"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Christmas for mamas and papas

With a super-tight budget and plenty of holiday stress, I often leave the decision about what to get for daddy until the very last minute, and I've thus far been terrible about insisting the kids come up with gifts for their parents. I realize that, last year, my husband and I really didn't get each other anything. Now it's two days before Christmas, and though I really want to buy him the gift I know he needs: a new (to him) commuter bike, I really don't have the room in my budget. As I troll craigslist, beg for help on Twitter, and wheel and deal, I wonder: have your gifts for the other parent in your life fallen by the wayside since you had children? Who do you spend more money (or time) on? How about you? Do your children and partner get you plenty of gifts for Christmas, or do you end up watching your kids open their presents with a bittersweet mix of happiness (for them) and nostalgia (for the time when you had more to expect on Christmas morning)?


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This is my first xmas with my son. I lost my job two weeks after my son was born. My husband took a pay cut at the beginning of the year so we had a discussion. We decided to do one gift each to each other and one stocking gift. We were able to get our son items that he was going to need in the next couple of months and we feel that the holiday is for the children. I hope that in years to come our children have the same joy and excitement that we had growing up waiting for Xmas morning to get here.

Oh, yes. On our budget it's the kids who win. But we have always talked about it ahead of time so mom and dad are on the same page. (Well, if you don't pay attention to the fact that my husband usually breaks the rules and gets me a little something he's not supposed to, but we still follow the "no credit card" rule.) Something along the lines of a bike would be a decision we would make together given the dollars spent. We've done that before, gotten something big and taken that money out of our "stocking stuffer" fund. We just don't have enough slack in the budget to hide a big purchase like that for a surprise. I look forward to the day that we can again because I sure miss the days of the surprise Kitchen-Aids!

We tried one year to skip stockings for each other (this was before the kids would have noticed) and I felt really sad not having little trinkets in there. I don't mind if he doesn't get me a gift, but I really need a few little things in my stocking.

We really don't care about gifts for ourselves. This holiday is about the kids and and spending time with friends and family. We always end up with a gift or two from the grandparents and that is fine.

I agree with nobigdeal. We make sure we each have something in our stockings or else my nearly 7 year old would wonder why Santa didn't bring us something. Aside from that, I really don't care much. I finally convinced my BIL and SIL to stop doing adult gifts a few years ago and this year I think I finally managed to convince my parents and my in-laws that I really would prefer a donation to charity for Christmas. The last few years have just feel ridiculous like adults were giving each other stuff none of us really needed or wanted just because we "had to." I am so looking forward to Christmas that is exciting for the kids and not an exchange of stuff no one needs between adults!

My husband and I stopped exchanging gifts soon after our oldest son was born. For us Christmas is about the kids and we just enjoy seeing their excitement about the decorations, tree, Santa etc. I did give him a card last year but that was about it. Besides if there is any extra money we usually just purchase what we want for ourselves and since that happens so rarely that in itself is like Christmas to me!

MRW, please tell me the secret to getting everyone on board with that! It's so time in my family. We made the move several years ago to draw names and only do one gift, but there's this high (to me) "dollar guideline" out there, and the family has grown so much with the younger nieces/nephews marrying and such, that I don't really KNOW alot of the people involved anymore. It's really become impersonal, and financially a tough one. And yet, there are the hold-outs who can't seem to let go of this. Any suggestions?

My husband and I decided just to do stocking stuff for each other (with a spending limit), purchase a nice roasting pan for a turkey, and the rest of the money we have spent on our son. He is only 4 so we also save some money on him by purchasing used items when we can - he doesn't know the difference, nor does he care as long as things are in good shape. Both of our extended families have agreed to only purchase gifts for the kids (no more sibling or family gifts). This decision was much easier to make once everyone had children, although there is one brother who is not married and has no children so he does get something small from everyone. For our niece and nephews we only give books and nobody cares about re-gifting for the little kids. For example, our niece is getting the entire Weather Fairies book collection courtesy of my son's bookshelf - I traded him for a new Magic Tree House book (thank goodness).

Stockings are fun to fill. My husband gets a bottle of scotch from Santa each year. Beyond that I put something in my own stocking (Chinook Book and a mug) so I feel like I am part of the party. Christmas gifts are about the kids in our house. Even then I try to keep it simple.

I didn't get anything for my husband, but I did get nice things for the generation above me, particularly the ones who are both far away and on their own. I understand "Christmas is for kids," but it doesn't quite capture my whole feelings about who I give to. Also I worry that not really thinking about getting anything for my husband is a sign that I've started taking him for granted.

we're trying to adapt the advent conspiracy (adventconspiracy.org) concept. the religious message is a good reminder, but ultimately, i love how it's a reminder that christmas is about family, friends and love.

i felt like a dork this year when i realized that i didn't involve my kids in the gift-giving (and they're finally old enough to get it!). we've been making up for it the last few days by endless crafting to offer grandparents and friends.

my plan is to fully implement the advent conspiracy concept next christmas. i know it will take a lot of criticism (my mom likes very specific things and my sister likes to have loads of things to open), but i think it will start the cycle of stripping the holiday season down to the real core and will hopefully inspire people to apply their dollars to improving other's real-life-situations.

