Christmas Shopping for a big family.

Pepper - posted on 09/14/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I'v started picking up a few things here and there. I just had my 5th baby she is 7 weeks old. I'm not sure what to do with my budget and lists. How do you keep track of what your getting for everyone? How do you stay on budget? What are your plans?

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Katy - posted on 10/05/2009

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We have 5 children as well ranging in age from 17 months to 7 years old. Two Christmas' ago, we did the majority of our shopping at Toys R Us and spent way too much. This past Christmas, money was a little tighter so we set a budget of $100 per child. Sometime in November, Wal-Mart puts out a toy book. I get one for each kid(minus the baby) and write their names on their book and tell them to go thru and circle everything they want. (believe or not, they DIDN'T circle everything). After a few days of letting them look it over, I took them and told them I was going to send them to Santa so he would know what to get them. I then took a notebook and wrote, on a page for each child, what they wanted and how much it cost. When I went to Wal-Mart, I took the notebook and would mark off what I got them and on another page I would keep track of how much I spent on each child so I would know when I reached the $100 limit. I would try to get them more smaller items because they were cheaper unless I knew it was something they really wanted and it was usually around $20. Anything that would've taken too much of the limit, I would give that toy/item idea to a family member. It worked out so well that we are doing that again this year.

Angela - posted on 09/18/2009

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I keep a spiral notebook (hidden from the kids of course) and write down under each childs name whenever I purchase a gift for one of them. Even write the price down if you are trying to keep it fair by spending the same amount on each child. We even purchase gifts that are for all of them together ...such as a movie, game, etc.. It makes it so much easier writing this all down in a notebook. About 3 years ago we started numbering the gifts so as things were being placed under the tree (our kids are past the santa stage), someone couldn't say..."Why does so in so have more gifts then I do". Especially when your not done shopping yet. Each time I wrap a gift it gets a number starting with #1 then #2, #3, etc. I put the number in that notebook by where I wrote down their gift. Then come christmas day when its time to open presents...Each child takes turns picking up a gift they think could possibly be theirs. I look in my notebook, if it is theirs..they get to open it. if not, they put it back and the next child gets to go try. You just keep trying until you get one that is yours. It makes it fun and present time lasts longer. And the kids have no idea whos is whos under that tree!

As far as staying on a budget, just purchase what you can afford. Start early if you can and check out clearance items first.

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I have two boys and two girls and i have a 3 gift each policy, but they always get a surprise gift also. The surprise gift is a gift they can share, last year it was a big karaoke machine for the girls and the boys got a Wii to share. I always make the surprise gift a big toy so that the whole family can enjoy it together.
3 of my 4 children were born in December and i always purchase gifts well in advance of September so then i will have money for birthday parties etc. I ask my children what they would like, and i tell them to pick something that they dont already have, and of course i stick to a budget, nothing too expensive.
My 3 gift policy may sound mean, but the first one is the expensive one and two others are smaller gifts. I always fill their stockings with sweets, bath soaps, dvds, small cheap items and so christmas morning the place is full of stuff because our family always give them lots and lots of presents also.
Last year i asked my family to buy clothes for the kids and i didnt have to buy them clothes for about 3 months cos they got so many. I have always planned for christmas in advance, ive been with a hamper club for years, who collect money 10 or 20 each week and then deliver a big food and drink hamper 2 weeks before christmas. So when ive my food, drinks, toys paid for in advance, me and my family always have a merry christmas. Preparation is the key.

Amber - posted on 11/03/2009

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Black Friday is always our biggest shopping day, but we try to buy the expensive gifts in advanced..this year so far, ipod touch, ps3, wii, etc..
Then I wrap each kids gifts in a different paper, no one, but me knows which paper belongs to who, then i pass out the gifts christmas morning, while dh takes pics.
I also keep a notebook with who is getting what, how much it costs, and make sure the kids get the same # of gifts and about the same amount spent on them, each kid normally gets 1-2 expensive gifts (ipod, video game systems, etc..) and then most of the other things they ask for..we try not to spend more than $500 per kid, as there are 7 of them, but I love seeing their faces light up and their excitement with it all.
For the kids to give to each other, i put their names in a bowl, mix them up, then each kid picks a name..they each get $ to make or buy things that would be special and meaningful to whom they get for..so far it has always worked out well.

Sabrina - posted on 10/27/2009

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I have a separate bag for each persons things. and I always try to make sure everyone has the same number of gifts which are of the same worth. when the older kids get something i make sure i get some of equal value for the lttle kids

Toni - posted on 10/26/2009

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I have 6 biological children from 18 to 5 mths and 2 step 11 and 9, the way i deal with christmas is lists, more lists and then some lists lol, i work out my budget divide by 8 and then shop accordingly, altho I do on occasion buy at an impulse i tend never to exceed my budget by more than a few pounds, with lots of children its a military campaign with everything, washing ironing and christmas shopping is no different.

