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What do you do when there's NOTHING to spend on Christmas?


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What's with the ads?

#51 k2bdeutmeyer

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:07 PM

I wish we had a WTM boards adopt a family thing here for families who will have no Christmas without it. Has anyone had any experience organizing something like this? I would love to participate. All of my gifts would be homemade (because we are flat broke 90% of the time) but I think I am pretty crafty, have a huge stash of fabrics and such and could give some pretty great stuff. Anyone want to organize this?


This is an AMAZING idea......not sure how to pull it off though.

#52 nono

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:11 PM

I wish we had a WTM boards adopt a family thing here for families who will have no Christmas without it. Has anyone had any experience organizing something like this? I would love to participate. All of my gifts would be homemade (because we are flat broke 90% of the time) but I think I am pretty crafty, have a huge stash of fabrics and such and could give some pretty great stuff. Anyone want to organize this?


Or at least have folks share an amazon list perhaps. I'd love to send a couple folks a book or two. We're fairly down on our financial luck, but my kids have always been taught that Santa only brings 3 gifts*...and they know we're pretty broke, so they aren't expecting anything from us. They would be thrilled to participate in helping parents give a gift to their children.


*Always thought it was odd for rich kids to be more "worthy" of Santa gifts, so I set that limit.

#53 k2bdeutmeyer

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:16 PM

Or at least have folks share an amazon list perhaps. I'd love to send a couple folks a book or two. We're fairly down on our financial luck, but my kids have always been taught that Santa only brings 3 gifts*...and they know we're pretty broke, so they aren't expecting anything from us. They would be thrilled to participate in helping parents give a gift to their children.


*Always thought it was odd for rich kids to be more "worthy" of Santa gifts, so I set that limit.


I wonder....could people just share an Amazon wish list and those that would like to help anonamously purchase from it and have it shipped to the person? I have wish lists on Amazon always.....as more of a bookmark type thing, but I've never looked into the logistics of people buying off of them (because I don't usually share them).

#54 Sukale

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:20 PM

My kids mostly would copy my attitude. If I acted like everything was fine and was in a good mood, then the kids would follow my lead. If I got in a depression and was acting sad then they would too.

For Christmas Eve I would drive around and look at the lights. Then when we got home I would make a pizza and some popcorn. We would all get in our jammies and watch a fun, silly Christmas movie. If you don't have one you can rent something for $1.

I would try to spend the $25 or whatever you have on just 1 family gift. Something you could add to through out the year. If you have all girls you could get an old book shelf from Goodwill and tell them that you will be turning it into a doll house over the next year. You could sew all the kids aprons and get some baking supplies and tell them you will be giving them cooking lessons all year and be creating your own family cookbook. Add pictures of the family cooking together and a little note about each recipe. Think about what your kids would really like. Keep an eye out on Craigslist too.
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#55 Susan C.

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:20 PM

During lean years, my parents sent money to buy the kids presents (to be from them). It was usually more than enough so we didn't feel bad that we didn't get them much.

#56 Michelle My Bell

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:21 PM

If there is someone here who would appreciate a few homemade gifts for their kids who would otherwise go without this holiday, please send me a private message. I can't afford to buy anything off of amazon, but would love to help otherwise. :laugh:

#57 k2bdeutmeyer

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:26 PM

If there is someone here who would appreciate a few homemade gifts for their kids who would otherwise go without this holiday, please send me a private message. I can't afford to buy anything off of amazon, but would love to help otherwise. :laugh:


Ditto this....DD12 would LOVE nothing more than to crochet a scarf or something similar for someone! She's just itching to make gifts :)

#58 Liz CA

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:37 PM

There is NOTHING wrong with getting stuff from a consignment store.

If Dh is handy, I've seen some amazing stuff on Pinterest made out of dumpster finds. Little kitchens made out of old furniture, repurposed stuff for dress ups, remade objects.

Focus more on the experience than the gifts.


Goodwill or second hand stores may have board games or other games. $10 should buy something for each child. Making memories is definitely more important. Most kids remember fun activities with their parents but not what they got last Christmas.
Be comforted by the thought that It will be harder on you than them.

#59 Mommy22alyns

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:42 PM

:grouphug: I get it, things are looking pretty dire here too. Are your kids boys or girls?

#60 Sukale

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:01 PM

My Toysrus will have Trivial Pursuit for $1 tomorrow. I just checked their sales add on their website.
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#61 sewingmama

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:12 PM

I wonder....could people just share an Amazon wish list and those that would like to help anonamously purchase from it and have it shipped to the person? I have wish lists on Amazon always.....as more of a bookmark type thing, but I've never looked into the logistics of people buying off of them (because I don't usually share them).