I do home made xmas.

But this year I bought my husband some insulated carhart overalls, because I knew he really wanted a pair. Just today he told me that he really wanted a pair of "skinny jeans",..You know, the kind teenage boys and rockstars wear. Who knew. Just when I thought I knew my husband!

My husband and I bought gifts for each other the first year we were together but not since. We made a mutual decision that gifts at Christmas time were not needed as we buy for each other all year - if we want/need something and it fits in the budget we get it. We also prefer to put what extra money we have into our travel fund. I personally think Christmas has become too commerialized brainwashing us with "obligation" to buy for everyone. Our son is definitely getting presents as I want him to experience the joy that I did as a child. Christmas is definitely for the kids after all and about spending time with loved ones.

My husband and I gave up giving gifts to each other at Christmas years ago...Instead, we use the money that would be spent on gifts for each other and put it towards taking care of someone else. Some years we have adopted a family, some years we have made cash donations to our favorite organizations. It has just depended on the needs that we have heard about leading up to the holidays. This year we involved our kids, and made donations to the local food bank (there was a huge shortage of cereal at ours, and our boys had a great time picking out boxes and delivering them) as well as clothing and cash donations to the Salvation Army. I hope that as my boys get older, they will realize that taking care of our friends and neighbors is really what the spirit of Christmas is all about and put less importance on their own gifts.

Things are right economically for us, too, and we mainly got presents for our daughter and a few meaningful but inexpensive little things for a limited number of people. The big surprise was how positive both sides of our family was about limiting adult gifts--they applauded our frugality and our need to pay down some debt, and were relieved and glad to make it almost only for kids (though my Mom is a Christmas grandma/Mom, so, she's allowed to break the rule).

Our family also limits adult gifts which definitely de-stresses the holiday for us all. Also my husband and I agreed long ago (even before children) to do a Christmas date instead of getting each other presents. We usually see a play or some other performance and go out for dinner or drinks. Sometimes we'll do some small stocking stuffers for each other but strictly on a no obligation basis.

Well mom22 it took 12 years of floating the idea again and again and my SIL and BIL having kids of their own and finally I think the economy was the final straw. I'm not happy the economy is terrible, but a small silver lining has been (what I hope is) the last gasp of adult gift giving. I wish I had a more helpful answer! All I can say is keep trying!

We even try to give the kids in each family something they can do together, one gift. a magazine or board game. It's easier for the all girl or all boy family but we're trying to be creative about it. Send cookies early and a picture of the grandkids made it fun to involve the kids and the grandparents loved the surprise early boxes. A bit too much decorations on the cookies, but how can you tell them no more when it still sticks?! Merry Christmas.

Christmas is a big deal for my husband and myself. It comes at the end of a very hard exam period (I'm in law school) and we really love being able to do things for each other. We put about equal efforts to give presents for each other and our daughter. I love Christmas, and so does my husband. We are both like little kids opening presents. This year, I got my husband tires for a bike that he has slowly been building all year. He got to spend all day Christmas putting it together. He had a huge smile on his face all day! My daughter and I played with toys and watched him.

For us, Christmas is about our family showing our love for each other. Our daughter is important, but our family is bigger than just our kid.

My husband got me a new black purse, bigger than my old one to hold extra baby things in (baby's due in February) and I bought him a nice version of the boardgame Risk. Our 11 yr old son got a nice skateboard, art supplies and a GI Joe fortress. We all got new pj's for Christmas Eve, a new Christmas outfit, stocking stuffers(electric toothbrush/underwear/fancy chocolates). I know it sounds simple compared to some but it satisfies us and keeps the bank account in the black.

Since before we were married, my partner and I had a budget for our gifts for one another, anywhere from $20-50, depending on our circumstances. It is really fun challenge to think of that perfect gift that he'll love within budget. It's even funner when we're able to gift more than just one item. I think we're continuing with that tradition from here on out.

This year, with our older kids aged 9 and 6, they wanted to be involved with gift giving, and I was happy to see them in the spirit of wanting to gift. I let each know their budget for the gift for their other sister ($10 each) and they picked something. There was a lot of coaching involved, as I noticed they'd only pick gifts that they wanted themselves, and not what her sister wanted. They also decided on a small gift for their dad.

My in-law siblings have been doing a secret santa exchange since I entered the family almost 10 yrs ago. When I was the sole in-law, it was a bit tough to convince them to reduce the gift budget ($200 back then). Now that I have 3 other in-laws to back me, we've set the budget at $50 for the past couple of years. And, each person also gives a handmade or $5 stocking stuffer to each participant. We use http://www.secretsanta.com to assign people, and this year, we used skype for the big reveal and to guess who was santa to whom. It was really quite fun. I enjoy it every year, and I think the funnest part of the "game" is that we all (8 of us now) try to out-do each other with the handmade stocking stuffers.

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