How much do you think you should spend on a 3year old for christmas?

User - posted on 09/10/2012 ( 47 moms have responded )

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recently i made a comment to my mom that ive almost finished my xmas shopping i just had to buy my son the ford f150 power wheels truck when she asked how much i had spent i said $1500 and she freaked saying it was way too much for a 3year old. My son has college fund, my husband just brought him an ipad yesterday and a month before an xbox so he does get presents other then xmas. He doesn't act spoiled and is wonderful with sharing. When i was growing up we had extremely extravagant Christmas's, nothing that i could afford with my son. My husband on the hand got 1 toy maybe 2 if he was very lucky and no stocking!



So am i going over the top?? what is considered the normal amount?

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Jodi - posted on 09/10/2012

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Yeah, $1500 is a lot......it might raise his expectations for his 21st. No kid needs that many toys. I have a limit of $250 (or thereabouts) for each of mine for birthdays and Christmas. We went over that the year my step-daughter got her first car - we paid for half of it. But that's a bit of an exception. Unless you are really quite wealthy, I think you are setting yourself up for trouble later.



Besides, if you buy him all the trinkets now, what's he going to want when he is 15? His Mercedes Convertible? It's not good for children to give them everything. It's important to make them earn some of those things, or at least appreciate the value of the gift.

Jodi - posted on 09/14/2012

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"He worked really hard in all his lessons (i homeschool) and so he got the ipad, my husband made it a point to tell him if you work hard you will get a present, it was the same with the xbox he worked hard and listened for a certain period of time and so he got his xbox."



You couldn't just buy him a Thomas the Tank Engine or something? He's 3......he doesn't need an xbox as a reward for school work. Actually, he's 3. He doesn't need to be at school.

Dove - posted on 09/10/2012

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I've never spent more than about $350 total on my kids for Christmas.... and there's 3 of them. ;)



An ipad and an xbox for a three year old?! Yeah.... I'm going to back slowly away from this post now. lol



I will say that I know people that spend $1000 on their kids for Christmas (3 kids) and I think that is just crazy.

Stacey - posted on 09/12/2012

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Honestly? I rarely spend over 400 total for my 3.. I had one year when they got a barbie jeep..



Usually I keep it to:

I want...

I need..

I'll wear

i'll read..



but I REALLY REALLY REALLY would like santa to bring me....





I then work off that list..

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/12/2012

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I'm on the side of those saying it's a bit much. And, I'll come right out and say it, what in the world are you trying to accomplish by getting him an ipad and xbox at three years old? What you will succeed in doing is creating a child that refuses to do anything but sit and play games, never want to get any physical activity, and expect more and more as he grows up.



And, mind you, mine are 14 & 18, and the absolute most we've ever spent on either of them for Christmas was $600 each, but that was the year that they were given formal wear (as they'd requested), and a cello (also requested, but only requested assistance in purchasing it, not us footing the entire bill) If they want a high dollar item, such as an xbox, THEY purchase it with money they've earned.



I also agree with Jodi. If you've already bought him the rest, then are you ready to dish out big for the "milestone" years (16, 18, 21)? You're setting the gate pretty high at 3 years old. As much as I really cringe to say this, but I agree with your mother.



Now, if you don't want grief from her, then when she asks those questions, you tell her its none of her business, which it really isn't, unless she's bankrolling your finances.

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Juliannemarie - posted on 09/15/2012

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A 3 year old doesn't need such extravagant things. An iPad...xbox...thats just over the top. If they have too much stuff..wheres the room for imaginative play? I think too many toys and electronics hinders the creative side of children. I only have the bare minimum when it comes to toys for my daughters. They have plenty of fun without tons of stuff. My 3 year olds favourite thing right now is a box we cut a hole in and put construction paper all over then coloured. She puts it on her head and its her robot face. She runs around with a toy wand and she's a fairy robot.

