How Many Holiday Gifts Should Kids Get?

I have been struggling about gift giving this year.

George, this guy that is super hot, doesn’t talk about his feelings, and happens to be my husband, is all about extravagant Christmases: a living room full of toys that kids take all day to open.

Last year, without consulting me, he went to a store and got the kids a bunch of what I call trash toys, or plastic artifacts that are cheap, break easily, but are good to fill in the gift gaps.

I was pissed!

Then I remembered that it was the Holidays and that George is a decent husband 90% of the time, so I just said condescendingly: “you will regret it,” because I am smooth like that.

Christmas day arrived and, sure enough, the kids were not able to handle so many gifts. By 3pm they had given up on opening packages and they were ready to move on to better activities- yes, they are lame sometimes.

I gave George the loving look of “I told you so,” and made him hide the rest of the gifts in the garage to return them the next day, because women ARE PSYCHIC! And men should not doubt our predicting abilities.

This year, I waited until November to have the # of gift conversation with my husband, and, this time, it involved death threats. I don’t think is right for children to get a lot of gifts, plus, we need to remember that to whatever we buy, we need to add what grandmas, aunt, and uncles get them, too.

The whole situation was made worst because we are going to Chile for the Holidays this year and my whole family down there is into raw/vegan/non-materialistic/zen master/meditate all day sh*t.

Last November, my sister and Irish twin wrote in the family chat that there is a maximum of 2 gifts per child this year and THAT IS IT! “If anybody has a problem with that, go to hell,” she wrote. As you can see, my Chilean family has a real problem with expressing their emotions, and you know who that message was directed to: us, the Americans.

I took some time to respond because, how could I break the news to George? I had two options: a war with my husband or my Latino family. You can guess who I chose to fight.

Although I take issue with not being able to decide how many gifts I can get my kids, I also started feeling relaxed and happy about not having to buy (and then transport) a bunch of junk. My kids are 3 and 5. They are very cute, but not that sophisticated. 3 small gifts will make them as happy as 15 toys. I also realized that I am not interested in receiving anything this year. I have everything I could hope for. George and I talked about getting each other something really small and that is it.

So, here is my question to you, how many gifts are you getting your kids? Friends? Special other?

How many gifts do you think is right for children to get?

I would love to hear your comments.

The good side of all of this is that we are saving tons of money this year – insert happy millionaire emoji face.

Finally, let’s take a moment to admire the sweet children I have. The photos in this post make me want to hug them until they suffocate.

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13 replies
  1. Jessica says:

    My anxiety level around the holidays are normally high. I will be honest and say, I do not like the commercial part of Christmas. However, I only buy fun stuff that they ask for on their birthdays and Christmas. With that said, I purchase the one gift they really want (their Santa gift) and 2-3 other gifts (i.e. An outfit, a learning tool or book, and normally some art supplies-my kids are into the arts). This year due to the move and all these changes going on, I let them choose what they wanted (2gifts each) and I bought their Santa gifts. They also had a $5 limit per child to buy a gift for each other. I do not spoil my kids with material thing but with love. My extended family is well-off and I struggle to buy them stuff. I feel like I am buying stuff for ppl who have everything. This year, they sent me a list and each list exceeded my budget. I had an anxiety attack over this. My immediate family isn’t like this…so the holidays are extremely hard for me and I can relate to you!

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      Your trouble about giving to the extended family is huge. I would hate to buy expensive gifts for a bunch of people that have so much – this is similar to my husband’s family. I think that we should NOT be giving gifts to every family member we have, especially to people that have everything. With my family and my husband’s we have decided to do Secret Santa and that helps a lot – although the money limit in my family is $40 and in my husband’s is $100. Cuek!

