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Happy Holidays - What is a good rule of thumb for gift giving/budget?
Old 12-15-2010, 11:50 AM   #1
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Happy Holidays - What is a good rule of thumb for gift giving/budget?

Happy Holidays to everyone!

My wife and I had a brief conversation before bed yesterday night....

She started with... what's our Xmas budget for our kids? for the nieces & nephews? Most are under 10, with one being 14.

I've always suggested one play item/toy and one set of kid's clothing, total ranging from $40 - 60 depending on the sale or $40 gift card.

She thought the budget per child was low... cheap vs. frugal My response was to look at the various sales and we'll figure something out.

While I know $40 - 60 won't buy "designer" things, kids will be kids and believe mid-level quality clothing will do as they grow fast.

Then, I thought, at what age do you stop giving gifts... we don't exchange gifts with the adults. After they finish college? get married?

Most of us are middle class ... open to feedback.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:53 AM   #2
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I spend $25 each on the niece and nephews, all of whom are under 13. I guess I'll keep giving them presents until they are adults. Sis' kids get Amazon gift cards and Bro's kids get money deposited into custodial accounts as we don't have any contact with them.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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When we had young nieces and nephews we sent gift cards. At the time Micky D's and Baskin Robins were about the only thing we could find. We still give Itunes and others to grand kids. Our main reason was it was costing more to ship the packages that the merchandise in them.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:28 PM   #4
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We usually give $20 cash or $20 worth of gifts to nieces/nephews. We have 10 (and more on the way), so it adds up quickly.

For our own kids, we usually get them $20-40 worth of gifts and then some cash to make the total around $120-140 per kid. We very rarely buy them toys of any significant cost except for Christmas/birthdays, so we don't mind spending a good bit twice a year. We would get more toys for them, but they have TONS already and seem to get increasing amounts from family/friends as gifts or hand me downs.

Not sure when we will stop giving gifts to nieces/nephews. The eldest will round the corner to 18 in a couple years, but I'm sure he would appreciate his $20 for Christmas and birthdays through college.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:09 PM   #5
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Aiming 4 55---you're waiting until Dec. 14th to decide how much you're going to spend on gifts?--sounds like it's going to be hectic around your place for the next 10 days.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:24 PM   #6
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Aiming 4 55---you're waiting until Dec. 14th to decide how much you're going to spend on gifts?--sounds like it's going to be hectic around your place for the next 10 days.

Yup, as the last 8 weeks have been pretty busy with vacations (2 1/2 weeks in FL), getting rental unit ready for new tenant, medical appointments for the father-in-law, and MN blizzard.

My wife is SAHM so I depend on her to focus on the xmas gifts/shopping. If we shopped earlier, our kids will find it and "think" it's for them or the 1000 requests to open it. Not ideal, but it works for us.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:28 PM   #7
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FWIW, When I was a kid, only my parents gave me actual things.
Other relatives always gave me a U.S. Savings Bond. Typically, $25 (which cost them $18-19 if I remember right). Of course, that was a long time ago, so the amount would be higher today.

I realized that this was actually a good thing, and I appreciated them.

When I graduated from college, I took that stack of bonds down to the bank and cashed them all in, then used the proceeds to buy my first car.

Just a thought.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:54 PM   #8
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As a kid, aunts/uncles, etc. bought us Saving Bonds, or just sent a check in the Christmas card ($10-$50). God-parents sent actual presents when we were little - tapering. To this day (I am eldest at 40) we exchange gifts. Grammy has the reputation of sending a care package with little gifts and baked goods, plus a $100 check. Parents also send the annual care package (yummy fruitcake, paperbacks, pistachios, home dryed oregano, little gifts) and a check for a couple hundred or so (depending on what is in the care package)...hoping for an electric toothbrush this year! They can keep the gifts as long as I get the fruitcake! LOL

In DBF's family, we bring a $10 gift to the gathering and draw numbers (adults). We spend about $20-$40 on his little nieces (both under 12)...not sure about the young adult niece and nephew... I don't budget per se for my two nieces (ages 3 and 4) - the get things I pick up during my travels throughout the year.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
FWIW, When I was a kid, only my parents gave me actual things.
Other relatives always gave me a U.S. Savings Bond. Typically, $25 (which cost them $18-19 if I remember right). Of course, that was a long time ago, so the amount would be higher today.

I realized that this was actually a good thing, and I appreciated them.

When I graduated from college, I took that stack of bonds down to the bank and cashed them all in, then used the proceeds to buy my first car.

Just a thought.
+ 1
I'll never forget receiving those bonds from aunts/uncles, how bummed at frist I was as a youngerster and how fired up I was when I got to be 12 or so AND understood what a good deal they were. My brothers thought I was strange
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:41 PM   #10
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I spend $50 each on my grandson, step daughter and her BF. Close nephews and nieces get $20 - 25 dollar gifts. Others get a card.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:23 PM   #11
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I spend enough on Christmas to be kicked off this site for not LBYM's .
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:38 PM   #12
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I spend enough on Christmas to be kicked off this site for not LBYM's .
LOL - as long as you budget for it, and it works - who cares!
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:26 PM   #13
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$25 Wal-Mart gift cards fit kids of all ages & sizes. Just enough to have fun, not enough to cause trouble.