Aside from that, think about the impact on the environment. How much pollution is the result of creating this stuff? Your eating up the worlds resources to make him happy, well he wont be too happy when we run out of clean air.

User - posted on 09/15/2012

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@ mel: I get where you are coming from but you are completely out of line and rude saying 'hes going to grow up a spoilt brat'. The reason i wasn't sure was because i got loads for christmas, and I was never spoilt. He got a trampoline last year, and has lots of outside toys. Thank you though for replying.

Mel - posted on 09/15/2012

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That's nuts. How will he ever learn the value of money and learn that he has to save for something if he wants it. I would spend probably $100 to $150 on each of my girls and that's plenty. He may be good at sharing but he's gonna grow up a spoilt brat. 3 year olds don't need ipads or xboxes. Than in itself is nuts. He's a kid, buy him a trampoline.

Cindy - posted on 09/15/2012

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I personally think you spend way too much on Christmas for a child so young, but that is only MY opinion. And I also am on a limited budget, so that does play a role in it :) I do like to get gifts that my kids will enjoy, but over the years I learned that they only have so much free time to play with such gifts before the next fad comes along. My 13 and 14 year old daughters prefer to get gifts that are on-going throughout the year. A gift card to the movie theater, a magazine subscription, wristbands to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America and passes to the Waterpark of America. They can only keep so much clutter so they really do enjoy the gifts that turn into an outing as a family. And those memories made with a day together doing something special are usually more important to them than just some stuff that will get boring over time.

Amanda - posted on 09/15/2012

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I have cousins who had Xboxish toys before 5 I thought it was strange but to each their own.... It is very dependent on the families income and saying it is ridiculous is judgmental. If I could afford it I would spend thousands at Christmas..... Sadly I have to be more restrained...lol. I see nothing wrong with going all out for Christmas no one knows what can or will happen and giving your kids memories of over the top Christmases as kids is good.... Who knows if it will continue or how long.....

Rowanna - posted on 09/15/2012

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OK guys- lets leave the "drug" conversation out. Focus on whats important- how we can help this lady find how much money is too much.

Nicole - posted on 09/15/2012

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Another thing is its usaully more then one reason for why kids/ adults starts taking drugs

Nicole - posted on 09/14/2012

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I didnt say just that I said or. Nd ur right there are kids that do drugs that come from loving families . Kids do drugs form all sorts of reasons pain pair pressure, trouble at home not stronge enough to say no want to escape the list goes on and on you could do all the research there is but theres such a big viraty that really the research should be inconclusive! But if you want to believe the research the main thing is troubles/ unloving household

Amy - posted on 09/14/2012

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Lots of children have had drug problems that come from very loving and supportive homes. please do the research

Nicole - posted on 09/14/2012

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At Amy REALLY telling her that her child will turn to drugs because she spoils her kid is to much!!! Kids dont turn to drugs if they are spoiled tp much or barely have anything! They turn to drugs bc they are not either brought up right or from lack of love !!!!

Rowanna - posted on 09/14/2012

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wishuponahero is a wonderful websit if you are looking for families who need help with christmas ans sometimes other things like paying bills, rent, birthday cards for their kids- just a suggestion. good luck to you.

Dove - posted on 09/14/2012

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Jodi and Diana make excellent points. Perhaps you could 'adopt' a few kids (Compassion International is a GREAT organization to do this from) and involve your son in 'writing' the kids letters and stuff.



'Our' little girl lives in Peru and just turned 8 this week. All of my kids made her birthday cards and they realize that even with how broke WE are.... there are so many kids out there that quite literally have nothing and in comparison WE are 'rich'. I think it helps them when they want what their friends are getting, but know that they won't be able to get it.



