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Time For Christmas Shopping Yet?

by J. Money on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

santa waving out of the window

I usually don’t even THINK about this stuff until around December the 14th or 23rd, haha, but this year my mother’s cracking down on us kids and forcing us to send her our Christmas Lists by November the 10th or lights out this holiday season ;) Or so she says anyways…

We’re probably too old now to even be *getting* gifts anymore, but it’s a family tradition everyone still enjoys and we know how much fun my mom (now grandma!) has watching our faces light up every time we unwrap one of her gifts ;) And I’ll admit it’s fun watching her and my dad do the same too.

What HAS been changing over the years, however, are the amounts and PRICES of the gifts we are now passing around. Once at a chart topping $100-$150 a pop for each of us kids growing up (gifts that my parents would bestow on us, not the other way around cuz who pays attention to that as a kid? ;)), we’re now at a more appropriate $50 and under type of budget. And then around $25-$30 between us siblings and now kids/siblings significant others.

Here is what our budget will probably end up looking like this year:

  • Siblings x 4 x $30 = $120
  • Parents x $50 x 3 =$150
  • Babies/Godchilds x $25 x 3 = $75
  • Friends/Significant others/people we’re forgetting = $150?
  • Gifts between my wife and I x $50 x 2 = $100
  • GRAND TOTAL: $595

Give or take a little depending on how well we stick to the plan ;) There are times I need to spend a little over to get something REALLY cool for people, and others when I find incredible deals and end up spending a lot less for the same thing. But we’ll see how this year treats us… Either way not a bad budget, at least to me. Especially considering the wife and I only do around $50 a piece to keep things low key as we tend to spend more (around $100-$150) on each other on our birthdays instead. Which also happens to fall in December ;) It’s one crazy gift giving month, that’s for sure.

Whatever the prices may be though, it’s just nice KNOWING what to expect and that everyone’s on the same page: We want to do something nice for each other but not going overboard! I mean ‘cuz let’s face it – everything we pretty much want or need we already buy ourselves as adults, yeah?

So it’s more about the joy of opening things up and knowing everyone put some thought behind their gifts that makes the holiday fun :) And every now and then we get surprised with something we just totally love! (Which is made easier with these Christmas Lists we do now, haha… unless you go off track and try to go for the gold ;)) We even do years where you can only MAKE something for each other too, but those are fewer and far between because of how busier our lives have gotten and the time it all involves. But they are fun when we go for them.

That’s our outlook on the impending holiday, anyways. How about you? Anyone already started picking up gifts here and there? Anyone already DONE with Christmas shopping?? Tell us how you do things in YOUR hood… Every year it starts all over again! Haha…

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PS: You like it how we’re talking about Xmas today instead of Halloween like everywhere else? ;)

(Photo credit: MrDoS)


{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lance @ Money Life and More October 31, 2012 at 7:17 am

I was in Home Depot last night and they had all of their Christmas stuff out… I’m not ready yet!

It is great that you guys know what to expect money wise. Hopefully my family can stick to a similar budget or less this year!

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2 Greg@ClubThrifty October 31, 2012 at 7:18 am

Man, you are way more generous than us. After years of uncomfortable debate, we have finally convinced all of our siblings that we do not need to buy for each other. Why pass around $25 gifts/gift cards? We just save the money and can spend it on things we would pick out for ourselves. Besides that, we travel 1,600 miles round trip to see my familiy, so there is a big cost as well. Also, I have 2 nieces and nephews on my side and 7 on Holly’s…so we spend plenty of money on each other’s kids.

Our parents still spend quite a bit on us, although with the addition of grandkids, that is changing. Honestly, anything we need we just buy for ourselves anyway.

Bah humbug:)

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3 Travis @Debtchronicles October 31, 2012 at 7:35 am

My parents still insist on buying my brother and I a gift for Xmas, even though we’ve said time and time again that although they’re welcome to get something for the grand kids, we just want to spend time with them. Oh well.

On Vonnie’s side, we have an extended get together and all the adults bring a $15 gift to throw into a pile. We sit in a big circle and take turns going around the circle. First time everyone just picks a gift and opens it. After that you have to shake a pair of dice – if you get doubles you get to “trade” presents with whomever you want. After some predetermined amount of times around the circle, we quit and what you have is your gift.

