Getting control of Christmas spending a tough task

A Christmas book, a small kiddy toy, a couple pairs of jammies and a cool wooden moose Christmas tree ornament.

This is all I bought my 11-month-old last Christmas.

Go ahead call me a Grinch, Scrooge or plain ol’ cheapskate.

Frankly the little guy was too busy to notice his gifts anyways, and instead enjoyed playing in an empty diaper box I was about to recycle the next day.

This year, the little dude is paying more attention to cool choo-choo trains. He now notices the trucks on his jam jams, and loves last year’s tree ornament, even though he calls it a “horsey.”

And so here I am falling into the Christmas shopping dilemma.

Do I start a tradition now of sticking to a similar pattern and creating a standard precedence: buy him a book, couple pairs of pajamas, a new ornament and just one or two cool toys?

Should I spend/buy more now that he’s paying more attention to what he receives?

I recently noticed a Facebook friend asking for advice on Christmas spending as she and her partner were butting heads.

It was interesting to see other folk’s spending limits and the reasons for why they fork out the dough.

Most considered spending an equal amount on each child and spending roughly the same amount every year.

Most didn’t mention, though, adjusting their spending sprees on their family income.

You shouldn’t spend more than you can afford; if you’re racking up the plastic, you’re in for trouble.

And I consider how much I spend anyway throughout the year on the little guy.

Let’s be honest, Jack doesn’t go without. Another factor to add to the mix is he gets spoiled rotten anyway at Christmas from his grandparents.

What it comes down to is every parent should have a conversation together before the shopping frenzy ensues.

What’s important to you and what factors do you consider before the cash register rings?

Are you and your partner on the same page?

I grew up in a household that spent a fair amount, to say the least. My hubby grew up in a household that didn’t go totally overboard.

In fact, every year his father donates gifts to a family in need, which I think is amazing.

So together, we felt we should try and establish a middle ground.

If your earnings were higher this year, do you spend more (setting a precedence for the next year) or do you set aside some dough for donating gifts instead?

Getting back to the personal dilemma, and after digesting the many factors noted and having had that discussion with my husband, this year we’re sticking with that pattern I stated above.

We’re not going to go overboard.

And following in the Degraaf family footsteps, we’re starting our very own tradition of donating to a family in need.

Ashley Degraaf is a News Leader Pictorial reporter who writes about family issues here monthly.



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