As the holiday season is starting to wrap up, I have been noticing every thing other people have been buying their kids. I have seen some people spending as much as several hundred on one child with a cart full of big and small items. I have also seen some people buy just one or two items. It’s just one store, but when it’s a full buggy you can get a pretty good feel for how they shop. I do not compare myself to others, but I do try to make sure my kids fit into the area as best I can.
We didn’t have a budget, per se, but did have a rule this year that we would get several small but no big toys. We just don’t have the room in our small house right now for another huge toy and still have one or two play sets boxed up that haven’t been opened yet due to lack of space. We also knew, more than likely, we would get something big from a family member. Last year, we came home from his family’s house (alone) with our full size truck loaded with toys the girls were given so we decided then that we wouldn’t get much since the family gets them so much.
On the other hand, I read the 4 gift “rule”
“Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.” I think it’s a good principal, but always felt the need to get them more toys than just one.
We both are more materialistic by nature and we do own too much stuff. Since they see it from us, they are also becoming little consumers. I’d like to think we have hit that perfect balance. They opened gifts this evening after I got off work and loved everything they opened. We got them several small items that they will play with and we didn’t max out a single credit card nor did we break our bank. I would still love to know what that perfect balance is- between the year we maxed out two credit cards and the year we didn’t. Did we give them enough? Too much? I know it differs with everyone and I’m trying to remember from my childhood (I was an only child and would typically burn out by a certain number). My two year old seemed to get bored with opening by the fourth gift and we had to coax her to open the rest, my six year old loves the act of opening gifts so she finished the two year old’s for her.
It’s also making me think back a bit- how funny it seems now. Back when I was a child, I loved toys- and I loved having tons of toys at the end of the day. Today, I’m perfectly happy with the Starbucks gift card I got and the two tiny gifts from my kids. As you get older, priorities change. You go from wanting everything you see and giving a huge list to not being able to think of anything until after the holiday ends. My youngest’s birthday is in December and mine is in January- both of us within 3 weeks of Christmas, so that six week period wipes us out- both emotionally and financially. Luckily, since I’m the mom, the birthday isn’t as big a celebration as the child’s is so it’s not as draining.
What do you consider to be the right number of gifts to buy? I don’t necessarily mean a physical number. What is that perfect amount? Do they always have to be big or can they all be smaller? Is there a perfect amount or is it only based on the parents and the kids?