Pretty fun stuff, and a whole lot easier on the wallet. :)

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4 Slackerjo October 31, 2012 at 7:57 am

My family has everything they need (in triplicate). I don’t need anything (no space) so I gave about $600 to charity. Twenty minutes of clicking on the internet and shopping was done and done! I tend to give gifts that allow a person to start their own business and become self-sufficient.

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5 Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies October 31, 2012 at 8:06 am

Gifts on Mr. PoP’s side of the family are more extravagant than those on my family’s side, so those are what we need to keep an eye on. We keep telling his parents not to buy us big gifts (we’re grown-ups now), but so far no luck. Not willing to give them grandkids yet for the experimental purpose in seeing if that would change like in Greg’s family above.

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6 Michelle October 31, 2012 at 9:14 am

We usually spend a lot on each other. He wants a gun and a new carburetor (however you spell that!) so I’m thinking at a little over $1K for him, and then I want a nice vacation. :)

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7 J. Money October 31, 2012 at 9:20 am

@Lance @ Money Life and More – Oh man, Christmas stuff is everrrrrrrywhere these days – so crazy how it creeps and creeps earlier every year. But honestly that’s totally alright with me – I love being in the holiday spirit for extended amounts of time! :)
@Greg@ClubThrifty – Haha… I’m sure we’ll end up going that route as time goes on too ;) Every year the idea comes up but gets shot right back down soon after. I have a feeling that as more babies enter the picture though, that’ll change real fast ;) As long as we’re all together and celebrating though, it’s a-okay with me. The gifts are just some extra fun to participate in.
@Travis @Debtchronicles – WOAHHH I want to do that!!! That sounds fun!!!!! Totally bringing that up to my fam this year, haha… I mean $hit – even if you did it with $50 gifts each or $100 it would still be much cheaper for everyone (and a lot sexier!). You guys do it right over there, thanks for the tip ;)
@Slackerjo – Awww, that’s a nice idea :) I take it you use Kiva then? I’ve donated/invested there 4 years ago and my same $500 keeps getting reinvested with people over and over again since! I love it.
@Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies – Haha… all in due time, right? ;)
@Michelle – Oh boy, haha… it’s gonna be a FUN Christmas for you all! :)

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8 Brian October 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

J$ you are missing out on the best cheap gift this year! Baby pictures for all your family! You can even splurge and get them in a nice-ish frame… Your parents would totally love that more than just about anything you can buy them!

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9 Joe @ Retire By 40 October 31, 2012 at 9:39 am

I haven’t seen any Christmas stuff yet and I was at the mall yesterday. We just went for a walk because it was raining outside. Didn’t spend any money.
We usually spend money around Black Friday. For Christmas, we only spend a few dollars on small gifts.

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10 Mar October 31, 2012 at 9:45 am

I already bought most of my family their gifts already spending a grand total of $300 which is averaging $15-25 per person. I never have done this before and I think it’s long over due. My mother would buy presents for the family and just put “from all of us” which is nice of her but I don’t really like it when people attach my name to something that I had no intention of buying for that person in the first place unless I really did put some money down. This year will be the only year that everyone will get something at the exact same time. I just hope they like what I give them and it doesn’t end up in the back of the closet or worst..exchanged! I definitely owe my little sister a new room ( which I have been promising her for the last five years) her birthday is December 23 so she always ends up getting screwed on the parties and gifts in my opinion. I think in the new year I’m going to have Christmas in July…it would totally be better. We could all exchange sun screen and beach towels way more inexpensive than what we buy each other now.

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11 Stephanie October 31, 2012 at 9:54 am

Our Christmas budget is usually around $500. We buy for each set of parents, nieces, nephews and friends’ kids. We each have one or two friends we exchange with. And since he has a lot of siblings, we do a Secret Santa, so our household only has to buy for two siblings. I like my tradition for getting together with my friends from high school the best though: we don’t exchange gifts ( although I inevitably make cookies for everyone), we just go out together for a nice dinner or brunch and enjoying taking time out from our hectic adult schedules to enjoy each others’ company. :-)

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12 Budget & the Beach October 31, 2012 at 10:32 am

I’m one of those people who doesn’t really have ANY Christmas shopping to do. Crazy huh?

