Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Spending

One of my Facebook friends posted a status asking how much people spend on their children for Christmas. Now I'm curious as to how much all of you spend or have spent in the past! What did you buy? Why did you buy what you did?

For us we like to live clutter free. When we were married and had friends with children we would be shocked at the overload of toys that can take over someones home. I can understand having a designated area for toys, like a playroom but to have toys scattered about your entire home is just too much for either one of us. Not saying it's bad if you do this, just saying that we don't want this for our home.

Another thing is that we are firm believers that Annika (and soon Annabel) need to use their imagination while playing. Annika loves to color so I buy her crayons and paper, a lot! She also has some blocks and a lot of stuffed animals and TONS of books. We restricted TV for Annika until about 18 months old (our original plan was 2 years old but we started to allow a few TV shows on Nick Jr at 18 months and a few movies) and we plan on not allowing Annabel to watch TV or movies till at least 18 months old too which means Annika probably won't be watching anything for a while again which is fine, she's not too interested anyway.

Anyway, back to Christmas. For us we don't like spoiling with gifts. I am constantly told by people that know us how wonderful it is that Annika is spoiled with love and not material objects (totally not saying that it's wrong to do this, we just don't). For Christmas Eve this year she will get some Christmas pajamas and an Olivia Christmas DVD to watch with us before she goes to bed. On Christmas morning she will get 3 Olivia books that I bought her and a tricycle. That's all and honestly I feel like that's all she needs. We'll open the books first, probably read all three of them, then let her go out and ride around on her tricycle until we go to my aunt's house. I can't even figure out what I could spend $300-500 on for her for Christmas like some people do (so please leave a comment letting me know what you plan to buy, I'm really curious!)! I buy her clothes all year long so I don't plan on giving that as a gift and my family will probably buy her more clothes and maybe a toy or two so I don't really have anything else I could buy her.

I know that a lot of people do electronics for their kids when they're older too and that's another think that Josh and I both agree on not buying. We are both firm believers that if we survived childhood without something that our girls can too. We never owned video games or had our own TVs in our room (I got my first TV in my bedroom at my parents' house when I was 19 and bought it myself with my own money!). Again for us it's the whole imagination thing. Now once the girls start school I will be open to getting them a laptop if they do actually need one (our nephew is only 7 and actually needs one for school already!).

I'm totally not saying it's wrong to spend hundreds of dollars on your children. I'm also not saying that we aren't able to, I could easily go to Target right now and pick out a cart full of things for Annika and blow $500 but I just won't, it's not how we are. I guess we're just more simple than most!

I am curious though as to how other people are so please put let me know your input! I also plan to take some pictures this week of our house, which I've never done and been meaning to do since we moved in back in January, so you can see how clutter free we live and how our home isn't overrun with toys!


  1. when we were kids we played with your horse doll things. ;) do you remember that!?

  2. We try to go low key at Christmas and sometimes it works. This year they're only getting a few toys from us. My kids are 7 and 4. Maybe some Lego's for the boy and my daughter likes fairy's, so something like that. We did buy her a Nintendo DS this year mostly to play learning games. She doesn't use a computer or other video games, but they do use them in school. So more for learning games and it will grow with her as she gets older. That was our big purchase this year.

    Most of the toys and things come from their grandparents and no matter how much we tell them they don't need anything they just buy, buy, buy. I'm with you guys I can't stand having toys all over the house. As they get older it's getting better, but they really don't need that much and they don't play with everything anyways.

  3. Batman is very OCD so toys are in 2 places: brynnas room or an ottoman in our family room. We're an "everything has its place" kind of house :) we won't spend tons on b for christmas either. Grandparents do that enough so we are just getting her some Duplo Legos a couple books maybe a mr potato head set and we've been throwing around the idea of a tricycle too. And with that some of her toys will go up in storage or to goodwill (ones she doesn't play with anymore or has outgrown)