Just an idea. :)

Rowanna - posted on 09/14/2012

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I gotta say you are spending too much. First off, the kids won't be able to play with ALL of these toys. Its ok to have an estravagant christmas but you need to have a limit. Second of all, you are spoiling them and they are going to expect it every year. Its ok that you can because you may very well be well off, but by spoiling them with toys what they really need most is your time and attention. I love spoiling my kids especailly suring christmas, but they don't remember half of the toys and don't appreciate it as I would like them because of their ages-8 and 6. Teach the kids to give a toy away to a needy cause for a child you will not have a christmas. Spend the money on you or keep it for a rainy day. One day the kids will appreciate the toys they get and thats when you spend your limit on them. Rermember giving is caring and I always tell people to please, please give to someone who cannot provide for their kids. Every christmas I adopt a family. This year, I am taking the kids to a oup kitchen so they can understand how some kids aren't as lucky as they are. God bless your family. You are a wonderful mom. They don't need the toys for them to know it. HUGS***

Jodi - posted on 09/14/2012

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You know, Diana has a really good point. Maybe you should get him involved in purchasing gifts for wishing trees and charity and use the money that way. That way, while Christmas is still involving lots of gifts, it is about the spirit of giving rather than receiving. Give him the opportunities to make OTHERS happy through your good fortune that you can afford $1500 for Christmas.

Diana - posted on 09/14/2012

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For a 3 yr old tops 350.00 especially with him being three. I have three children and I would love to keep it under 600.00. If you start these expectations now what will be expected of you when he is 10 or 15. My kids rearly get any gifts outside B-Days & Christmas and if they it's because they have earned it by good grades or really good behavior and my limit would be 20.00. So yes I think 1500 is a lot to spend especially on a three year old. You could have taken him to Disney for the weekend for that amount!! And I won't get into the children out there who don't even get gifts because there parent can't afford it or just get 1 or 2 items.......

Amy - posted on 09/14/2012

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Studies have shown that children that receive a lot of material items have higher incidences of drug abuse. So you really might want to think twice on how things affect them in the long run. People get a small high when getting new things and as they get older its never enough

Susan - posted on 09/14/2012

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.....just a note on the "with your child 24/7" , I owned a daycare when my first of three children were born. I didnt want anyone watching my child and I had SEEN the way daycares were run from being employeed there when I was younger.

Being with our children 24/7 and not letting anyone watch them is not always a good thing. They suffer in social development/social skills and learning to play.... and this is a time when your son should be learning those social interaction skills and also THIS is the age that they learn to trust that "WHEN MOMMY LEAVES, SHE COMES BACK". I am now a child development professional and I tell you, the first day of PreK if that is a chosen path or the first day of Kindergarten is going to be culture shock. He will adapt to it faster and better than you will. Children have got to go thru seperation anxiety at a young age to learn to trust that you always come back, even if you need to leave him for 30 minutes to begin with, ...with a TRUSTED friend or in a church's MOM"S DAY OUT program.

.....Then there is the issue of the MOTHER and her seperation anxiety. Most mothers do not think thier child (mostly the first child) can survive with out her. Wrong.

It is usually the mother who is dependent on the child for validation as a mom, woman, etc... depending on them for affection, unconditional love and complete dependence that this LIFE cannot do anything without "US" if we are not there by their side as mother's.



On that note, even tho I owned my own daycare, yet I made a choice to enroll my child in a half-day program at a private church school. I did that because tho I loved being with her all day and having the complete ability to do so.... I realized that when I walked out the door to check the mail during the day, she had to go with me. (just one of MANY examples) -

The first day she was a little scared or shy.... THE SECOND DAY... she walked away from me at the door as I waited for the KISS goodbye. That kiss never came that day. The door closed and I realized as I climbed in the car to leave from dropping her off... I am the one who had the issue and she was going to be just fine. It is a hard lesson to learn and this may be a hard "comment" to read or digest because mom's need to "defend" their reasoning behind why, what, where, how... etc ... when it comes to their children and how they are raising them.

Usually that is the first sign that something is not right somewhere. -just an observation.