A wish list from the book depository would be good too -for us who are international and can't buy from Amazon :glare:

#62 sewingmama

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:19 PM

I wish we had a WTM boards adopt a family thing here for families who will have no Christmas without it. Has anyone had any experience organizing something like this? I would love to participate. All of my gifts would be homemade (because we are flat broke 90% of the time) but I think I am pretty crafty, have a huge stash of fabrics and such and could give some pretty great stuff. Anyone want to organize this?


Another board I belong to does this. What generally happens is that someone acts as co-ordinator and people who need help send in a list of things they need/want or that their kids like.

Then the co-ordinator posts the list anonomously eg. Family A has B12, G5 etc and then a list of their needs. Then people who can fulfil them can PM the co-ordinator for the persons address.

It is a very small board though and people know each other pretty well.

From what I've seen the past few years people on WTM are hesitant to do this for fear of people scamming gifts.

Maybe their could be a rule you hae to have had a certain number of posts or something.

I thnk largely you would have to go by trust and that can be hard on a board as big as this - which is why although it has been suggested before it has never been taken up.

#63 redheadmom

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:35 PM

You should contact Toys for Tots, but the deadline is approaching quickly. I would love to know if your children are boy or girls and their hobbies or interests. That would help with resources.

Find what is going on in your community...plays, parades, concerts that might be fun holiday experiences.

#64 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:07 PM

Yes, I was definitely being judgmental.
When I started reading her post, I was thinking that she was trying to start a new family tradition or something, but then it started to sound like it was all about her and what was most convenient for her:
My feeling is that buying or making a few gifts for the kids is more important than baking cookies for the neighbors or spending the money to run a bunch of outside lights. I realize that you and she feel differently, but I thought her post came across as being all about her and what she wanted to do, rather than being all about her kids and what would make them happy. (And I honestly have a hard time believing that her kids will be thrilled at not getting any Christmas gifts this year, when they have always received them in the past.)
Additionally, it's not about "a few cheap toys." It's about trying to buy or make something special to make your kids happy.
I realize that we're going to have to agree to disagree on this, because at our house, it's all about tons of gifts, lots of great food, and having a lot of fun as a family, and I have a feeling that your idea of a great Christmas is nothing like ours. As long as your family is happy and mine is happy, it's all good. I was just concerned about Lara's decision to suddenly go "cold turkey" on the gifts, rather than easing into it over a few years.
EDITED TO ADD: Lara, I just realized that I probably completely misinterpreted your post, and I'm very sorry. I didn't want to go back and delete my posts because I always think it's cowardly when people do that, so I'll leave them as they were and let you know that I was having a lousy day because something very hurtful happened to a friend of mine today, and I just wasn't thinking of your feelings when I posted. I truly am sorry. :grouphug:


But WHY does it have to be about tons of gifts? I *know* half the gifts I buy will probably go unused, no matter how hard I try. Ugh. I don't want to do it because it seems so *wasteful* and...icky. Not because I am lazy. We have so much *stuff*! I seriously think everyone should give it all up-the Black Fridays and cyber Mondays and ALL of it and yes, put up lights and bake cookies for the neighbors and make scented play dough because we are edging out all of the good stuff with the parties and shopping and it certainly isn't making anyone any happier. That is what it sounded like she was saying to me, and I have to agree in large part. It is too stressful, all of it.
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#65 misty.warden

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:36 PM

:grouphug: More than anything else.

OP, I don't know what your family's history or Christmas traditions are or what your children may be expecting compared to former years and several posters have mentioned DIY gifts with things you may have on hand, charities, and organizations that help out families in need so I can only tell you what I would do if those options didn't work out for my family. I would focus on the presence of love and family in my home and spend time studying the nativity of Christ and the meaning of the holiday (however more secular families may not choose this for obvious reasons and I respect that) rather than the absence of personal presents and belongings. Start an entirely new tradition, singing songs on Christmas morning and having a special breakfast perhaps. Keeping a positive attitude is difficult in lean times, but it can make a world of difference in how your DC interpret this Christmas being different from the ones in the past.

#66 mamakven

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:42 PM

Yes, I was definitely being judgmental.

When I started reading her post, I was thinking that she was trying to start a new family tradition or something, but then it started to sound like it was all about her and what was most convenient for her:



My feeling is that buying or making a few gifts for the kids is more important than baking cookies for the neighbors or spending the money to run a bunch of outside lights. I realize that you and she feel differently, but I thought her post came across as being all about her and what she wanted to do, rather than being all about her kids and what would make them happy. (And I honestly have a hard time believing that her kids will be thrilled at not getting any Christmas gifts this year, when they have always received them in the past.)

Additionally, it's not about "a few cheap toys." It's about trying to buy or make something special to make your kids happy.