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13 J. Money October 31, 2012 at 10:33 am

@Brian – OH YEAH!! D’uh! Totally going to do that – thanks for the reminder!
@Joe @ Retire By 40 – I wish we lived closer! I’d love to take breaks and walk around the mall with you :) We could have daddy-kid time!
@Mar – Haha, there you go ;) You can tell her that I used to celebrate mine on November 26th instead of December 26th (my bday) too and that also helped. The nice things about Xmas babies though is that you’re always surrounded by your family! Tha was my favorite part about it all… only it would be nice to have your FRIENDS around too, which is harder as you get older because they’re all with their families around the holidays too :(
@Stephanie – Secret Santas! Yes! I always forget about those, but LOVE being a part of ‘em when the opportunity arises… I feel like that may be a route we go too over time as our family keeps expanding, similar to Travis’ idea up there. Your idea with hanging out with high school friends is a fun idea too :)
@Budget & the Beach – YES! How’d you pull that one? :)

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14 m1nt5 October 31, 2012 at 11:10 am

I already did all my christmas shopping.
I have a lil’ sister, a lil’ stepdaughter and my own toddler. So we just get gifts for them.
I totally hate shopping on the holiday season so I buy as I go (and money allows) during the year :)
I’ve spent about 200 on all of them. Nothing for my husband nor me…or not yet ;)

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15 Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey October 31, 2012 at 11:28 am

Anyone already DONE with Christmas shopping? My cousin! LOL. She is always excited with Christmas she does her Christmas shopping as early as September. Early this week, she posted on her Facebook wall that she is done with her Christmas shopping. I can’t help but give her a standing ovation!

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16 Crystal @ Get A Copywriter October 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I started making a couple of gifts a few months ago that I need to finish up. For all of our friends and family, $25 or less per person is usually what we all agree to. Sometimes someone goes nuts, but that is what we all generally stick to. This year, I’ve started looking early because I want to find that “just right” gift for everyone, but we’ll see…

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17 G. Jones October 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Since I started my “Get out of Debt 2014″ I told everyone not to buy me gifts (i don’t have kids) and I am making candies as gifts this year. There are 8 of us total and over 26 nieces and nephews, I couldn’t afford all of them if I wanted to but I do want to let them know that I am thinking of them during the holiday season thus the candy giviving idea was born. It will be around 50.00 or so including the ingredients and the packaging! Winning, and next year when I am debt free I will upgrade to a baked goods basket, they understand being debt free is is important and that it is the thought that counts, I am just happy to get Christmas cards. lol

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18 AverageJoe October 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm

We don’t do the “stand line on Black Friday” thing, but I will look at the deals and score some good ones on things that are on sale but not the “hot” items. Last year I saved 1/2 on a phone for my parents, 3/4 on a hard drive for my brother, and 1/2 on video games for my crazy posse’ (the kids….don’t tell them they’re my posse’.)

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19 Carol in Mpls October 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Easy for me — my father, my brother and his girlfriend. No other relatives for Xmas time. At my end, I usually do about $50 or less each, which has been the norm for a long time (not a lot of extra income, so keep it simple). My brother tends to give me gift cards to Nordstrom (!) and Macy’s, which I love, even though I don’t especially like shopping. I do all my gifting from cute shops in my neighborhood, and rarely have to go to the mall. Yeah! Try to find something fun, or locally made, which feels more meaningful. My father gives us money, as he is no longer able to go out shopping (he’s in an assisted facility), and then I write the checks, since I have the checkbook :)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

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20 Econowiser October 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm

WOW! You guys spend a lot of money on gifts for Christmas. Here in The Netherlands it’s not that big and we certainly don’t spend that much on gifts. We don’t buy gifts for friends, for instance. Nobody does. Maybe some small gifts for family and that’s it. I think Christmas shouldn’t be about the gifts but about spending time with your loved ones.

