Holiday Shopping: Spending Limits For Kids' Presents?

How much is too much to spend on children and teens?

As the holiday shopping season goes into full swing, some people are maxing out their credit cards to pay for presents and others are setting budgets and sticking with them.

Scour just about any Facebook stream or stop in a local coffee shop and chances are you'll hear parents debating the merits of setting spending limits. Or, you'll hear them lamenting about just how much they've already spent.

The ideas for a perfect limit do seem to vary rather greatly. Some parents say $100 per child is more than enough. Others tend to lean toward much more generous figures. After all, there's nothing like seeing a child's eyes light up as they unwrap gift after gift.

And that's what we want to hear from you about. Do you set spending limits on the presents you buy for your kids? How much is too much? How much is too little?

And, where are you shopping this holiday season? Which local merchants do you plan to support?

Let your voice be heard by commenting below.

Heidi Fagan November 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM
We do 1 present from Santa, a toy from mom and dad, a outfit or pajamas, a book, a DVD and some quirky surprise. They seem uninterested in expensive gifts and we don't do any technology gifts: no video games, cell Phones etc so we keep the cost down. We are cutting back this year a bit because they have so much already and it shouldn't be all about the gifts. I try to stay under $250 per kid; unfortunately legos are the pricey thing we purchase.
Elizabeth Howard November 24, 2012 at 02:22 PM
It's a tough thing but it can be less that you think! My mom spent about $50 on clothes from a thrift store for the kids to make a "dress up" box. It was the best gift they ever got! There is a great book I got from The Parent Place called "Unplug The Christmas Machine" (read an excerpt here: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/12/21/the-four-things-children-really-want-for-christmas/) and two of the great things I took away from this book was that kids want 1) a "slow" Christmas - a gradual build up and slow unwind to help them manage the excitement; and 2) traditions - ie. Going to pick out a tree together, watching the Christmas specials, going to church, decorating, shopping for the food bank, having a fun party with family friends. ALL of that is "HOLIDAY" - not just the presents. One of those traditions from our childhood was opening socks and underwear from Santa!! My mom never bought us ANYTHING we "needed" after September and so socks and underwear were always one of the gifts Santa gave us (and pjs). We've added that to under our own tree, to keep the family traditions alive. I try not to spend more than $500 total on Christmas, for 4 kids, and ourselves.


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