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Friday, December 2, 2011

What to Buy Kids for Christmas? Limiting Spending!

Have you heard of Design Mom?  If you haven't, go check her blog out, I love her ideas and last year I read this post about what and how much to buy your kids for Christmas.  For the first Christmas with kids, I just sort of shot from the hip and a few months after Christmas was over I knew next year I had to change my plan.  I just bought too much and not necessarily things that got a lot of use or enjoyment.

#rehashingmychildhoodforthebillionthtime When I was little, my parents spent well over $1000 on me at Christmas.  It was like it was a no holds bar and even though we made our wish list which was always completely fulfilled, my mom still bought more things we never heard of our asked for.  She is a great gift giver but she gives too much.  As a kid, I had absolutely  no problem with it.....until my parents filed bankruptcy, lost a business and we were poor.  Then it became a guilt thing paired with being sort of bratty and wanting everything at the same time every time Christmas rolled around.  But you know what gifts I remember the most?  My great Grandma's less than $5 gift we received and begged to open each Christmas eve.  My Grandma had handfuls of grand children and lived in a very small country town so she bought at what she'd call the dime store but it's more like a tiny Walgreens.  The gifts certainly weren't anything on our wish list, often times impractical (like the big fluffy cream colored granny mittens) but it was almost like the unexpectedness and thriftiness of the gift made it that much  more special. 

My dad was always a bahumbug (sp?) when it came to Christmas.  Partly because he always works all the way up to Christmas day and the day after Christmas but more so because while he was working so hard my mom was out blowing that hard earned money on excessive gifts.  And no offense to my mom, she was doing what she thought was the right thing and what she always dreamed of doing since she grew up on welfare and had very little as a kid and wanted something different for her kids.  But finally around 6th grade, my dad started shopping for 1 special gift to my sister and I.  My mom wasn't allowed to pick it out and it never came from our wish list.  And we were over the moon when my Dad started doing this since we knew he never shopped or wrapped  a single gift for us prior to that. 

When I read Design Mom's blog post about giving her kids 3 things- something to play with, something to read, and something to wear I thought it was genius!!  It didn't necessarily talk about the amount of money to spend but that still helped me keep my focus.  Last year the kids play item was a train table and it's got plenty of great use. And before I forget, I'd highly recommend googling the item you are looking for followed by "discount code" or just going straight to Retailmenot.com to double check if there is a coupon code to save you more money.  This year, here is what the kids will be getting and yes, I do wander a bit from the 3 things rule but for our family, this is practical and affordable.  I linked items where I could to the items we bought.

Twilight Turtle From Cloud B- For Dylan.  I love, love, love Cloud B products and we have the sheep, giraffe, and AJ has the regular turtle.  Barnes and Noble's black Friday special was 50% off one toy, free shipping and 10% off for members so I paid under $15!!  Normally $32.95.

Cloud B Mimicking Monkey- For AJ.  Same thing as the turtle, 50% off (I cheated the system and put in 2 separate orders since the deal was only good for 1 item per order).  $34.95 normally.

No, that's not my kiddo but he sure is adorable!!  Gymboree is where we got their clothes gifts this year.  I did the black Friday sale but the current sale is equally as good so 50% off and free shipping!  I love going to the store but during the holidays, they tend to run out of sizes after I already plan out what I'm going to get and I hate digging through their stacks of clothes while I am butt to butt with the other shoppers!  I did not buy them just one thing, that's where I sort of cheat Design Mom's rules:)  I did spend $80 on 10 items, so each of them got 5 items, $40 a kid on clothes.  Not bad I think.  Their Gymboree clothes have always held up for me so well from kid to kid and the stains come out so I'll continue to buy them!

Step 2 Legacy Kitchen from Toys R Us -$129.99 - $10 Val Pak Coupon and I had $70 left on an old gift card so out of pocket was $50. On Cyber Monday it was listed for $103.99 but I missed it:(  I'll be making all the felt food and here's a great website with links to free felt food patterns on Ohdeedoh.com.  We have a ton of felt left over from projects so this is perfect!  Grandma is getting them the pots and pans set from Toys R Us.  my husband said 2 years ago he never would buy his boys a kitchen, then he realized how much they loved their friend's play kitchen and how they absolutely will not stay out of the kitchen and love doing dishes and helping me cook and he changed his mind.
The "Something to Read" items will be shopped for by my husband!  He loves Barnes and Nobles and we've budgeted $30 a kid in books.  Our rough estimate is $150 a kid.  And I completely understand that my kids are at the age where they don't beg for a gift and certainly not a particular brand where once they start school and clear through high school we will have to go back to the thinking board but for now, this works!  Does your family have any set rules on buying for your kids?  Did you shop Black Friday at the stores or online?  Are you doing things differently from your childhood or carrying on a gift giving tradition?  I want to hear!


  1. Way to go!!! We did some black Friday shopping to get good deals as well. With Truitt's birthday only 3 days after Christmas we couldn't go crazy even if we wanted to. My parents spent all year paying for Christmas and while it was GREAT to have so many things I don't want to do that. Truit tis getting a Step 2 All-Start Sports Climber from Santa (only 10% off with free shipping from TRU), Megablocks (50% off at Target on Black Friday), a wooden racecar ramp thing, and a bath caddy and tub faucet cover!

  2. That sports climber looks awesome!!! My kids love their Mega Blocks. They got those last year for Christmas. You know, they never used the megablocks table no matter how many times I pull it out, but it's not very stable but the blocks themselves are fun. AJ decided to make a hammer out of blocks, it was fun until he decided to hammer the wall with it:) And those are one of teh few toys that aren't getting donated any time soon:)

  3. we shopped on black friday. I was able to get those $15 disney storybooks (their big and thick)and we got 7 of them for $5 a piece. We bought 2 disney playmats and they were just $24 for both. We're buying for our niece who is due in April.