I realize that we're going to have to agree to disagree on this, because at our house, it's all about tons of gifts, lots of great food, and having a lot of fun as a family, and I have a feeling that your idea of a great Christmas is nothing like ours. As long as your family is happy and mine is happy, it's all good. I was just concerned about Lara's decision to suddenly go "cold turkey" on the gifts, rather than easing into it over a few years.

EDITED TO ADD: Lara, I just realized that I probably completely misinterpreted your post, and I'm very sorry. I didn't want to go back and delete my posts because I always think it's cowardly when people do that, so I'll leave them as they were and let you know that I was having a lousy day because something very hurtful happened to a friend of mine today, and I just wasn't thinking of your feelings when I posted. I truly am sorry. :grouphug:



Cat- Ahhhh... see that makes a lot of sense, i didn't mean to belittle your perspective- i just read it entirely differently- i read it like "she saw more value in doing the service like things (and of course baking cookies and whatnot is FUN!) and the experiences of Christmas, probably largely because i've come to that conclusion myself so i was probably 'relating' to her post a lot, if that makes sense.

#67 Catwoman

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:45 PM

But WHY does it have to be about tons of gifts? I *know* half the gifts I buy will probably go unused, no matter how hard I try. Ugh. I don't want to do it because it seems so *wasteful* and...icky. Not because I am lazy. We have so much *stuff*! I seriously think everyone should give it all up-the Black Fridays and cyber Mondays and ALL of it and yes, put up lights and bake cookies for the neighbors and make scented play dough because we are edging out all of the good stuff with the parties and shopping and it certainly isn't making anyone any happier. That is what it sounded like she was saying to me, and I have to agree in large part. It is too stressful, all of it.


In our case, we all love shopping, so it's not stressful -- it's FUN! :hurray: And because we shop so much year-round, I always have a very good idea of exactly what my ds will like. I rarely buy him something that he doesn't like, but I save my receipts, so he can return anything he doesn't want and get something he prefers.

I don't consider it to be wasteful or icky -- my ds loves opening all of the presents, and we enjoy buying them for him, so it's a win-win situation all-around. Sure, we go way overboard, but it's family tradition to do that, so it works for us.

I can definitely understand how it could be a chore if you don't like to shop, though, or if your family members are hard to buy for, or if your kids just aren't really into getting a lot of gifts. In our house, though, my ds is already counting down the days to Christmas -- and fortunately for us, his best friend's family is very much like ours, so his mom and I have been coordinating some of the stuff the boys will be getting, so they can play the same video games online together, etc.

#68 Catwoman

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:49 PM

Cat- Ahhhh... see that makes a lot of sense, i didn't mean to belittle your perspective- i just read it entirely differently- i read it like "she saw more value in doing the service like things (and of course baking cookies and whatnot is FUN!) and the experiences of Christmas, probably largely because i've come to that conclusion myself so i was probably 'relating' to her post a lot, if that makes sense.


Thanks, Rebecca. I really explained myself very poorly, and I hope I didn't hurt Lara's feelings. (Actually, I can't imagine that I didn't, and I feel badly about it. :( )

#69 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:54 PM

In our case, we all love shopping, so it's not stressful -- it's FUN! :hurray: And because we shop so much year-round, I always have a very good idea of exactly what my ds will like. I rarely buy him something that he doesn't like, but I save my receipts, so he can return anything he doesn't want and get something he prefers.

I don't consider it to be wasteful or icky -- my ds loves opening all of the presents, and we enjoy buying them for him, so it's a win-win situation all-around. Sure, we go way overboard, but it's family tradition to do that, so it works for us.

I can definitely understand how it could be a chore if you don't like to shop, though, or if your family members are hard to buy for, or if your kids just aren't really into getting a lot of gifts. In our house, though, my ds is already counting down the days to Christmas -- and fortunately for us, his best friend's family is very much like ours, so his mom and I have been coordinating some of the stuff the boys will be getting, so they can play the same video games online together, etc.


Sure, it's fun because you have disposable income. If you don't, like most of the people who find this thread really applies to them, then it is extremely stressful. It can become so stressful that it is paralyzing. You might not realize if you haven't been there, but if you have that small amount of disposable income, that even planning for some extra holiday baking or other treats can use up that small amount before you even get to dividing it up for gifts. Plus, you have to make sure you allow for tax and the money for gas or for shipping etc. and a small amount is poof! gone! Having to justify making the hard choices on what to do with the little bit of money you have, makes it all the harder.
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#70 Elinor Everywhere

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:57 PM

But WHY does it have to be about tons of gifts? I *know* half the gifts I buy will probably go unused, no matter how hard I try. Ugh. I don't want to do it because it seems so *wasteful* and...icky. Not because I am lazy. We have so much *stuff*! I seriously think everyone should give it all up-the Black Fridays and cyber Mondays and ALL of it and yes, put up lights and bake cookies for the neighbors and make scented play dough because we are edging out all of the good stuff with the parties and shopping and it certainly isn't making anyone any happier. That is what it sounded like she was saying to me, and I have to agree in large part. It is too stressful, all of it.


