I don't think it is up to anyone to decide whether somone has spent too much or not enough. For me personally, $500 worth of gifts holds the same value as $20 worth of gifts.
In our family christmas is about giving. It's not about the value or the content. It's about the thought.
That being said we have bought our 4, 6 & 18months old a bike each. The big kids were $89 and the toddlers was $20.
We have bought them 1 present each for under the tree from us. They aren't expensive but they are gifts that we know they will LOVE.
Then they have a stocking with small gifts. Electric toothbrush, pj's, block of chocolate etc.
We don't have a budget. It's based on what the kids want and will actually play with. So if there was a toy they really wanted that was $500 and I knew it would get used then I would happily buy it, but if there is a toy that is only $5 and I know it will soon be forgotten, then nope, won't get it.
This year I spent about $250 in total on all 3 kids.
The older 2 have 6 or 7 to unwrap, doodle bear, Lego, new drink bottles etc.
Youngest has 4, drink bottle, a couple of Thomas trains and a dress up costume.
Anymore then that to unwrap and I know the excitement would wear off and toys would not get played with.
I think I have spoilt DS this year, and I'd love to give you a reason for it. Tough year, hardly any family but really- I just get a little excited! 8 days!
I try and stick to the formula
Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read
From Mum and Dad.
From Santa, they get one present. It's the way My parents did it for me and my siblings as a child, because as my Mum says "Why should Santa get the credit for all the good stuff?"
Being that the boys' birthday was in Oct and they were spoilt rotten, I'm really stuck on presents this year and have hardly got anything so far. Especially the something to wear, as they have enough clothes.
I will get the a book pack each from Aus Post because I like that you get 4 great books for around $20 (Pamela Allen, Graeme Base etc)
I've got their Santa presents- a blow up wading pool and a slip and slide. DP wants to get them each a remote controlled car, so that will be their something they want.
So I just need to get them something they need, which I think will have something to do with starting Kinder next year.
As for your questions OP, I believe you're doing a great job. If they are getting things they are interested in, and will use often then it's not a waste. You're not giving presents just for the sake of giving them, so it's not too materialistic.
It's hard to put a dollar value on how much is too much, because sometimes quality gifts can be expensive. Eg I looked into getting the boys a DS each this year, but it would have cost me $500 before I even bought games. That's just for a console each. So you can spend a whole lot of money and not receive 'much', or alternatively you can spend a small amount of money on just crap
My 20 month old ds is getting
(and probably his ultimate treat... A box of yogurt coated sultanas)
from us he is getting some sand toys, a magna doodle, a slide, a book and a ride on chuggington toy.
he also recently got a big boy bed and accompanying room makeover (not that he cares).
he is the only little one on either side of the family and gets spoilt so I don't want to get him too much.
I just wrapped up my DDs presents and I am disappointed tat I didn't stick with my original plan and have bought too much.
She is getting
A plastic ten pin bowling set
A hula hoop
A play dough set
A ken Barbie (she currently as girl only babies)
A Dora cookbook with a little apron and chef hat
Dollhouse 'cooking utensils'
A very hungry caterpillar melamine dinner set
A set of puzzles
A threading board set
From Santa (will all be in her Santa stocking)
My little pony pajamas
A Christmas little sister Barbie
And probably a bag of jelly Lollies and a candy cane
DH and I both said buying lots of stuff is stupid for Xmas and we didn't want to set a precedent od DD expecting lots of presents and yet that's what we did. I think we spent between $200-230.
I know she is getting art stuff from her great grandmother, littlest pet shop from my mother and DH parents will go nuts as usual even though we have told them not to buy a million things, so far I know she is getting a blow up pool as they asked us to pick one that works for our small backyard.
Starting to think I should put some of it away or her birthday.
She has very little toys at the moment as we did a big cull before we moved and she has outgrown a lot of stuff and we have put it away for our next bub. So I'm in two minds because I don't want her to expect lots at every Xmas but I also don't want her to get lots of toys 'just because' either because the she will expect stuff all the time.
DS is getting an easel (handmade), art materials (paints, pots, brushes, canvases), Thomas DVDs, go cart, 2nd hand bike that I've fixed up for him, new outfit and underwear, and some books from me. Spent less then $200 on him this year.
I felt ill reading how much some children are getting. (this isn't a judgement on anyone. Just a personal feeling.)
I abhor excess. I have no issue culling my wardrobe, or stuff in the house. I hate clutter and waste. It's totally how I was raised, as well as my personality. Ever since I was a baby, we would often go back to my mother home town in a developing country. So yeah. Poverty wasn't that long ago for me. Dp also says my family are cold, and that's true. They don't get excited about Christmas. Dp and I do, but more the tradition side rather than the gift side.
Confession: I kinda resent people who give us cheap and crap gifts that are totally not us. I'd rather they made me a card, to be honest.
I prefer to make and receive gifts. A friend screen printed a top for dd and it was my absolute favorite. I like practical or unique.
Dd is two. She wants balloons for Christmas. I got her a skirt I made, a millefiori necklace I made, and a tutu from target. I'm toying with the idea of giving them to her later, as on Christmas day I expect she will be overwhelmed.
I'm not a total grinch. I buy her little gifts throughout the year. Like today I came home with a headband for her, because I've started wearing them and she likes to copy me. If she doesn't wear it, I will sometimes if I get something, ie, necklace or hair clip or bracelets for myself I tell her its for her we are forever raiding each others jewellery boxes (expensive or breakable stuff are all stashed else where.)
Other toys I get her throughout the year are finger puppets or hand puppets- her older cousins of both genders love playing with them, so I know they will have a long life span for her... Plus future children we might be lucky enough to have, so I can see these toys having a long life span I also pick up beads when spotlight has them marked down for a dollar.
For her march birthday dp and I are making her a play kitchen, and she's getting a dolls house. I'm also modifying an old miniskirt of mine for her to wear- its all sequins and lace and frills, she will love it
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DD is 2.5 and is getting a trampoline from us. From Santa is getting:
- a mini clothesline
- a puzzle
- a book
- a couple of other small things I can't remember.
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