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21 Seth October 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I have started to get my wife to tell me everyone who we are buying for. My side is easy, my brother and my parents. Her side is more complicated, nieces, nephews, baby cousins, dirty santa, god children, etc. I have already started working on a budget, fortunately, I started putting money aside in the middle of the year for Christmas.

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22 LB @ Finanical Black Sheep October 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm

It’s way too early for Christmas, as it’s still HALLOWEEN! Btw, Happy Halloween (and don’t go naked for Halloween per this awesome video I posted today. ;) It made me think of your blog)

I saw Christmas stuff out during the end of summer around back to school time at my local Target. They had the garden stuff on clearance and already had some Christmas things out. It has looked like Christmas for months now, even though all this week it is 70 degrees. Besides, most of the time we don’t have snow that stays around until after Christmas. It rarely is a white Christmas, so until I decorate and open gifts with my hubby it never really feels like Christmas.

Even though I say, it is too early for Christmas I start purchasing in September or earlier, because I want to get the perfect gifts for the ones I love. This year I only have my hubby and my mom and both are done. I have no one else to purchase for, thank goodness, so it’s particularly easy. My hubby and I go all out for Christmas, as we don’t splurge any other times, except maybe birthdays. I think Christmas is big for both of us because we purchase presents we normally wouldn’t buy for ourselves or save for in our budget.

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23 KitchenPenguin October 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I’m one of those annoying people that buys all year long so the spending and deal finding is spread out. I had to get DBF to build a chest to store my future gift and wrapping supplies collection. But thanks for the post because it reminded me that I need to place the Christmas Kona coffee order and poke my artist friend about that commission I’m getting for DBF.

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24 GB @ In Budgets We Trust November 1, 2012 at 3:17 am

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about gift buying but haven’t purchased yet. That changes tomorrow. A friend of mine runs a consignment shop and I just got a like-new designer bag (heavily discounted) put on hold for me via her page on Facebook. Gift for my sis/matron of honor. Been thinking of making home-made vanilla extract (w/ vodka and vanilla beans… super cheap) to fill some of the gaps in my budget.

I like the way you broke down your expected gift budget. I’m going to steal that idea, too, so thanks! :)

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25 Vangile Makwakwa November 1, 2012 at 11:21 am

Wow so glad I’m spending Christmas in South Afrca this year and not in the Boston again. The culture in South Africa is that kids get gifts and adults get each others’ company and laughter. So that being said I will probably buy my little cousin a doll and wine for Christmas lunch. I do think that shopping right now for your gifts is a smart move. You could probably get great deals on Amazon or eBay if you start looking now.

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26 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager November 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Oh man! With buying a house this year, I’m definitely cutting way back. I’m thinking $50 donations to charities for each of my family members. And then maybe making some gifts for friends.

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27 Megan November 2, 2012 at 9:38 am

Ahh Christmas! Probably my favourite holiday of the year.

My husband and I really emphasize home-made gifts for eachother, (winners so far: from him: portrait of us in pixels, from me: quilt made out of his old t-shirts) and we work together on making delicious foodstuffs and handicrafts for our friends. My family is hugely into gift giving but they’re getting more and more into making things.

I’ve just started a bi-weekly craft night (wine and musicals -yes please) with some girlfriends which are dedicated to Xmas gift making.

There is still some buying – mostly thoughtful trinkets or gags, and since I have 13 cousins and all of the associated aunts and uncles – that side of the family does an annual Secret Santa. One gift, $20 maximum. Most of our holiday budget goes into supplies – usually $150-$200 takes care of everyone on both sides as well as friends. The cost in time, of course, is astronomical – and that counts for a lot. But I try to just contrast that with the money I’m not spending going to the movies or out for drinks instead. ;)

This post has made me so excited for Christmas – I can’t wait now!