This is how I am starting to feel. Although we are very lucky and not strapped at all financially, the last few years I've been reining it in. I'd like to say we're substituting more family time, but we've always done that. Paper snowflakes with Dad (he's the crafty one), decorating the house like crazy with Dad (he has the decorating gene), cooking and baking with Dad (he's the cook), ensuring lots of traditions (yay, something I'm good at!), and spending time outside walking, hiking, bike-riding, etc (me again).

What is different is the things that are subtracted - frantic mall time, running around, stress. The kids still get plenty, but it seemed like for a while they were losing interest in unwrapping gifts. Wake-up bell!

For the OP, I love the present my 11yo niece requested: a sturdy rope and strips of Velcro! I can just hear her brain whizzing away with creative ideas... :)


#71 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:06 AM

Sure, it's fun because you have disposable income. If you don't, like most of the people who find this thread really applies to them, then it is extremely stressful. It can become so stressful that it is paralyzing. You might not realize if you haven't been there, but if you have that small amount of disposable income, that even planning for some extra holiday baking or other treats can use up that small amount before you even get to dividing it up for gifts. Plus, you have to make sure you allow for tax and the money for gas or for shipping etc. and a small amount is poof! gone! Having to justify making the hard choices on what to do with the little bit of money you have, makes it all the harder.


Yep, and hearing (or reading) all the time about how much fun other people are having spending money like crazy can make a stressful and emotionally draining season even more difficult.

We've had good years and tough ones. This one is in between. Fortunately, my kids are older and were the ones to ask if we could tone it down this year. So, we will actually be doing less than we could, in theory, afford. It's a good place to be. But I've been elsewhere often enough to have a great deal of compassion and understanding for the folks who aren't as comfortable. I truly don't see how it's helpful to lecture people who are scraping together small amounts of money trying to make some kind of Christmas for their kids how much fun it is to spend more lavishly.
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#72 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:08 AM

This is how I am starting to feel. Although we are very lucky and not strapped at all financially, the last few years I've been reining it in. I'd like to say we're substituting more family time, but we've always done that. Paper snowflakes with Dad (he's the crafty one), decorating the house like crazy with Dad (he has the decorating gene), cooking and baking with Dad (he's the cook), ensuring lots of traditions (yay, something I'm good at!), and spending time outside walking, hiking, bike-riding, etc (me again).
What is different is the things that are subtracted - frantic mall time, running around, stress. The kids still get plenty, but it seemed like for a while they were losing interest in unwrapping gifts. Wake-up bell!
For the OP, I love the present my 11yo niece requested: a sturdy rope and strips of Velcro! I can just hear her brain whizzing away with creative ideas... :)


Right. We are not strapped or in trouble. It just loses something at some point. I think I am going to make fort kits for my nieces and nephew. :)

#73 lifesadream83

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:13 AM

I can't be the only one with this problem ...

Without boring you with the details, we have recently assessed our money situation, done a careful budget, and realized we can -- maybe -- squeeze out $25 to spend on Christmas, for everything.

And that's actually being somewhat optimistic.

I already work on evenings and weekends, so taking on an extra job isn't something I can do. I mean, I'm already doing it.

And this is with old cars that are paid for, kids wearing nothing but hand-me-downs, shopping at Aldi's, kids in NO extra-curricular classes or activities, etc. In other words, it's not like we could come up with the money if we cut back extras. There are no extras. There is no money left over after things like food, gas, insurance, utilities, etc.

Anyway, if you've ever been in that situation ... what do you do for Christmas? Do you tell the kids, "Sorry, Santa's not coming for anyone this year?" Do you toss a candy cane in each kids' stocking and tell them Merry Christmas?

There's gotta be something better than telling the kids we have nothing and Christmas is canceled for the whole family. Any ideas? Thanks!


We are not this bad off but things are tight and I grew up in a house where that was the norm. And this is the problem I see with SANTA and nobody truly understands unless they have been there. Your post makes me so happy I never taught my dd about Santa and completely fit my reason for not doing so. SANTA is NOT REAL. We have never taught our child about Santa for this exact purpose. Not all kids get equally. That doesn't mean they were bad and it doesn't mean anything other then some parents don't spoil their children. I would sit down with them and tell them that there is no such thing as Santa if they don't already know. It is better then them feeling like they did something wrong all year.

