Each week the Mentor Patch Moms Council answers a question on parenthood posed to them by readers or another member of council.
This week our question is: Understanding that it will be different for different families, what do you think is a reasonable limit to set on holiday shopping for you kids and grandkids? Or, rather, do you simply identify the gifts you want to get them and worry about the money side of things later?
That's a difficult question to answer, because obviously every family has different budgets. And as kids get older, their wish-list items become far more expensive.
Our approach has been to get the kids to identify just a couple of things that they would really like, and try to make that happen. I don't worry as much about spending equal amounts of money on my kids as I do trying to ensure that we are giving something that they will each really enjoy.
We are trying to place less focus on the gifts part of Christmas and more on the spirit of the holiday itself. Hard to do in a consumer culture.
Mary Jo Stack:
It has been customary for us to spend $200 to $250 for each child at Christmas.
We really try to stick to that amount. There have been times where we have gone a little over, but not by much.
With one going to college next year, and one the following, we are really going to try to stick to under $250 this year.
We have a general budget of $250 to $500 per kid, but determine how much we spend based on what the kids are asking for.
As the kids have gotten older they have less on their lists, but everything is so much more expensive.
It was easy to completely thrill them with $100 when they were little. Now a single item such as an IPod, an Xbox, or a hockey stick will eat up most of the budget.
I really don't have a specific limit that spend.
I guess it all depends on the amount of money we have I usually try to get at least one gift that the children really really want -- like last year it was my oldest daughter' varsity letter jacket and a few little items.