Christmas Budgeting

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is next month, and while some of us may have kids and others may not, and we have different situations, I’m curious to know how you pay for Christmas? Do you buy throughout the year, put it on credit cards, pay cash, or keep it really simple?

I always stress at Christmas time, mainly because on top of playing Santa for my 3 kids my husband has a large family full of kids. Two years ago, we asked the adults not to buy for us and got presents for all the kids, but the adults bought for us anyways so we felt really bad about it. Last year, my husband was determined to buy everyone a present and we’re still paying for that credit card bill now.

What do you guys do? How many people do you buy for and how much do you typically spend?




Third: No way!! It took me a long time to develop what financial discipline I have right now. Throw the credit cards away. Immediately!!

If you don’t have the money saved up already, no presents! I don’t care what excuse you have, or what kind of feelings you have about Christmas. No presents!

Instead, why don’t you guys bake cookies together or do something as a family? Isn’t that more important?

I grew up in a house that there were always lots of presents at Christmas. As an adult, I think it’s stupid.

In some countries, you give each person ONE gift. Some countries don’t even waste money on gift wrapping paper.

Walk your own path, and don’t worry about what ANYONE has to say about how you live your life.

If you wanna be in debt and teach your kids that the most important thing about the holidays is giving presents even when you don’t have money, then fine. I respect that.

Well, not really. I respect your right to do what you want.

But I prefer to teach my children the value of being together as a family and financial discipline and knowing how to live within your limits.

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As my kids are both grown up, I don’t have any interest in Christmas. It’s too hyped up, IMO. I learnt a lot from this book.

The Richest Man in Babylon is a 1926 book by George S. Clason that dispenses financial advice through a collection of parables set 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. The book remains in print almost a century after the parables were originally published, and is regarded as a classic of personal financial advice.


You really only need to give presents to a very few people - your parents, your children, your siblings, your best friend.

Everyone else should be happy to receive a card or other Christmas message. If people are unhappy with what they receive at Christmas-time, they are really missing the point of the Christmas celebration and the beliefs behind it.

On the other hand, its important to give time and support to all the others in your circles of friends, family, work colleagues etc. If you feel uncomfortable not spending money for them, its great to offer to buy each one of them their favourite coffee once a year.


Yup, the whole not-buying presents at xmas thing never works cos people buy them anyway… Kids bigger now but still usually costs about a tonne.

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I definitely agree credit cards are a scam. My goal is to stop using them altogether, or maybe just the slightest bit in order to have good credit.

Also, I don’t think everyone should have to go all out for the families, but my kids waking up on Christmas morning to see Santa came is a big highlight for me. They only have so many years of believing in that magic, so I wouldn’t take that from them. I’m also not saying they have to have a million presents, but I try to get them each one big thing and smaller presents every year, along with clothes and things they actually need.

I think this year we are going to try to find the balance…maybe draw names for all the other kids and buy one present for the child we draw? Only, we have three kids so I guess we’d wind up buying three presents anyways. I might tell the adults we aren’t participating this year, it could take off some of that added stress.


I will check out the book you recommended. I have to say, I love Christmas though! Mine are all still little, so I could see how the excitement might wear off in the future.

Good advice. I didn’t feel guilty the year we tried to tell everyone we weren’t buying for the adults, but then I felt guilty once they all handed us presents and we had nothing for them. I was also irritated that nobody listened when we asked them not to buy for us, but that felt wrong when they were doing something nice. Then of course last year we felt pressured to buy for everyone because we had learned that they were going to buy for us anyways. It isn’t that we don’t have money, we do, but to buy a decent present for 15+ people adds up quickly on top of expenses for my own kids.

I would like to focus more on being together this year than just all the crap we can buy for each other, knowing most of it winds up thrown away before the credit card bill is even paid off.


It’s insanely expensive to buy toys right now…I don’t mind buying for the kids, just wish we could opt out of buying for other adults. I don’t care about Christmas presents, seeing my kids happy on Christmas morning is really the only thing that matters. It’s just a lot of added stress that isn’t necessary.