Now, I want you to take this into account. Your family will be together. My husband and I have each spent holiday's away from our dd at war and in other military situations. And there are a ton of families/people who are out there alone. There are homeless people and hungry people and dying people. So again In a situation like this you need to look a the positives: you are together!

Then I would do this ASAP.
http://www.livestron...ncome-families/

I posted on a different forum how we were saving money this year and someone else responded with she was creating family experiences for gifts this year instead of individual gifts.

So why don't you create a family experience:

Take a trip to the local library and pick out some family movies and some Christmas stories you can all enjoy together.

Use the $25 to make cookies & popcorn and maybe some throw together some type of activity you all can do together that would make the day a memorable one for the good. Go to their favorite park or play in the snow. Do something out of the ordinary.


If you are creative you can create gifts or give things you know you dc love that you already have. I made all my Christmas cards this year. I am making clothes for my dd's doll out of her old clothes and using string and my sewing machine that are already in the house. My hubby is making her custom lego minifigures by using templates that are online. I have yarn and art supplies that have been packed up for years that I am going to go through and arrange into a craft set for her. You could go through your house and find everything you can spare. There was a mom on a different forum also who traded all her DVD's into Amazon and used the gift card from the trade in to buy their gifts. Are you any good at writing? You could write and illustrate a book for them on your computer and print it off and paint it. Are they young you could make coloring books by printing pages off the internet and stapling it together.

#74 mamakven

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:14 AM

Sure, it's fun because you have disposable income. If you don't, like most of the people who find this thread really applies to them, then it is extremely stressful. It can become so stressful that it is paralyzing. You might not realize if you haven't been there, but if you have that small amount of disposable income, that even planning for some extra holiday baking or other treats can use up that small amount before you even get to dividing it up for gifts. Plus, you have to make sure you allow for tax and the money for gas or for shipping etc. and a small amount is poof! gone! Having to justify making the hard choices on what to do with the little bit of money you have, makes it all the harder.


we intentionally have decided not to do Christmas gifts, but are also having to forego much of what we'd normally love to do this time of year, because of finances, and i am STILL finding myself massively stressed out and down during this last weekend, in particular, and feeling anxious and just all around not at ease about buying our essentials. its a difficult time. i can just so relate to all this, and its strangely encouraging seeing others in the same position.

#75 mamakven

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:15 AM

ugg, sorry! another duplicate!

#76 shinyhappypeople

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:36 AM

OK, first things first, box everything and wrap as nicely as you can (get creative). Even a pack of gum should be wrapped. Unwrapping presents is half the fun.

Hit the thrift stores. Around here, I can always find gently used board games for $2 or less. Same with DVDs (lots of kids titles) and books. Toys are more hit and miss, but it's worth a look. One Christmas when we had almost nothing to spend, I bought younger DD an old (but decent condition) Barbie cruise ship that she STILL plays with years later. Best $5 I spent :) and it was a (literally) BIG present, so had a bit extra "wow" factor.

Go check out Dollar Store Crafts. Great site with lots of fun and inexpensive things to make.

Things you can make for free or almost free with stuff you already have (or can get free - ask on freecycle):

Balance board (instructions here, only with a bit of imagination and some paint, you can make yours look much nicer. These are FUN!! DH is making one for older DD this Christmas.)
Stilts (making "walking block" stilts with rope and 2 coffee cans, plus some paint or pretty paper to cover it with)
Race car ramp
Marble run
Doll clothes (go through the closets and use fabric from worn/outgrown clothing)
Doll house (use scrap wood and fabric)
Doll house furniture (google this and you'll find a ton of ideas)
Knitting loom, if you have a craft-lover

Make "how-to" books in Word (with color paper if you have it), for example:
Book of Magic Tricks
How to Juggle (complete with some homeade bean bags)
... etc. What do your kids want to learn to do?

$1 Gifts (all things I've seen at our dollar store):
Hot Wheels
Nail polish
Coloring books
Crayons
Markers
Stickers
Craft Kits
Candy / Gum
Diary / Blank books
Jump rope
"fashion dolls" (knock-off Barbies ... younger DD loves her Barbies and thinks these are also fun. Real Barbies are $5 at Target, if you want to splurge.)
Frisbees
Beach balls
Very cute headbands/hairbows
Cute, girly combs/brushes
"Fancy" bubble bath, lotions, etc.

I'm going to think about this some more. If I come up with any other ideas, I'll post them.

#77 Lara in Colo

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:05 AM

Cat, no worries, we all have bad days and can say things that come out wrong-- apparently I did!!

Mrs Mungo (as usual) said it better in 1/3 the space

Lara

#78 Ann

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:23 AM

We are in the same position this year. I am busy trying to come up with handmade items- my crafty side is getting a workout. We have a few gifts for the kids and I am making homemade items for other people. We have always kept the toys to a minimum luckily but my oldest is wanting things that are way out of the budget especially when we are strapped for food money and such.