When our kid was younger, during the year we'd always be alert to garage sales and Craigslist for things that might be on her gift list. Purchases would go into the back of the closet, and we'd pull something from the pile when the birthday or Christmas would arrive. Occasionally we'd buy something from Amazon.com or Disney.

Gift exchanges between our kid and her friends were always problematic because they'd usually be spending their parent's money in a gifting arms race. We finally resorted to collecting small glass containers throughout the year from Goodwill (Christmas trees, snowmen) and filling them with holiday Hershey's Kisses. Birthdays were usually a $10 gift card from iTunes, Jamba Juice, or Starbucks.

These days, because I'm the retired guy, I'm available year-round to help with a neighbor's troubleshooting or home-repair problems. I don't charge for it, and at holidays we gratefully accept all baked goods.

For our daughter's 18th birthday we gave her a significant bribe cash gift and announced that henceforth all family holidays would be celebrated with free e-cards & good wishes, not with presents. She doesn't have to worry about shopping for us and she doesn't have to arrange her spending around our possible gifts to her.

I have no experience with spoiling grandkids, but I did give a significant cash gift to a nephew when he graduated from college. The idea was that I was paying it forward for all the people that took care of me when I'd just finished college, and now it was his responsibility.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:52 PM   #14
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Thanks for the feedback so far.

It looks like we're within the reasonable range based on responses. My wife is gonna dislike me reading/getting feedback from those that want ER! ;-) I'm fine with it tho, hehehehe

I did savings bond when I first "joined" the family... for 2 years in addition to a small toy/clothing gift and received varying degree of acceptance. Actually, my wife felt pressure to buy gifts for the present vs. gifts for the future (my view).

For the record, I never received a savings bond as a gift as a child, so I'm not sure how I would of accepted it. It would helped with college or my first car!
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:56 PM   #15
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It depends. In some of the families I am part of it is not customary to give gifts to neices and nephews. In another we did it until about age 18.

I think that $25 is enough. Personally I would skip giving clothing since my kids have never really liked getting clothing as a present and I didn't like it as a kid eitehr. Basically they felt they would get needed clothing from their parents so a gift of clothing is more a gift to the parents (who have to then buy less clothing) rather than a gift to the child. FWIW, my kids adore getting gift cards to places like Amazon, Itunes, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:54 PM   #16
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Personally I would skip giving clothing since my kids have never really liked getting clothing as a present and I didn't like it as a kid eitehr. Basically they felt they would get needed clothing from their parents so a gift of clothing is more a gift to the parents (who have to then buy less clothing) rather than a gift to the child. FWIW, my kids adore getting gift cards to places like Amazon, Itunes, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc.
The older ones are listing more gift cards however on the wish list they create it does list some specific clothing as options. I agree in general clothing gifts do help the parents... unfortunately in our extended family currently, all needed clothing is not provide by parents as times are tough in many respect which might be an underlining reason for the gentle suggestion of a higher budget range. This would be a totally different topic and hot button for me.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:02 AM   #17
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The older ones are listing more gift cards however on the wish list they create it does list some specific clothing as options. I agree in general clothing gifts do help the parents... unfortunately in our extended family currently, all needed clothing is not provide by parents as times are tough in many respect which might be an underlining reason for the gentle suggestion of a higher budget range. This would be a totally different topic and hot button for me.
If the suggestions for clothing are really coming from the kids then, sure, that is a fine gift. On the other hand, are they freely coming from the kids?

In any event I think $25 to $30 is a fine range although, of course, one can choose to exceed it.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:09 AM   #18
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Here in Spain we tend to be absurdly splendid in our gifts. Given my means, I can be an exception.What´s worse, most of them aren´t duly apppreciated. I plan on gifts to the tune of 300 euros for my son (34 y.o. single and quite independent -read more money to spend than me), around 120 euros to independent goddaughter and her two girls.
And for DW..... My problem is finding what to give her
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:39 AM   #19
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I spend enough on Christmas to be kicked off this site for not LBYM's .
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:32 AM   #20
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$100 apiece on our 4 kids, even though they're adults. $50 cash & $50 gifts each. Also, $50 to my oldest daughter's husband (son-in-law). The other ones aren't married. Our grandaughter, who is the apple of my eye, will get around $75 worth of stuff. My best friend & his wife get a $30 gift card to Texas Roadhouse steak restaurant (their favorite). My mom gets a $100 gift card to her favorite steakhouse as well. My sisters (2) each get a $25 restaturant gift card, and one niece will get a $20 Walmart card or some other card. Wife & I have agreed we'll just go out for a night on the town together & call it even, but in reality there will still probably be a small exchange of inexpensive gifts in addition to the night out. That's it, and that's more than enough!

Almost forget, every year we travel to my wife's family's Christmas get-together, where we play a gift-giving game where everybody brings a present, they all go into a pile, and everybody gets a number. Each person gets to pick a gift in the order of their number, and after each gift is opened, the next person in line can choose to take someone elses gift or pick another one from under the tree. That's not a good description, but close in general. Anyhow, we spend about $25 each on the two gifts for the game.
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