Dove - posted on 09/14/2012

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I am the one that commented about the activities and I wasn't judging. Just wanting to get a clearer picture in my head.... which I mentioned in my post. She gave it and I have no issues with it. :)

Lady Heather - posted on 09/14/2012

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Some kids like lessons. I'd have put my daughter in more things if they weren't all at the same time of day. Currently she does preschool and ballet and we will add swimming later in the fall. There will probably be skating in the winter. I wanted an art class too but there was a conflict with ballet. She's three too. I get where you are coming from in that regard. I don't understand the judgment of the activities! I mean if your kid isn't interested in organized things, fine. My kid happens to like going to a class with some other kids in a ballet outfit so she can dance around. She'd probably do that every day if she could. Ha.

Tanya - posted on 09/14/2012

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We have a tradition in my house, we buy toys all year long and put them up til Christmas then donate them to the Toys 4 Tots. I think my son get more joy out of giving to the needy than getting a lot of toys for himself. When he was 3 years old he heard a commercial for Toys 4 Tots and he is the one who came up with the idea. About the most I've spent on Christmas for him is $200.

Elfrieda - posted on 09/14/2012

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@Sarah

You can lock the thread if you're done. Go to your original post and there's a button you can press to make it so nobody else can comment. Just in case that's helpful.

User - posted on 09/14/2012

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@Jodie, i put the post up to get some idea of how much i should spend on my son and now i have an amount that is right for my family, my son enjoys doing his lessons. I didn't ask views on if it was ok to buy my son rewards for working well. Kids start preschool at 3 and in england they do half days in school at 3. I grew up in england, so i feel like lessons for son is fine.

User - posted on 09/14/2012

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@ dove yes he does fine on some days we go from violin to swimming but hes fine with it or swimming then teakwando. We have a routine that we follow everyday. i'm a complete nightmare i have structure, structure, structure, but for my family it seems to working great. Hes also fine when things change, i.e like when my parents are in town hes fine with the change.

Stifler's - posted on 09/14/2012

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I'm not sure. I don't buy much for christmas because they get stuff all year round whenever they need it. Pretty sure I spent about $100 each maybe less.

Dove - posted on 09/13/2012

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He's your kid and it's your right to do what you want and $500 doesn't sound too bad... I'm just trying to understand the whole picture here (really I am... cuz I have a 4 year old and I'm just not getting this... different worlds I guess...lol).



He's 3 and you home school. What kind of lessons could he be working hard enough on to 'earn' an ipad? He's home schooled and in swimming and several other activities.... and he's not 'burnt out'? My kid must be a 'wimp' then cuz with preschool and soccer he's having more than enough right now. I'm just glad that soccer ends soon, so he'll be just down to preschool. ;)

User - posted on 09/13/2012

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@ELISHA, I'm with my son 24/7 no one has ever watched my child, my cousin watched him once for 1hour while i helped my aunt move some furniture to a new house. I love my son and am extremely attentive to his needs. He loves to read by himself and with me. I also don''t like people with that entitlement attitude. My son doesn't get anything if he doesn't work for it. He worked really hard in all his lessons (i homeschool) and so he got the ipad, my husband made it a point to tell him if you work hard you will get a present, it was the same with the xbox he worked hard and listened for a certain period of time and so he got his xbox.



I think for my family a good amount would $500 from everyones comments. Which im grateful for all of them.

Elisha - posted on 09/13/2012

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Wow, it's got to be nice to have that kind of cash to splash on your kid! My husband and I are poor and do what we can for our daughter, who doesn't have anything to complain about in lifestyle. She gets a few toys she can call her own and she's happy as a clam! I think less is more, I'd like her to be a reader and one who can entertain herself with her imagination just because I think those are the best kids to talk to. It doesn't matter how much you spend on your son, if you're substituting stuff for love there's a problem, but if he's getting plenty of love the only risk is having a child who bores easily and doesn't appreciate what he has, simply because he's always had the best and the most. I would say you're at risk for raising a little boy who doesn't work hard or get a head of steam on him about anything, children who are spoiled have a sense of entitlement about them that I can't stand, the world owes them something on a silver platter. Your son would be just as happy with playdoh, if not more so.