#79 NowWeAreFour

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:52 AM

But WHY does it have to be about tons of gifts? I *know* half the gifts I buy will probably go unused, no matter how hard I try. Ugh. I don't want to do it because it seems so *wasteful* and...icky. Not because I am lazy. We have so much *stuff*! I seriously think everyone should give it all up-the Black Fridays and cyber Mondays and ALL of it and yes, put up lights and bake cookies for the neighbors and make scented play dough because we are edging out all of the good stuff with the parties and shopping and it certainly isn't making anyone any happier. That is what it sounded like she was saying to me, and I have to agree in large part. It is too stressful, all of it.


I wonder if this will fit in my signature line...

#80 Once

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:29 AM

I don't have time to read all the responses but I have a friend that told me she was selling items this year to raise money specifically for gifts for her two boys. Items like second hand clothes, a toy kitchen, trike that they grew out of. Her fund is being set aside to buy a small gift for each of them. I thought that was creative. She will probably buy something second hand for her boys too. She is smart like that.
My suggestion, fwtw, buy an inexpensive family game for them to play together. Make something for them homemade. Give a coupon for an experience, fishing with dad, a game night coupon (only you know what will work for your family. A special food item out of the grocery budget that I usually say no to....dino oatmeal is a favorote here and not too expensive. A day of baking with you. Eggnog for tree decoration day. Make is special without gifts under the tree. Ask a friend to come over and teach them something...woodworking or sewing....coupon it.
I am sorry things are tight. I hope the new year brings new promise.

#81 Parrothead

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:29 AM

Another board I belong to does this. What generally happens is that someone acts as co-ordinator and people who need help send in a list of things they need/want or that their kids like.

Then the co-ordinator posts the list anonomously eg. Family A has B12, G5 etc and then a list of their needs. Then people who can fulfil them can PM the co-ordinator for the persons address.

It is a very small board though and people know each other pretty well.

From what I've seen the past few years people on WTM are hesitant to do this for fear of people scamming gifts.

Maybe their could be a rule you hae to have had a certain number of posts or something.

I thnk largely you would have to go by trust and that can be hard on a board as big as this - which is why although it has been suggested before it has never been taken up.

I can't believe I'm volunteering, but okay. I'll be coordinator if we want to do this. I'll go start a thread and see how much interest there is.

#82 k2bdeutmeyer

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

I can't believe I'm volunteering, but okay. I'll be coordinator if we want to do this. I'll go start a thread and see how much interest there is.


Let me know if you need help....I know myself, and no way could I do it on my own, but as long as I'm sitting around on the couch most of the time, I might as well do something :) If I can help you.....I'd be happy to.
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#83 Parrothead

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:42 AM

Let me know if you need help....I know myself, and no way could I do it on my own, but as long as I'm sitting around on the couch most of the time, I might as well do something :) If I can help you.....I'd be happy to.

You may live to regret this.

(Where is the winking smiley?)

#84 k2bdeutmeyer

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:43 AM

You may live to regret this.

(Where is the winking smiley?)


Haha....I'll take the risk?!? Just know that I'm a little ADD and you'll have to stay on me :)

Really though, it would feel so good to give back a little! Just let me know....

#85 elfgivas

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:44 AM

If I had $25 for Christmas this year, I think I'd buy the supplies to get set up with Letterboxing. We'd spend Christmas morning making our stamps, then head out to find the nearest letterboxes for the rest of the day. You might start a life-long hobby for your kids.

:grouphug: Sorry things are so tight for you right now.


this is a fabulous idea! we have done this with our girls, just not on christmas day.

another idea would be for you each to choose a person you would like to give a gift of service to, and then plan together how to do that. you might shovel snow, or clean a house, or put up lights for an elderly person, or ???

you could also plan a gift of service for one another. one year, the kids detailed dh's car. it took hours. it was amazing. and they felt so very good, very different from if they had bought him something.

we also use our food money to get food gifts. so for example, each child gets a basket with some of their favourite foods in it, including things like olives, etc. i give dh maple syrup for our christmas morning waffles, and coffee and cream, with ribbons and a note of appreciation tied to each. this is money we would have spent anyway.

one year, i took all the children's christmas books we owned, and wrapped them up, and we opened one a night all thru advent and read it by candlelight. it didn't cost anything (i save old wrapping paper and we already had the candle), and it was magical.

you could learn christmas carols each night of advent and then go carolling.

thrift stores often have videos for twenty five cents or so, so if you have a video player, you could get four christmas videos for a dollar, and make that a friday night during advent tradition. wrap up the videos, put them in a basket (that you hopefully already have), and they can take turns each friday night choosing one and opening it. then you could all watch the video together with hot apple cider (many kids just like hot apple juice with a bit of cinnamon, which is cost effective too). you could even pop popcorn and make popcorn strings for the tree while you watch. if you have old socks, the kids could make sock puppets for one another.

doing a little house on the prairie read aloud this month would help change expectations. they were thrilled with an orange and a home-made doll.....

and if you have commercial television, i would limit viewing time, as it will be full of commercials for stuff, and the kids will feel sad.

