV, we couldn't afford one at that time). She also had given us an alarm clock that had been given to her by a friend of hers. My mom worked 7 to 3 and had to leave our house at 6:30. Up to that point she was calling us to wake us up for us to get dressed and go over to the neighbor's house for breakfast and for her to walk us to school.
    I can honestly say, that still ranks as one of the best Christmas's I have ever had. It wasn't the gifts that made that Christmas, it was just the feeling of togetherness.

    Answer by layh41407 at 9:04 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Look into signing up for toys at a local toy drive. DHS has a program to give gifts to those who would otherwise go without. I know my parents did this when I was a child. GL!

    Answer by BisketLiss at 8:47 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • I would make it a fun family day. Bake cookies, watch a Christmas movie, go to the park... The memories you make will last far longer than any toy ever will. I'm not really big on giving lots of gifts. I feel like the holiday should be spent more on getting the family together and celebrating the birth of Jesus. You can have an awesome Christmas without all the bells and whistles that the materialistic mainstream insists that you must have!

    Answer by fireeyes81 at 8:48 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Do you have family that could take up the gift slack? Maybe allow you to pretend the stuff was from you/Santa?

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 8:59 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • I'd be making it a fun family day too! Baking cookies, taking a walk to look at the Christmas lights, playing board games, listening to Christmas music, popping popcorn, all that sort of stuff.
    It's perfectly possible that this won't be the only lean Christmas. We're teaching our children much more when we teach them how to make the best of a situation and how to find the good, instead of just looking for someone to solve the problem for us.

    Answer by aliceinalgonac at 9:00 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Also check out Freecycle on the yahoo groups page. There is usually one for each county or town. You can put a wanted ad up for toys and people will contact you with some you can pick up for free (provided they have any). I would also check out your local Salvation Army. Last year I went their and found a 3 pc. wooden kitchen set for $10 for my son. It was his favorite gift. They have things very cheap if you only have a few dollars to spend. Good luck I am sure you will come up with something to put under the tree!

    Answer by Amellor1 at 10:43 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • can you look on craigslist for something affordable?

    Answer by beckygeiger at 8:57 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • my hubby was laid off last night i always new this would happen ,so i saved all my small change a put it in a jar ,even if you could put $1.00 aside at the end you will have enough, you can also make gifts sew,knit , and you need to sally ann they can help you with gift basket plus help with gift for your son,please don't tell him kids need to think that santa is reel ,he wont' understand and yes he will be hurt
    and hang in there you are not alone

    Answer by dutchcanadain at 9:14 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Check craigslist or look for people giving away free toys. Also I know I just donated a lot of stuff to a friends church that gives stuff away for free. Look at local resources as well. And if you can scrounge up 2 or 3 dollars then head to the dollar store they actually have some decent stuff for only a $1

    Answer by andria82 at 9:27 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • awwww...I am so so sorry this would break any parents heart. If they are young you can get away with a few cheap gifts. Have you signed up for the angel program or something similiar?

    Answer by hill2 at 10:16 PM on Nov. 27, 2010