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I came from a poor family, so did my husband and our parents. We never looked for charity at Christmas or any other time. I think people need to really think about what is most important, not a ton of toys, getting a video game or all that other popular stuff. I've found most children delight to getting anything, from a homemade doll, even a made doll bed.
My mother did that, she said one year that money was tight, so she got me the doll, but made the doll bed from a oatmeal container and a box. It was beautiful, she covered it with fabric and trim.
There are many simple games and toys that kids still like, coloring books, cars, trucks, dolls, crayons, etc. No child NEEDS everything he or she sees or wants. It doesn't teach them the TRUE meaning of Christmas nor does it teach them to be appreciative.
I wrote this is response to your article about parents not having the money for Christmas. This is a throw-away society we have now, people need to learn to conserve and make do with what their budget allows.
Sometimes when you are telling family members what you would like for Christmas (or a birthday) there is confusion. I know that sometimes when I am buying for someone, I wonder "is this the right item?" This tip can solve that.
When out and about in town with my 7 year old daughter, she will often see an item she would like to add to her Christmas wish list. I do not have a "smart phone," but my cell phone does take photos. I will snap a picture of the item, trying also to include the shelf price tag. Sometimes she will pose with it for size comparison or wear it if it is clothing to show how it looks.
I save the photo and then "rename" it, putting in the name of the store, what the item is, and the price. Since I can't use spaces in the names of photos on my phone, it may read: walgreenhellokittyswing697, but this is enough to remind me later that it was a Hello Kitty swing play-set at Walgreens and cost $6.97.
These photos are very handy for sending a picture message to relatives who don't know what to buy, and of course I interpret the picture title back into normal language. My daughter collects the plastic "Schleich" brand animal figures, and her grandparents never know which ones she already has. These photos make it possible for them to shop for these without the possibility of duplication! I once had to painstakingly describe, for example, that it's at Tractor Supply and it's the grey horse, no not the one with black mane and tail, and not the one rearing up, but the one with braided mane that is trotting, so on and so forth. It was very confusing. Now they can see exactly which grey horse!
Of course this is applicable for adults too. Notice in my photo that I have shown the specific cutting board I want, and you can see the shelf tag price. Now there is no question of which one!
I can send this to anyone who asks what I want for Christmas by cell phone, and they can double-check it when they're in the store by looking at the photo on their cell phone.
Source: I've seen people taking photos of items in stores and assumed this was what they were doing. Seemed like a good idea!
I planned so hard for my baby's first Christmas. I individually wrapped everything in tissue paper with lots of sparkly ribbon. I divided things so it would look like more presents. There was a gigantic pile of gifts under the tree for my little guy!
Unfortunately, it was too much for his 9 month old brain. He didn't understand about opening the presents and wanted to play with each one when I wanted him to open the next one. I wound up spending a frustrating hour or more unwrapping all those glittery presents and cleaning up the mess while he played with that first toy.
Now, I have two young boys that look forward to that magical Christmas season. They understand all about receiving and opening gifts, maybe too well. The wish list gets longer and more expensive every year. Here are some tips that I use to keep Christmas manageable, affordable and memorable for all of us.
Buy things and hide them throughout the year, whenever you see a bargain. This is much easier for young children. Don't forget about these presents, keep a list so you don't overbuy in the last rush before Christmas.
Several shopping sites have wish list options and there may be other places on the internet to have a really organized list. Look around and use the organizational help that is out there for you.
If possible, avoid buying the "hot new thing" until after the holiday season. The stores should have them in stock and they might even be on sale.
Also make sure that they are aware of the relative costs of items. For example, my boys know that Wii games cost about $50.00. They also know that $50 is a pretty substantial amount of money for a gift. You can find an approximate price for just about anything online.
Instead, try to steer toward gifts that have a reputation for high quality. Lego and Playmobile are not Chinese made and also can be played with again and again. You can often find brand names on sale, especially if it is last year's design or off season.
So instead of buying a toy, give your children an event! Concerts, movies, and sporting events are good choices but think about your child's interests. An experience doesn't have to cost a lot of money but can be priceless in the memories it creates.
For older children, unless they specifically tell you what they want, it is better to just go the gift card route. ITunes, Target or Amazon.com are all good choices for teens. Keep in mind that small purchases online often have hefty shipping charges. Pad your gift appropriately to help cover these.
Christmas is right around the corner. If you haven't already started planning, the time is here. Start talking to your kids about their expectations and their wishes. Make this Christmas the one that they will remember as they look back at their own childhood.
Encourage your kids to make a wish list. Every time they see a toy they want on TV or in a magazine, remind them to add to the wish list. Emphasize that this is a WISH list - not a demand list.
Children want a lot of things. When my children were growing up, I would put everything they asked for on a list. Items had to be in our budget to be included on the list. A few weeks before their birthday or Christmas, I would have them look at the list and circle the 3-5 items they wanted the most. This way they would get something they wanted and still have an element of surprise.