:grouphug:
ann
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#86 mamajudy

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:04 AM

There are so many great ideas here! I have to agree with those who recommended more family activities. Our kids have always looked forward to Christmas, not because of the gifts, but because of the traditions that we have established over the years...making paper chains with wrapping paper for decorations, sleeping around the Christmas tree some night before Christmas, driving around to look at the lights and then coming home for cocoa, making mini gingerbread houses out of graham crackers. The list goes on. As your children get older these things will mean so much more to them than 20 minutes of opening presents on Christmas morning!

#87 LisaK in VA is in Italy

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:04 AM

My kids are getting gifts from their grandparents. At this point, we have nothing extra. I keep holding out hope that some of the thousands I'm owed for consulting work this past year will come in time, but I can't count on it. We have enough here to have a fun Christmas without a lot of gifts. Kids didn't get much last year either. It will be okay. We'll be focusing on others, and being thankful for what we do have. I've stretched the grandparent $$$ too...used, but good Bitty Baby clothes, some used books (but in great condition), bargains I've found here and there. Nothing extravagant....and trying not to fret about it. I've got a job interview on Monday...an application for a different job I put in for last week (haven't heard back, but the office was closed during the holidays), and a consulting contract I'm owed on for 2012. If I get a job that I won't be able to start until January...I plan to wrap up pictures of the presents I wanted for them under the tree...and then once I get a paycheck, we can go out and buy them.

If nothing happens, I'll be pulling out craft supplies I've squirreled away, we'll have a good meal, and some good times. We have plenty of games, we can cook and bake, and make yummy caramels. We'll have fun being together. Trying to stay positive...

#88 Parrothead

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:22 AM

Boardies helping Boardies - The Christmas special. If you can help or are in need read this thread.
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#89 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:32 AM

You know, every year when this subject comes up, I find myself thinking of Laura and Mary Wilder and how happy they were to get an orange and a new tin cup for Christmas. Even when my parents were growing up (or your grandparents for many of you, since my parents are in their late 80's and early 90's), getting one small thing was the norm. And I don't think they were harmed by it. But expectations and norms have changed so much over the years. I think it sets parents up for guilt and stress when finances are tight.
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#90 Hwin

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:46 AM

We are on a pretty tight budget this year as well. For stocking stuffers the kids will each get homemade playdough (each child gets their own color), homemade juggling balls (shown here), homemade candies (usually peanut butter cups and chocolate covered cherries), my daughter will be getting some of these headbands, and we are all going to make coupon books for eachother for special things (like 1 free movie night- you pick the movie). Everything else I am not putting in their stocking is also going to be homemade and can be found on my Pinterest board. I am trying to add in extra special things this year too like reading a different Christmas picture book every night, going on a driving Christmas lights scavenger hunt (ex. find a house decorated with only green lights), making several Christmas crafts for grandparents and others, and we are starting a new tradition this year call the 12 Days of Christmas treats where we will spend the first 12 days of December making a different cookie so we have some fun treats for the holidays. Christmas can be done on a budget- it really is not all about the presents. I asked my kids the other day what they remembered from last Christmas and the only things they remembered were the homemade treats in their stockings and the crafts we did together. New toys don't make the best Christmas memories.


Love these ideas!Especially the headbands and the crayon stubs.

While we can afford to buy a present for my 6yo (the baby will not be getting much lol), he has so many little friends and I can't afford to buy all of them new toys. I'd love to do some family projects. I think I am going to do moonsand, as long as I can figure out how to color it :)

#91 elfgivas

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

oh, you could read the book: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (from the library maybe?)
and then give each child a bar of ivory soap and they could carve one of the animals from the christmas story. you and dh could carve mary, joseph and the baby. then you could set up a nativity scene. after christmas, you have soap to wash with......

or they could be presents to one another.

hth,
ann

#92 elfgivas

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

oh, you could read the book: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (from the library maybe?)
and then give each child a bar of ivory soap and they could carve one of the animals from the christmas story. you and dh could carve mary, joseph and the baby. then you could set up a nativity scene. after christmas, you have soap to wash with......

or they could be presents to one another.

hth,
ann

#93 Chelle in MO

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:52 AM

You know, every year when this subject comes up, I find myself thinking of Laura and Mary Wilder and how happy they were to get an orange and a new tin cup for Christmas. Even when my parents were growing up (or your grandparents for many of you, since my parents are in their late 80's and early 90's), getting one small thing was the norm. And I don't think they were harmed by it. But expectations and norms have changed so much over the years. I think it sets parents up for guilt and stress when finances are tight.