  4. we don't go crazy for Noah. My Mother in law does that for us! It really bothers me that she spends so much because half the stuff she gets is wasted because he only plays with it for a little bit and than throws it aside. She insisted she buy him a rocking horse for his 2nd birthday. I knew he wouldn't care for it but she insisted...she got it for him and it didn't even last a month. we kept that thing in the corner and it was only played with when he friends came over. I got tired of it and finally gave it to my friends daughter who LOVES it.
    What our Christmas budget for Noah is, is whatever we save in change for that year. Every year on January 1st we start saving all our change (pennies, nickels, and dimes) and we put it in his Ikea piggy bank. Dec 1st we crack it open and see how much we have. We saved $276 dollars in change over the year and that is more than we know what to spend! We bought him a bike- $70, 3 books-$20, a toothbrush like ours- $15, and a board game (hungry hungry hippos) for $5. we have no clue what else to get him because my mother in law has purchased 4 other items for him and one is a Vtech Innotab which I told her would be the only other thing WE would buy. Noah loves to play games on my smart phone, I hate letting him hold my phone and the Innotab is similar but is made for them and it will help him learn some things too.
    We don't do Santa in our house (for various reasons) and I do not want Christmas to be about the gifts at all. I grew up knowing Christmas was about cooking with the women in my family and spending time with everyone eating delicious food and having a good time around the tree.
    I'm so glad to see you feel this way too about toys. We are very minimal and our friends don't understand why...their kids have a massive amount of toys and they are still bored all the time. Noah can stay busy for hours playing cars and airplanes or helicopters. Our neighbors that moved in 4 months ago have 2 girls and when they weighed their moving truck they had a total of 20,000lbs of CRAP! who has that much stuff. I saw why when I went to their house....My oh galore!! every where you look. Crazy and money wasted....

  5. We don't let our daughter watch tons of TV either. She really only watches Sesame Street, and rarely she is allowed to watch other shows on PBS Kids. Other than that, she's only seen one movie, Cinderella, because she gets scared easily. So I am totally with you on that.
    Our issue is with her birthday and Christmas falling one day apart, it's hard. She doesn't get much during the year, so by this time, it's hard to not get fun things for her that she hasn't had any opportunity to get throughout the entire rest of the year. I do try to keep it under control, but it's hard. She is certainly spoiled with love and affection, but she is also going to have a bunch of toys under the tree; most of them are little Cars characters, and a few princess things; I probably spent about $250 on her total. I like toys that build imagination, too, so I don't buy her really anything that uses batteries. She has tons and tons of books and she colors some but she likes music more. Mostly she plays with her little cars and trucks and recently some princess dolls, but none of them do anything on their own; they all require her imagination. I admire your restraint!

  6. In our house we only have one tv, in the living room, and the kids are only allowed to watch when its not a school night, and in general we watch stuff together. Same with the Wii, we all play the sports games together. The playroom is for toys, although we do have a hidden bucket of legos under the coffee table. They are allowed a few small things in their room, and can't just leave stuff strewn about. We probably have 6 bookshelves full of books in various rooms.
    As far as Christmas goes...we celebrate Jesus' birthday first and foremost, but that being said, we do also do a pretty big Christmas, its how I grew up, Santa always left alot under the tree. There is a difference now, though, then when they were 2, as they get older and advance I can get cooler stuff that even I like playing with! Each year, each kid usually gets one "big" thing, a few mid, an a few small things. The small things are usually books, dvds, and board games. Its always stuff we will watch and play together. This year the "big" stuff is a laptop for the 11yr old, for school purposes. Sames rules will apply as they do for the tv, except when it is school related. She also got an ipod. She had a disney one, but it was crap. She's older and takes longer to settle down at night and likes to listen to music, but I can't have her keeping the other kiddos up. She got a few books, a dvd and a barbie. The middle one is 7, she got things like roller skates, a kid-friendly digital camera, barbie house, and interactive doll, kind of like baby alive. The youngest one is almost 6, he got a cars race track, v-tech laptop, some cars from the new cars movie, and a scooby doo playset, and a bike. They all did get books and board games. I try and find things that reflect their individual interest, as well as be things they can share and play together, as well as things we do as a family. I think I probably spent $800ish, some of that was the youngest birthday which is the 19th. I put money aside all year, so its not all at once. And while things like a laptop, ipod, and camera seem high-end, I definitley went low end and shopped for deals, like using ebay and google-shopping to get the best price. ipod was $55 new on ebay, and laptop was from Walmart, got the minimal memory, but a better processor, and it was $270.
    As far as imagination goes, toys are just some of the bulding blocks they use to imagine and create their own little worlds.