Until I had children I didn’t realise how very easy it is to over buy at Christmas time. We don’t tend to buy much during the year for the kids – they get at birthdays and at Christmas, and then they may have a little pocket money when we are out an about, or perhaps a book here and there. But as for presents, we try hard to wait until these two big occasions. It wasn’t until last year that I realised how easy it was to go over the top without even realising. On Christmas Eve when we laid the gifts out and they filled two sofas, we realised we had definitely gone overboard. So, when we began planning Christmas this year, one of the biggest questions we asked was how many is too many Christmas presents? We decided to ask around and had a huge amount of different responses!
One want, one need, one wear, one read
This was one of the first responses we had when we talked to our friends, and the simplicity of it really appealed to me. I love the idea of paring back the presents so that the children really appreciate what they are given. We would always buy an item of clothing and a book regardless, so adding two more in would be a great idea. I can definitely see how this would work well, and really both children have only one or two things they would really love, so it would definitely be doable!
Set a budget for each child – and stick to it!
This is a good idea and I’m pretty sure this is what my parents did when we were small. I can see that if you had an older child who was hoping for a phone or games console, and a much younger child, this might be a little tricky. After all, £100 will buy a huge amount of toys for a 2 year old, but won’t go far for a teenager who wants a phone! As our children are so close in age, it would be a really easy one to follow. Since the children came home, we have been sticking to a budget for the rest of the family, which has made shopping for presents so much easier.
Buy everything they want – after all it’s only once a year.
This was one I couldn’t get my head around. I think it was suggested to us because of the background of the children. There is a temptation, especially for adopted children, to spoil them as much as possible to make up for their early lives. I completely understand this – and we were definitely something we did last year. The children came home with very little. We don’t have years of toys hanging around. We don’t have favourite toys or loads of board games or cupboards of crafting materials. So, the feeling to give them as much as you can is overwhelming. However, I can tell you from our experience last year – it doesn’t make anyone happy! The children were seriously overwhelmed by the amount of gifts, and a year later they are just beginning to play with some of the toys from last year. So we won’t be doing this again.
When we sat down after listening to our friends, we realised that actually the answer to the question of how many presents is too many, is quite simple to answer. The answer is – there is no answer. It is just what is right for you. For some people, a handful of presents is what they do in their families, whereas for others it can be bags and bags of presents. As for ours? Well, the children have asked for a handful of presents each, and so we have bought those for them. Then there will be gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles, which will all add up to a lovely, but not overwhelming, number, which is actually the correct number for us!
What is your take on how many Christmas presents is too many? Does your family follow a particular rule on this? We’d love to know!