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Christmas Plan


I have really struggled with Christmas spending this year. Not overspending as you would expect, but not wanting to spend at all. What a change in mindset for me!

But the debt numbers going down and the larger debt payments lately have really been inspirational. And I keep wanting to push harder.

That being said, I really appreciate the recent reader advice on Christmas presents. While Princess and Gymnast are pretty easy to buy for, the twins are much more challenging. But I have finally come up with a plan!


Gymnast will be spending Christmas with his dad this year. Don’t get me started on the emotions that rile up anytime I think about this. But with that being said, I have finished shopping for him early and am getting a box in the mail to him next week so that will be done.

I spent right around $50 on his presents and while shipping will bump that a little bit, I feel good about what I am sending and hope he enjoys it. (Can’t reveal what I got him as I’m not sure if he has ever stumbled upon this site.)

I do realize this is less than I am spending on the other three, please don’t crucify me for it. There are two reasons for this: 1) he has been quite spoiled since moving to his dad’s and wants/needs little to nothing and 2) the other three kids just have me, while he will be getting presents from his “new” family as well. I did put thought into this. Any parents who have dealt with this know what I mean. In no way am I trying to “short” my youngest son.

New Christmas Tradition

Last year was our first year in our home, in our new state and I really wanted to create some new Christmas traditions after the years of hardship. With my dad’s sponsorship, we played the Saran Wrap Ball Game, it was so much fun!

I have decided to add that as part of my Christmas budget, not tied to a particular child. As you can see from the video above, the items don’t have to be expensive. I’m budgeting $40 towards the creation of our “ball” this year.


Stockings are one of my favorite Christmas traditions from my own childhood. I have debated on what to do about Gymnast in this regards and have finally decided that this is one tradition I will not be able to share with him from a distance. I am keeping his stocking here in hopes that he will be home again someday. But I’m sure his dad and girlfriend will have some traditions that will take it’s place this year.

As for the three oldest, I am budgeting $5 10 per stocking (had to revise this number after some browing and idea gathering,) but am also putting some of the presents from their uncles and aunt in their stockings as they are gift cards. This serves two purposes, it will bulk up the stockings a bit and more importantly, keep me from losing the gift cards that came back from Texas with us!

Christmas Presents

I have decided on a budget of $100 per child. And as mentioned previously, I feel pretty good about what I’m going to get Princess, but the twins are still a mystery. I hope they reveal some needs/wants that aren’t over the top in the next couple of weeks.

I know they are all going to get cash from my parents so I will not be giving any cash or gift cards (other than the saran wrap ball.) I love this time of year. I love giving gifts. And I’ve been trying to think of a way to implement the “gift a month” idea one commentor posted recently – maybe a stack of “coupons” by month. I don’t know, I’m still thinking about it.

Christmas Total

This brings my Christmas gift total to $350 plus shipping + stockings $30 + saran wrap ball $40 = $420! Yikes, that adds up quickly. And now I’m back to wavering on these numbers again. Well, let’s say this will be my max, but I’m hoping to spend less than this. I will let you know how it goes!


  • Reply Melissa |

    I am sorry but as a child from a divorced family – you are short changing him and punishing him. If you are gong to spend the same on each child you do not take in to account how spoiled he has been at dads or the fact he will be getting presents from them.

    • Reply debtor |

      totally disagree. The value of a gift is based on how much you spend now? I think that just teaches kids to be materialistic. Does that mean the one who has the most money loves you more???

      Hope, just pick something they will like. I don’t even know why they need to know how much each item costs.

      • Reply Laura |

        I agree. Dad should be the one ashamed for not sending something to his daughter. Your son won’t be there so he won’t even know how much money you spent on everyone else. Like debtor said just pick something they will like.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    Good job on creating a budget. Didn’t you say one of the twins needed jeans earlier? As far as gymnast goes do what you think best. If it were me I might gently remind the guy spoiling him that he has other kids that might appreciate even some small acknowledgement that they were thought of during the holiday season.

  • Reply C@thesingledollar |

    Yeah, first commenter is being silly. Your budget sounds fine — maybe a little steep given how fragile your financial situation is, but fine. You really don’t need to spend identical amounts on each child. You wouldn’t even if they were in the same location! But definitely not given that one of the kids is in a place where he’ll likely be getting other things.

  • Reply Angel |

    I just want to extend my love, this is my first Christmas without my son as well and he is also with his father who for the last seven years barely remembered to call. It’s so hard to know what the right thing is. Just wishing you peace during this holiday season…

    • Reply Hope |

      Oh, Angel, then you do indeed feel my pain! I’m so sorry you are going through this as well. And thank you for the encouragement.

      I pray you have a wonderful Christmas and that both our sons have a positive experience with their fathers.

So, what do you think ?