I know! I was so amazed when my grandmother (b. 1908) told me that when she was a little girl, the only thing she wanted for Christmas was a doll. The only thing she GOT was an orange. ONE ORANGE. My sisters and I found an antique doll from her childhood era and gave it to her when she was in her eighties. Best gift ever.

#94 Lara in Colo

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

oh, you could read the book: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (from the library maybe?)
and then give each child a bar of ivory soap and they could carve one of the animals from the christmas story. you and dh could carve mary, joseph and the baby. then you could set up a nativity scene. after christmas, you have soap to wash with......

or they could be presents to one another.

hth,
ann




This is a really great idea!!
We will do this in the coming weeks!
Thank you!
Lara

#95 mirth

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

and if you have commercial television, i would limit viewing time, as it will be full of commercials for stuff, and the kids will feel sad.
:grouphug:


Best advice ever. I really doubt as many people in the U.S. would've come up with the idea they do not have enough stuff without the help of catalogs and TV.

#96 Delirium

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:10 PM

I'm grateful I have a tendency to buy fabric and yarn without a project in mind (and the ability *thinking of you Imp :(*). It's a tight year for us as well but with my spare craft pieces I'm making kiddo: rice hand warmers and scenting the rice; Granny square slippers ; pajamas and a stuffed animal.

#97 chiguirre

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:28 PM

My kids have only ever gotten 1 present each at Christmas, although they also get something on St. Nicholas, Three Kings' Day and Winter Solstice. We did this because opening more than one gift or having more than one new toy was just an invitation to a meltdown for my auties. But, I think this would work better even for neurotypicals than the usual explosion of stuff, especially if you're strapped for cash. Now that my kids are older, they get smaller items or cash anyway since they're not as interested in the latest hot toy.

In our family, adults don't get presents, so I plan to phase out gift giving to the kids over the next few years. If you don't do adult presents, I'd set an age cut-off and explain that to your older kids so that you can use limited resources for younger kids.

#98 Catwoman

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:32 PM

I've got a job interview on Monday...an application for a different job I put in for last week (haven't heard back, but the office was closed during the holidays)


I hope you get the job, Lisa! :)
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#99 windmillmarie

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:57 PM

Do you have a Target or Dollar Tree near you? We found quite a few surprisingly nice things for the kids in the dollar bins at Target and at the Dollar Tree.

#100 Meriwether

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:42 PM

This is how I am starting to feel. Although we are very lucky and not strapped at all financially, the last few years I've been reining it in. I'd like to say we're substituting more family time, but we've always done that. Paper snowflakes with Dad (he's the crafty one), decorating the house like crazy with Dad (he has the decorating gene), cooking and baking with Dad (he's the cook), ensuring lots of traditions (yay, something I'm good at!), and spending time outside walking, hiking, bike-riding, etc (me again).

What is different is the things that are subtracted - frantic mall time, running around, stress. The kids still get plenty, but it seemed like for a while they were losing interest in unwrapping gifts. Wake-up bell!

For the OP, I love the present my 11yo niece requested: a sturdy rope and strips of Velcro! I can just hear her brain whizzing away with creative ideas... :)


Dh and I have more money to spend on gifts than we've ever had before. We both grew up poor, so it was fun to buy gifts for awhile. I still like buying gifts. I enjoy giving gifts. But after awhile, it is just more stuff. Christmas has been so stressful for the past 7 years because we visit family over Christmas. I decorate, shop, and then ... what? We open gifts before we go and leave them, or take them along which is a pain, or a combination of both. I feel like December is wasted because we don't take the time to really celebrate Christmas. This year we are going to do things differently. We are going to spend the month leading up to Christmas actually celebrating it - we'll bake cookies and go caroling, we'll find a service project, we'll memorize the rest of Luke 2: 1-20. We'll even put together a Christmas program for my parents and IL's. Starting Christmas Day we'll give gifts for 12 days. One day the kids will each get an audio book and we'll listen to one of them. Another day they'll all get new sleds and we'll go sledding. Another day they'll each get a new winter hat (probably the day before they get the sled :) ). Another day they'll each get 1 or more books. Other days we'll get movies and boardgames. I know we'll use all the things and I enjoy getting them for the kids, but it is too much. Next year, I'm going to plan better. My kids like the stuff we give them, but I know we had just as happy times when I was a kid and I was lucky to get a very used bike. Like you, we spend lots of good quality time with the kids, but I want to make it more of a focus.
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