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I don't know about everyone else but every year my wife and I always start out the Christmas season by saying we won't buy much for the kids and we have always ended up going overboard anyway. Well this year we stuck to our guns and have hopefully started a new tradition for our family. We told our kids that since Christmas is Jesus' birthday and that because Jesus received 3 gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) that they would get 3 gifts. On Christmas morning when I put the packages under the tree I really had second thoughts. We usually have a ton of gifts and unwrapping takes quite a while. When I saw how few gifts were actually there I worried that our kids' Christmas would be miserable. My biggest fear was the potential disappointment of our 5 year old daughter. Well, I was worried for nothing because she was thrilled to get those three very modest gifts. Even though she was finished unwrapping in about 5 minutes she was very grateful and happy. When everyone asked what she got for Christmas she now says "I got three presents just like Jesus". It just goes to show you that you don't have to spend a fortune and sink yourself into debt to have a nice Christmas.

There is one downside to this tradition though. The Spring yardsale stock will have fewer toys than usual. ;)
 

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Excellent way to do it.

One thing we do is to ask people what they would like [and ask for a range of things] in a sort of round-robin list exchange and then work to keep within our budget. Keeps everyone from getting candles if they're scent-sensitive, candy if they're on a diet, etc. and helps if someone's unemployed - if they can't afford much at least they know their gift will be appreciated because it's not just some cheap thing they picked up but something the person actually wants.
 

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My wife and I did the same. Presents for her and me plus her son and his wife (living with us) and her two other children (not living with us), but none for extended family. We explained to all our decision was due to the economic downturn and prepping for the future worsening economy.

My wife have also started another tradition that I hope some of you might find interesting. Whenever one of us suggests that we go out to eat, that person puts the equivalent amount of money that would have been spent in the other spouse's hands to deposit into savings. I suggested lunch out this past Saturday and paid my wife $20, which went into the savings account. Right out of my wallet. I caught myself on Monday ALMOST doing the same for dinner, but didn't finish the sentence, so avoided the penalty.
 

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We did the same thing this year. Our kids each got 3 gifts: one was a clothing item, one toy, and one educational gift (books, this time). They still got their stockings on Christmas morning and we didn't hear one complaint. On my side of the family, we drew names and had a $25 limit. On dh's side, I made a variety of homemade cookies.

The results:
1. The kids gave more individual attention to their presents and quickly learned to share with each other for more variety
2. Less trash to take out
3. Less strain on the wallet

By the way, I love the idea of paying yourself for not eating out!:thumb:
 

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My son had as much fun making a robot costume from the boxes (guess I know what to get him next year!). He still can't figure out why Santa brings fruit and nuts instead of candy, for the stocking when Santa gets to eat cookies all night!! Kids are so funny!
 

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We have always had the "three like Jesus" policy around here. It works fine. They still get a stocking that has little things in in (candy, new toothbrush, yo-yo, stickers...) as well. One gift is a bigger gift and the other two are much more modest and often accessories for bigger gift -like furniture pack for a dollhouse.
 

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The other thing I do is save toys the olders have grown out of and hide with the preps and then the youngers get them (well they are new to them) later. I had a wonderful wooden kitchen hidden for four years until the next daughter was old enough to use it and she was thrilled to get it on Christmas morning and had no idea it wasn't brand new. (the olders are sworn to secrecy)
 

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I spent $50 on the kids and my mom total. They had about 6 gifts each. Bought a lot on sale, second handed, trade and used coupons. All of it was practical or educational. And they were very happy. Next year I am planning on a free christmas - gifts either home made or bartered for! Might as well get in the habit now so it wont make the first christmas after the shtf seems so hard to swallow
 

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Discussion Starter #10
SurvivalJug - Grand total spent on all 3 presents was less than $50. She got a Cross necklace, pair of skates, and Pixos.
 

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We have tried that same reasoning over the years but always felt (guilt?) and ended up purchasing more gifts at the last minute... Did better this year and focused much more on the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of family, friends and neighbors. Sounds a little like the teo great commandments. Happy New year
 

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Just a question: how many gifts did everyone get from their parents when your were children? I grew up in the 80's and it was 1.
 

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You wouldn't believe the grief I have received from my parents and siblings for not giving presents this year (due to economic conditions) outside of my own immediate family. I guess they have forgotten the true reason for the season. :(
 

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One thing my wife and I have decided to do is when the kid(s) hit about 3yrs old they start getting "useful" gifts i.e. their first lost-proofing kit, or survival kit and then we teach them how to use the items in it. My parents always gave us boys our first rifle at 8yrs old and I plan on continuing that tradition with my children including any girls.

We're a bit more leniant on amount of presents if they have a USE for protection, survival, etc. Knowledge also...I really look forward to teaching my kids about survival skills and all sorts of stuff that I've been able to pick up and learn over the years.
 

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I don't know about everyone else but every year my wife and I always start out the Christmas season by saying we won't buy much for the kids and we have always ended up going overboard anyway. Well this year we stuck to our guns and have hopefully started a new tradition for our family. We told our kids that since Christmas is Jesus' birthday and that because Jesus received 3 gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) that they would get 3 gifts. On Christmas morning when I put the packages under the tree I really had second thoughts. We usually have a ton of gifts and unwrapping takes quite a while. When I saw how few gifts were actually there I worried that our kids' Christmas would be miserable. My biggest fear was the potential disappointment of our 5 year old daughter. Well, I was worried for nothing because she was thrilled to get those three very modest gifts. Even though she was finished unwrapping in about 5 minutes she was very grateful and happy. When everyone asked what she got for Christmas she now says "I got three presents just like Jesus". It just goes to show you that you don't have to spend a fortune and sink yourself into debt to have a nice Christmas.

There is one downside to this tradition though. The Spring yardsale stock will have fewer toys than usual. ;)
Great idea ! I have the same problem every Christmas and it has totally gotten out of control. Christmas is nothing more than a consumer driven frenzy to try to outdo the year before and my wallet can't keep up. Not to mention the kids don't spend much time with their gifts and the gifts are not appreciated anymore. I also am going to try to change this costly tradition and get back to the real reason for the season.
 

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I don't know about everyone else but every year my wife and I always start out the Christmas season by saying we won't buy much for the kids and we have always ended up going overboard anyway. Well this year we stuck to our guns and have hopefully started a new tradition for our family. We told our kids that since Christmas is Jesus' birthday and that because Jesus received 3 gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) that they would get 3 gifts. On Christmas morning when I put the packages under the tree I really had second thoughts. We usually have a ton of gifts and unwrapping takes quite a while. When I saw how few gifts were actually there I worried that our kids' Christmas would be miserable. My biggest fear was the potential disappointment of our 5 year old daughter. Well, I was worried for nothing because she was thrilled to get those three very modest gifts. Even though she was finished unwrapping in about 5 minutes she was very grateful and happy. When everyone asked what she got for Christmas she now says "I got three presents just like Jesus". It just goes to show you that you don't have to spend a fortune and sink yourself into debt to have a nice Christmas.

There is one downside to this tradition though. The Spring yardsale stock will have fewer toys than usual. ;)
Great idea ! I have the same problem every Christmas and it has totally gotten out of control. Christmas is nothing more than a consumer driven frenzy to try to outdo the year before and my wallet can't keep up. Not to mention the kids don't spend much time with their gifts and the gifts are not appreciated anymore. I also am going to try to change this costly tradition and get back to the real reason for the season.
 
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