Lady Heather - posted on 09/12/2012

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I don't know if there is a normal amount. We don't spend what I find to be an extravagant amount, but we like to buy a quality toy that will last and be well used. So this past year we got our 2.5 year old a wooden kitchen. It was $200. She had some stocking stuffers and bits and bobs (mostly books andclothes that she needs anyways) that probably added another $100.



$1500 for one kid seems like an awful lot to me though at that particular age. My husband makes well up into the six figures and I would find that hard to justify unless I was getting something really really needed (like the cello example - I could see myself getting the kids a nice piano one Christmas...also for me...hehe). I don't think there's anything wrong necessarily with spending more money. But you don't have to buy EVERYTHING. The iPad can definitely wait. lol. Pick a quality well loved item and focus on that and balance it with some random acts of Christmas kindness (you can google for fun things to do with your kids to help others). There's nothing wrong with enjoying your good fortune so long as you teach your kids that they are lucky and have to work hard and always help others.

Dove - posted on 09/12/2012

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Swimming, taekwando, and violin all for a 3 year old? And he does ok with all of that?

User - posted on 09/12/2012

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I see your point on PE aspect but my son goes swimming three times a week and does teakwando. I also make it a point to start morning off with some light yoga to get us warmed up for the day. He has commits such as his violin lessons twice a week and the ipad is great for travel.

Michelle - posted on 09/12/2012

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I usually spend $100 per bday and about $200 each at Christmas (we have 2 little girls 2yo and 4yo) but they both have iPads :). They do get occasional small things throughout the year. The iPad is actually great. They have learned tons of things from it and it is a life saver for travel!! Good luck. It is all personal preference.

Elfrieda - posted on 09/12/2012

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It's interesting to see your point of view. My husband and I are not hurting for money at all, it's not really a consideration, but for my son's 3rd birthday in December we have already bought a figure 8 train set from IKEA ($20) and for Christmas he'll get a puzzle with characters from his favourite book ($3 from a second-hand store) and I think my husband is making him more wooden blocks to add to his set. Maybe we'll get/make him a floor mat with roads on it, too, for his cars. (Also I always give him a book for Christmas and birthday.) I've heard that some people have a tradition of new pajamas and slippers for the whole family on Christmas, which I think I'd like to pick up, too.



In my mind, that's plenty. I think he'll be happy as can be, and I hate the idea of our house drowning in toys. We already have so many, I don't even know how they all got here. Also, his favourite toys are not very expensive: his dump truck, a small trowel, and our poor mutilated lawn and gravel driveway. (the boy needs a sandbox!)



On the other hand, I don't think it will harm your son if he doesn't act spoiled and is wonderful with sharing, as you say. Just so you or he don't get into the idea that it's NECESSARY to be extravagant to have a good Christmas or a good life. That's definitely a trap I see people fall into and one we're trying to avoid.

Sherri - posted on 09/12/2012

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I spend about $400-$500 per child that is it. $1,500 is plain ridiculous imo. Also my kids get NOTHING other than needs such as clothes and shoes the entire year other than their birthday party no gifts from us, Easter some trinkets and some candy and only are allowed to ask for 3 things from Santa so Santa tries to get those three items, plus their stocking and then they get a few things from mom & dad.



I find they appreciate what they have so much more because their wants are heavily thought out and usually something they have been pining for all year long.



An IPad & an XBox for a 3yr old??? Really??? I have no words.