      Reply
  2. Carina says:

    I have an only child and it always takesmw great restraint not to buy too many gifts for my son. I probably still wind up buying too much, but I think that gifts lose their excitement if there are way too many. As for the adults, this year we decided not to exchange gifts. Just gifts for all the kids. All we really want is to sit and visit and enjoy delicious food and watch the kids open gifts. All the best this holiday season. (Ps – I posted about my xmas decorations, which will make you laugh because mine are the exact opposite of chic! Oh well! Lol)

    Reply
  3. Carina says:

    Pps – I was trying to say “All the best to you and yours this holiday season, Mila” xo. But it’s way past my bedtime and my dexterity is seriously compromised by this sleep deprivation! 😉

    Reply
  4. Natalia says:

    the problem is that your kids are too young to understand how much things cost and how much do you have to work to get them… I wouldn’t give too many thou…

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      haha! Especially your daughter! In reality, our kids are extremely privileged, and we need to be careful with giving them too much.

      Reply
  5. Diane says:

    Chris is the same as George – he believes in being extravagant with gifts and I am more like you where I feel a handful of gifts from us is enough, since she will also get gifts from grandparents and extended family. This year we reined it in a bit, I think because we are traveling to CT and didn’t want to schlep everything!

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      I am thinking to make our kids donate gifts they don’t need after Christmas to make some space for the new toys! My house is too small to fit any extra stuff! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

      Reply
  6. Elise Xavier says:

    Your children are so beautiful they look like they’re modeling for ads – and I’m guessing these are only phone pictures. I thought you used another stock photo until you said these were pictures of your kids.

    You 100% need to take & share more images of their gorgeous selves.

    As for Christmas – I’m a grinch and luckily so is Thomas. No presents between us or to anyone we know besides his grandmother Sue (who is getting two because we just so happened to find two nice presents that would suit her).

    That is literally all – no need for presents when you’re not in need of anything, and if you are, you’re much better off buying when it’s on sale/when you really need it anyway.

    I’d much rather spend the money on good food.

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      This is so funny! My sister has been doing that with her husband for years. At the beginning I thought they were weird and grinchie, but now, I think it is a wonderful idea. For starters, I am never able to buy George something he likes, and vice versa. He is very picky. I am not picky but George has bad taste… hahaha. kidding but not kidding. he.
      I want us to stop giving each other gifts in the future, maybe with time George will be convinced. I am a couple of bad gifts away!

      Reply
      • Elise Xavier says:

        See the issue is that for so long, we were living in an age of scarcity. I’d argue even up to the end of the 90s and early 2000s were this way. During that time having stuff was valuable. Now, we live in an age of abundance. Our stuff is for the most part junk now because it’s so cheap, it’s easily replaceable, and there’s no issue with being able to get more for the most part. Having too much is the new problem.

        To get him to “switch gears” tell him you don’t see items and “stuff” as “luxury” and “special” anymore. Instead you see spending money on quality experiences rather than stuff as special. So if he would spend $50-100 on your Christmas present, and you would do the same, use that money to fund an amazing night out instead. You’re going to have a much better time that way and you’ll have memories forged that are much better than another item to add to your garage pile.

        Thomas and I are foodies, and that money would go a long way in a nice restaurant, so there’s no questions asked what we would spoil ourselves with. If you’re more into travel, pick a place you haven’t gone to before in your own country and spend the weekend. If you’re more into having a relaxing break, have a spa trip with him. If you like sports, sports tickets. So many excellent ways to spend your money on experiences. Even if you still want to surprise each other in the name of Christmas, you can still have a rule that whatever you buy/allocate the money to has to be an experience and not an item (i.e. he buys you two tickets to see a concert, and you buy him two tickets to a sports game). I think it’s important to go together, because the point is supposed to be quality time between you two, but other than that, it could be anything.

        Thomas is good at finding me things I like, but still, I’d rather spend the money on an experience or on food than I would have him get me something. If he was bad at getting me presents, I’d make him vow not to get me another item, lol. I absolutely hate wasting money on things that will be thrown out if they’re only worn or used a couple times.

        This by the way also applies to anniversaries for us, and nowadays, birthdays as well.

        Reply
        • Mila says:

          I have been thinking a lot about your comment regarding era of scarcity and abundance and I agree 100%. I have been using that quote on others. Very insightful and true.

          Reply

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