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How much is too much to spend on the kids at Christmas?

Posted by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 7:44 AM
  • 31 Replies

 I have 3 teens, one is my bio-son (19) and the other two are my step daughters (17 and 14)  My question is how much (relatively speaking) do people spend on each kid at Christmas.  I'm dealing with my DH's ex who wants to be the girls best friend and has already spent around $600 on each child. My son was raised a bit more realistic, and only wants what he needs, some new boots and a gift card for some new clothes. Is that sad or admirable?  All of us have been together for 7 years and I'm just trying to get an idea if I'm being too logical and rigid on this.  These kids have lost the whole concept of money.  What are some of your thoughts? 


by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 7:44 AM
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by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 8:09 AM
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600$ is rediculous, IMO. I usually do 100-200$ each child. They never complain. My oldest is 13, and this year he told me "I don't really care if I get presents this year, I mean I like them and I appreciate them but that's not what Christmas is about." I think it's admirable that your son only wants what he needs. In fact, I would be inclined to spend more on him than on the kids who seem greedy since he has such a good attitude about it. I don't think it's sad at all.
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by Bronze Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 8:55 AM
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 I spent about $400 and I have two kids. 

by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM

It's not the dollar amount, it's what you can afford, AND what they need/will use.  We generally spend more than that - sometimes not.   We only buy things they want/will use.  Sometimes that miight be a laptop or something like that.  It's well within our means, so it isn't even a big dent in our budget.  When we had a lot less money, they had less in gifts.

by Susie on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:03 AM
Depends on what you can afford without going in debt. We can spend a lot but we do not. We spend maybe $350 each on our 2 dd's. Sometimes less. I think even if you can afford $600 that is too much. I don't spend that on Christmas and Bday combined.
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by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:20 AM

It's too much if you have to be carrying the ability to purchase stuff as debt for any amount of time.

It's an expression of affection and knowledge of what will please them, that is commisserate with your affluence to some extent, in line with their friends and social mileau to some extent, and doesn't promote their materialism or a silver spoon mentality. Most people have a gut sense of what is too little and what is over the top.

I'd sit down privately with each kid or with them together and explain your thinking and general philosophy on your gifting, and then ask them what kinds of things did they have in mind, and have some examples for them that you had in mind. Like your son is thinking, it might be stuff they need, and/or experiences together that you could buy instead of tons of stuff, especially given the ex's over the top pile o presents.

by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I don't really 'set' a price. It's what I can afford, against what they asked for. 

Six hundred each is a little over the top though, but that's just me. Do what makes you comfortable, and within your means.

by Grumpy on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Wow.  You do what you can and if the girls don't get it, then too bad.  They are getting presents from both their mom and you so they get more anyways.

by Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM

IT all depends on what you can afford.  We usually spend around $600 for each and I have three.

by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:21 AM
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Admirable on your son's part!  What an awesome kid you have raised.  I am sure he will go far in life with the understanding that there is more in life than monetary things and appreciation for what you do have and are given is a true gift and blessing.  I am scared for what your SDs will end up like when they enter the real world and have to face the realities of our current society.  There is an aweome article/video on stepmom central about are you your childs friend or parent.  It addresses what you are seeing with your DH's ex.  I face the same thing on a daily basis.  My skids BM want to be their best friend and take them shopping at the mall at 13 and 9 every other weekend, cell phones, Victoria Secret bras and underwear, artificial nails, eyebrow waxing, on and on.  I want them to enjoy being kids, they will have to grow up soon enough.

We spent about $150 each on the skids for Christmas.  All together between all the families they get about 7 Christmases, so I don't see an issue with not going all out on our end.  BM on the other hand, I am sure, will once again spend as much as she can to win the title of "who loves you more."   We are also taking the skids on Christmas Eve out to the juvenile center in our county to help hand out Christmas presents to children in state custody in our county so the skids can see a little more how fortunate they are and how much they really have and maybe teach them some appreciation for what they are getting.

by Barbara on Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I'm not sure what is too much.

We spend about $200 on our kid, but he's the only grandchild in the family. So he probably does get somewhere around $600 in gifts total around the holidays. Despite that, he still never asks for that much during the holidays. Usually he'll ask for some gift cards, and then he'll spend it throughout the next year.

I go more by the rule of thumb that if your kid acts entitled and like a spoiled brat, that's when the amount you are spending on them becomes an issue.

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