Here's How Many Presents You Should Buy Your Kids

Oh's always something. It seems like every week there is a new "issue" that everyone in the blogosphere or social media is up in arms about. Right now there are approximately fifty million posts and articles being shared on Facebook on why you shouldn't do presents, why you should only buy "this" many presents, why you should only buy homemade/locally-made presents, or why you should go all out & buy tons of presents.

There's about fifty million reasons arguing for and against each of them too. "Kids are too spoiled already and don't need that much stuff! Stop feeding commercialism!" "Kids should be able to indulge one day a year. We say no all year long, use this day to fulfill their wishes!" "Kids should be taught the importance of giving!" "You should be reducing waste and recycling, not buying more stuff!" "You're forgetting the REAL reason for the season!" "You should be making your kids presents!" "You shouldn't make others feel bad by buying huge amounts of stuff and posting pictures on social media!" "If you have the money, why not spend a ton on presents?" "Not everybody has a ton of money to spend on presents!"
Here's a thought: stop listening to other people and do what is right for your budget, your family size, and your family's personal preferences/beliefs.
Now granted I am just another blogger adding my voice to the rabble, but I feel like everyone has shared their opinion, I might as well share mine too. And perhaps this will help those mommas out there that are debating what to do or feeling guilty.

Don't let other people dictate how you do Christmas. I'm speaking specifically of gifts but this could apply to anything - decorating, Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, an Advent calendar, a Christmas countdown, Christmas baking, and any other ways to celebrate that you may or may not do. There are a million reasons why you may or may not do those things. If you choose to buy a lot of presents or a few presents the only person who needs to be concerned about it is YOU.

I was thinking about this today and remembering my oldest son Zeke's first Christmas. He was just four months old and we debated about what to do. He wasn't going to remember it of course. He couldn't open presents yet. He obviously wasn't asking for anything specific! I'd been blessed with several baby showers so we were still stocked up on clothing and diapers. We had only been married since March and were both young, and didn't have a ton of money. We ended up getting him two little presents - a stuffed animal and a baby spoon/fork set with trucks on them. (One of which we still have!) If I remember correctly, we all slept in that morning and then opened presents together, helping Zeke open his, and then went around to our extended family member's houses to celebrate. I remember people asking me later what the baby got for Christmas and being SHOCKED that we didn't get him more or buy him any toys. he damaged for life because of that? Does he hold a deep resentment towards us? No. It worked for us and we have fond memories of that Christmas.

For our family personally this year, we did a mix of making and buying. I made some things for the kids and other family members, the kids and I did some crafts that turned into presents, and we have bought presents online/in store as well. I've talked to them about what we believe in - being thankful and grateful for what we already have, giving to those less fortunate, how much better it is to give than receive, the birth of Jesus, and the excitement and fun of the Christmas season. We've enjoyed making homemade presents and going to the store and picking out gifts that our family members will appreciate. We try to keep our budget and family size in mind. We have never been the type of family that goes overboard and has stacks and piles of presents - instead everyone gets several things they need and some that they want. We try to get the kids at least one thing they've specifically requested in their list to Santa. My kids also have grandparents and aunts & uncles who also buy for them so I try to keep that in mind.

But that is neither here nor there. That is just what our family did and I would never expect everyone to do that. Every family is different. Back to the topic at hand: if you are worried/fretting about the amount of presents you've gotten for your kids - be it a lot, or a little - think on these things: does it work for your family? Does it fit into your budget? Do you have extenuating circumstances that have complicated things - job loss, sickness, death in the family, a recent move/new baby? Or maybe you had a windfall, influx of money, want to indulge this year for a special reason, or have been blessed in some other way? How do you want your kids to be raised, or how do you want them to feel about gift-giving? Have you talked with them about it? What do you personally feel is right?

The bottom line is this: stop judging others for their decisions or relying on them to tell you what to do and do what works for your family. End of story. Okay, I'm stepping off my soapbox now...but I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments - what do you think? What does your family do?

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