Susan - posted on 09/12/2012

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I've found with my three children, (who are now 17, 11& 9) that making them happy on Christmas morning is not so much about spending lots of money on them as it is about them having lots of presents to open. They dont care if its bubbles, crayons, markers, crazy straws, watercolors, craft items, decorated pencils (like the ones that have glitter or snowmen on them), etc.... I make it a point to get each of them ONE big item they can all utilize, i.e. The Wii game system -then I get them each ONE or TWO "big" items (depending on price) that they want. Last year they wanted bicycles-that was their individual large gifts. The year before that, the 2 younger children each got a NintendoDSi. My oldest daughter got a Kindle Fire. ....then they got all the little things that came from the Dollar Store/Walmart, that I spent MAYBE $25 per child on and they were ecstatic because they opened tons of gists.

However, I also take them each to pick an "Angel" from the tree for under privileged children. (Just a note here so there is no misunderstanding, I am a single mom, full time student,& live in public housing...so I do not mean any disrespect by the "under privileged" description.)

It is important for me to teach my children to give to others because the meaning of the season, other than the birth of Christ, is to give. We may not have everything we WANT, but we have everything we NEED..... and there are children & adults who dont have basic essentials.

They find so much joy picking out the items that the "Angel's" requested!! More so than I could imagine.

I hope there was useful information in this lil part of our familys tradition.

Many blessings ~

[deleted account]

I would say yes that is over the top. I mean you just said that in the past few months you got your 3 year old a $600 iPad and a $400 xbox... then on top of it you spent $1500 on something that kids out grow by age 5! I see it as a waste of money. At least the other two presents he can grow into... although I don't see why a 3 year old needs their own for either.



I would say normal is around 200-300 total for Christmas. We spend $100 per child, but in their cases their birthdays are right before Christmas, so that is another $100 each.

Amanda - posted on 09/12/2012

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I personally think it's abit much for a 3 yr old.

We spend a maximum of $150 each and that includes stocking fillers. They get one main present and few other smaller bits to open. Thats more than enough for my 4 and 3 yr olds.

Gwen - posted on 09/12/2012

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I usually spend about $100 for birthday and $200-$250 for Christmas (and that includes other things like clothes and books). Other than the occasional treat of a new book, paints, etc. she doesn't usually get new toys the rest of the year.

User - posted on 09/11/2012

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Thinking back to my childhood Christmases the toys I remember loving the most were not the most expensive things, it was the basic things like dolls.



We don't spend a huge amount on presents, although we have a big family, so they get plenty.

S. - posted on 09/11/2012

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Hi Sarah, the first year I split from my oldest daughters father I knew he wouldn't bother so I over bought for her I spent around the Mark of £900, iv always been a big buyer at Xmas I love the thrill and excitement coming from the kids but that year when i set all the presents out I'd usually feel giddy and excited, I felt sick to the stomach, all them presents on one kid when other kid don't get anything. the pile was huge it took ages to open on Christmas morning from that moment I vowed I would never do that again. She's 13 now and her best Christmas memorie wasn't all those presents her best memorie was when i walked across her bedroom floor and a toy magic wand made a twinkly sound, she asked me what the noise was and I said it was a elf making sure she was being good! For years she believed she had heard a elf and thats what kept the magic going.

I have 3 kids now and apart from not wanting to go mad on them, I don't have the room and I'm running out of things to buy them. I'll probably spend between £200-£300 maybe less yet.

User - posted on 09/11/2012

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thanks all, you guys have helped me. I honestly had no idea what a good amount was but ive now got a good idea. Thank you for your kind manner

[deleted account]

I guess it depends on how much money you earn. To the wealthy, $1500 would seem like nothing. To me, that would be money to do some repairs around here that we can't afford at the moment. It's hard to put a price on it though, because if your son gets lots of use and enjoyment from his truck and if it lasts him many years then it is probably money well spent. We payed $200 for a Ben 10 hummer for our son a couple of years ago and it just sits in the shed, barely used and gathering dust. I consider that was a waste of money, but how can you tell if the child will like what he's getting before he gets it?

What I am trying to say is it's really a personal thing. You spend what you can afford and what you are comfortable with. I probably spend about $200 per child at Christmas and the same for their birthdays. But again, it really depends on our finances at the time.

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