Elaine - posted on 09/30/2009

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most of my kids are older but i still do the same things... like so many ladies here i have my note book... i can even see what i have bought for them in the last few years (im nuts sorry) i have 8 kids and how 4 grand babies not to mention boyfriends and husbands... i have a rubber maid totes for each of them and though the year i find things for them and drop it in (good for birthdays and ect) i ask the kids in aug or sep to make me a list of things they are wanting and i pick out what i can find at a price i can live with.... and let me tell you im a shopper... always looking for a great deal. and if you do little by little it makes a great christmas... i like angela idea of the # thing that sounds fun.... just to watch.... i hope this helps and i know i got a new idea for my family thanks
Elaine

Elizabeth - posted on 09/27/2009

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My children are pretty much grown up now. My youngest is 16, (will be 17 - 2 days after christmas). We are a blended family so it was always very hard for me doing the shopping. My children's father didn't have anything to do with them and my husband's children lived with their mom. So I was conflicted as to what was fair.
Cause his kids were getting presents at mom's and at our house and my 2 were only getting presents at our house. My husband was faithful about paying child support so those kids got really nice gifts at mom's. Money was very tight for us. Thank God for love ( which we have abundantly) Anyway, I wanted to make sure I spent the same amount on all the children from us and Santa but then felt like my children were getting the raw end of the deal just because their dad didn't see them or pay child support. So I shopped way early. I would start right after christmas of one year and usually take any money or gift cards that were given to me by relatives. (in-laws) and spend them on the kids for christmas the next year. It made it easier to get things for them. I would shop clearance sales all year long and would do well. I would make the kids make up a list for christmas the week before thanksgiving and would finish up with shopping on black friday. The kids would usually end up with about 5 presents a piece and a few gifts for the family like movies and games and such. To make it seem fair for my kids at least to myself I would have a few gifts I would give them between thanksgiving and christmas and tell them I just can't wait so don't say anything when they didn't have as many gifts under the tree on christmas morning. By that morning they would forget and not realize that everyone had the same amount and it all worked out. Stocking stuffers were always hard for me. What do you put in them? As a kid we always got an apple, an orange, and some candy. So I had really no idea what to get.

Danielle - posted on 09/26/2009

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We have 5kids. We spend the same on each kid every year and save for it in advance. then my Hbbie and I make a "date night" out of shopping. We get a sitter, go to dinner and a movie, then shop till he wines so loud I take him home. I bring along my handy dandy notebook to keep track of gifts and when I do stocking stuffers I hit the dollar store. The kids love the knick knacks and the older girls love the makeup and hair things.

Nicole - posted on 09/25/2009

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I ask the kids to make lists of their realistic wants. From that list, I pick five things. I usually start early so I have time to luck up on sales and discounts. I'm also very good at shelling items out to family members who buy the kids gifts for the holidays.

Paige - posted on 09/25/2009

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I also keep a notebook with each childs name in it to ensure they get the same number of presents ... as far as budget i watch for clearance items and such all year round and put up for birthday and christmas .. its a lil harder to do it that way with the older kids bt the lil ones could care less what they get lol

Pepper - posted on 09/24/2009

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I shop way in advance. I'm off to a good start this year so far. My biggest day of shopping is always Black Friday. There are always so many good sales. My mom always used the number system and did something to know the difference without writing it down. One was even were mine odd were my brothers. Then there was 20s were mine 40s my brothers, teens my dad Etc. One year she did the last number our age when I was 9 and my brother was 11 she put 11,21,31 etc for him and all mine ended in 9. I am in visioning such a mass of gift this year with just one more child in our family. I guess it's hard to imagine getting it all done!

Gene & Erin - posted on 09/19/2009

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First, Santa only brings 3 gifts (something they really want - not clothes - but my weakness is stocking stuffers, I'm doing better). They still get other stuff. And because we have little kids I don't put presents under the tree until 2 or 3 days before Christmas or they will all be opened (plus I don't usually wrap stuff till then or I forget what it is).

I write a list for each child of things I know they want and they get to add to their list. Then I make a pre-shopping trip and get prices (and more ideas). As I buy stuff I cross it off (or write it down and cross it off and make a new list of what each got).

In the past we have had people (friends/family) offer to "help" and we let them - all I had to do was make them a list.

For a REALLY tight budget there are places that have a mission to help families with children get christmas presents - Like the Salvation Army, or a local church or mission. You could make a few phone calls to churches, DFACS office or you local oppurtunity office to see whats in your area. You never know what you'll get but I've know families of all sorts who have benefitted from this.

So, decide what you can spend, make a list, start shopping sales NOW! And don't be timid about buying second hand at thrift stores/e-bay or asking for help when you need it. When your kids open their presents they won't know the difference.

I always say next year you should celebrate "3 Kings Day" which comes after Christmas and when some people exchange gifts - then I can get everything at the after Christmas sale - but I love Christmas morning to much and I get just as excited as the kids.

I do like Angela's idea of putting numbers on the gifts instead of names (fun!) We make ours wait till they are all passed out then the kids go to town (it always looks like Santa exploded in the livingroom) And Papa always spends the night b/c someone has to help Santa get all the loot in and set up. Plus, him and Santa are big buddies and he passes along messages.

Happy planning and Merry Christmas!

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