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28 J. Money November 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

@m1nt5 – Nice work! That really is the best way to do it – pick up things throughout the year when you see stuff you know they’ll like mixed in with being on sale! Cuz when you wait to the end, you get what you get!
@Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey – Wowwww… I shall second that ovation! :)
@Crystal @ Get A Copywriter – I think the $25 limit is a good and fair one. Plenty enough to find something really cool discounted down, or to even buy materials for to make something for them like you mention… A nice solid number :)
@G. Jones – Heck yeah it is!! Maybe you’ll motivate THEM to put getting out of debt up high on the priority list too! I think that’s excellent – way to go :)
@AverageJoe – Ahahhaa… what do you call them if there’s only ONE like I have? I like the posse idea! :)
@Carol in Mpls – Yeah, getting stuff locally and from cute little shops is awesome :) I find that enjoyable too.
@Econowiser – I guess we like to mix the two? Haha…
@Seth – Dirty Santa?? Is that a sexual term? Haha…
@LB @ Finanical Black Sheep – Actually you forgot someone else to buy for – ME! D’uh ;) (And you were totally right – BEST. VIDEO. EVER.)
@KitchenPenguin – There you go! Love that stuff!
@GB @ In Budgets We Trust – Steal away! And soooo cool your friend runs a consignment shop! I’m so jealous!!
@Vangile Makwakwa – How fun! I have yet to visit Africa but it’s on my list to do sometime in the near future :) I feel like it would be a nice drastic change from Europe and other places I’ve been. Plus I gotta pick up some more foreign currency for my collection – woo!
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – That’s a good idea :)
@Megan – Awesome!!! And even more so? Your bi-weekly craft nights!! I wanna join!!

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29 Cait November 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

Where’s your budget for Baby $? ;) Not that he really needs anything from you two… the grandparents are sure to spoil him enough for the whole family.

Anyway, I try to map out my Christmas spending in the first week or so of November. I’ve already picked up one small gift and am plotting out what others might like. This year, I’m only going to buy gifts for Mom, Dad, Baby Sis and Baby Bro. I might do some baking for when I visit friends in Victoria… but it’s going to be a family-only Christmas for me this year! With that in mind, I’d like to keep it in the $200-250 range.

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30 J. Money November 5, 2012 at 10:44 am

ACK!!! I forgot about him! Haha….. wow. Great dad I am, huh? :)

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31 ephphy January 19, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I’m really horrendously behind in my reading but I wanted to share what we do.

When Christmas is spent with my family, the rule is if you’re over 15, you bring two gifts worth approximately US$15-$20 each, and we do something similar to Travis @Debtchronicles above. Pile them in the middle of the room, we sit in a circle, and draw numbers from a hat. Person number one goes first and chooses a gift from the pile, but only by pointing and describing (so no squeezing and shaking). A child not involved in the scheme (they get their own gifts as usual, usually limited to $50 or so) delivers the selected gift which gets opened. The second person (and subsequent people) then decide if they want to steal an already opened gift, or open a new one, but a gift can only be stolen twice before it’s pronounced DEAD. If your gift gets stolen, you get another turn, and we work through in number order till everyone has one gift, whether dead or not. Then we work backwards in number order, stealing and unwrapping in amongst lots of hilarity. When there is only one unwrapped gift left in the pile, it is a frantic go around the group of “what’s dead?” as opening the final gift means you’re stuck with it and there’s no more stealing. The most stolen gifts are lottery/scratch tickets, and the teens involved usually buy two gifts they want, and the adults like to steal them to tease :)

A few years back, when one of my nephews was in his early teens and aspiring to be a chef, would spend the last few weeks of November making hoards of meals to pack into single serve containers, freeze them, and that would be his early combined birthday/Christmas gift to his two single (at the time) aunties living together who were usually too frantic to cook during December.

As for gifting between myself and the other half, because our birthdays are in February and March respectively, and throw in Valentines, we spend about US$350-$400 to cover all three events. I didn’t get a Christmas gift this time around, and my birthday marks possession date for our new home, I’ve been told something great is coming after the move is done. I spent about $100 on his Christmas gift which came late, and I’ll spend the remainder on something that he discovers he needs or wants once we’ve moved.

I’m otherwise a grinch when it comes to gifts. I don’t usually want them myself, so I don’t give them, especially if I’m not going to be there on the day.

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32 J. Money January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Nice! I’m really loving that “trading” idea w/ gifts the more I hear it :) We used to do it every few years at parties and what not, but never at my own house. It’s always so fun! And I’d try and steal the lottery ones too – those were always my favorites as well.

Thanks for sharing! I’m already missing the Christmas holiday so this is a nice refresher :)

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