I can agree with you there. Being together is more valuable than the presents. Sure, getting toys are awesome. But 20 years later as an adult you end up valuing family less, as a consequence.

That was my experience, at least.

And I still believe that if you don’t have the budget for something, then don’t spend money on it. If people buy gifts even though you asked them not to, that’s on them. Sure, you can be grateful, and you can return the favor with something other than gifts, but don’t feel compelled to spend money you don’t have. You’re the one stuck with the bill, no one else.


Yup, this.

My friends’ kids are soooo spoiled. Birthdays and Christmases for them mean a massive pile of gifts. I thought it was so pointless after I watched them open their 15th gift that night. Like why does anyone let alone a child need to receive 20 different types of toys. It’s ridiculous. I had spent time and money trying to buy these kids gifts only for what I got them to sit in a pile of other “doodads.”

Idk I have a mini aversion for gifts because most of the time I don’t even like what people get me lol. If it was a good, close friend, they’d ask me what I want and get it for me OR at least have a really good idea what to get.

Anyway, all that to say, I hope you don’t feel any pressure this year to buy people gifts. Not in this economy!


Decorating the house and a Xmas tree, and having good food and drinks with my family is all I want on Christmas day. I do buy gifts for my children, but not the expensive ones where I’d be paying my credit card company for the rest of the year. A few days of celebration shouldn’t become a source of year-long stress.


This is my same principle including for weddings and other usually socially important life events!


I agree. But it depends on each person’s values. As for me, what’s most important is being together as a family, and developing a bond to stay close. Gifts are nice, but to me what a family does together is more important.

I knew a guy that his family, instead of exchanging gifts, would book a trip and travel together. That sounds more enriching than presents.

However, it would still be nice to get some Transformers!


I grew up from a buddhist family so Christmas event isn’t important to me. I just buy gift for my kids and some of gifts to exchange with my friends when we have a dinner on Christmas Day (actually, the gift for the kids only, not adult). And the gift for my kids, I just buy something reasonably priced so I don’t spend much money on Christmas and New Year.


Wow, that sounds stressful😅 I personally think that we shouldn’t worry too much about buying expensive gifts. I remember reading that the great message of Christmas is that Jesus chose to humble himself. So, we all should celebrate the same. And just like @dushimes said, gifts should not become a financial burden for the one buying it. It is just a gesture of love.You don’t need to give up on the idea of gifting but look for gifts that fit your budget. Even a handmade christmas card can be a great gift if you ask me. And perhaps that would be much more meaningful as well :blush: But sadly the world we live in puts more emphasis on the economic value of the gift and doesn’t bother about the emotional value.


To be honest, I think that teaches children better values than tons of presents. And making cards doesn’t have to be just for the kids–adults can make crafts too!

Baking a huge batch of cookies and eating them together as a family while having a family talent show is much more wholesome.

Imagine having a talent show as a family!!!

Everyone does something funny or ridiculous! For things like this, there’s no TV, there’s no cellphones, no internet. Nothing. Just people being silly!


@dushimes That’s such a cool idea :blush: I remember we used to have this crib making competition in school. I really miss that era :slightly_frowning_face:


You’re very right. I tried to teach my kids a lesson about giving to others this year by doing the Angel Tree (buying presents for foster kids or those that have families that can’t afford to get them anything). I thought my daughter would like picking out clothes for a little girl her age and that I could teach her about giving to others and not being selfish, but it sort of backfired. All my kids did the whole time was whine that they wanted a toy. My daughter is only 5, so kind of young, but still. I think it’s time to change how I do some things.

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I imagine it takes time to get them used to it right? I’m just guessing.

It’s easy for me to just say this stuff because I’m not the one who was there with kids whining, but I think I’d just let them whine until they can’t whine anymore. Wear them out. Then we can continue buying gifts for other kids. I wouldn’t give them an out. This would be my way of ¨breaking¨ them. You gotta break their entitled spirit (if that’s what it was), and rebuild a more generous one.

They key to this is staying calm and in control of your emotions. The kids are banking on you breaking first and taking them to buy toys instead.