holiday $pending

I’m curious.

I know it seems early to ask this, but I’m really curious how everyone is planning to handle their holiday shopping this year. Especially compared to years past.

I made a decision that we’re cutting way back this year. We’ve never done really extravagant presents for anyone, even the boy, but all the little things really really add up. Part of the problem is that I end up getting a bunch of last minute things that I shouldn’t have. This year I’m planning better, budgeting better, shopping smarter, and frankly, shopping less. There will be no new camera, no new iphone, no Wii in sight. (We don’t really have video games around here, and I don’t mind keeping it that way.)

This is embarrassing to admit, but last year, I thought I did really well with my planning for presents for the boy. I found some Lego sets and action figures on clearance in September/October, hid them from him, and apparently from myself too, since I promptly forgot about them. No really, I forgot I bought them, and went and bought completely different things for him in November/December. When I found everything the week before Christmas I was pretty mad at myself. I had enough freaking toys for both Christmas and his birthday in March. Ridiculous.

That won’t be happening this year, that’s for sure.

So here’s what I want to know, how is the current economy affecting your plans for the holidays? Are you cutting back a little, a lot, not at all? Did you already cut back in recent years? If you are planning to spend less, what are your strategies, or tips for doing so?

Have you even thought about any of this yet? Am I too early to even ask the question?

I’m really very curious.


16 Responses to “holiday $pending”

  1. Mary Beth (Cats, Books, Life is Good) on October 7th, 2008 7:46 am

    It is WAY too early to start thinking about Christmas/holiday giving. I have 5 birthdays between now and December 25 (starting today) all in the immediate family that I need to face up to first. If it goes anything like how I shopped for my sister, things will be on par with last year. However, I have a feeling she’s the lucky one because I think money will be a lot scarcer the closer we get to the holidays.

    Mary Beth (Cats, Books, Life is Good)s last blog post..PHOTO 6 – Name that Bug

  2. William on October 7th, 2008 8:14 am

    Well I thought everyone has been thinking about this but apparently the first comment proves me dead wrong. So on that I admit I definately have thought about this being in such a immensely fixed budget. I decided to get books for the kids this year, all kids today need to expand their minds a little more and not constantly fall under the conformity of visual stimulation. As for the adults I am going to make everyones gift this year. It doesn’t have to be very big just something from the heart. I think in the long run thats what everyone should do. It saves money, it is less stressful, last but not least it is so much more meaningful then going out and buying something off the shelf.

    Williams last blog post..Bloody good time!

  3. T with Honey on October 7th, 2008 8:50 am

    I had already cut back but the family keeps growing. My key to keeping the spending down is my gift list.

    I originally created the list to demonstrate to Honey that I really was being frugal with the holiday spending. That we just have too many gifts to buy.
    On my mom’s side of the family the adults trade names but we still get all the kids individual presents. On Dad’s side everyone gets gifts but I try to find one gift for each ‘couple’ (ie: grandma and grandpa). And then there is Christmas morning: 3 gifts from Santa to Princess, one present from mom and dad to Princess, one present from Santa to each of us, plus a gift for my mom.

    Add it up: at least 27 Christmas presents

    I haven’t even hit all those gifts for the people in our every day life, such as preschool teachers. Not buying any extra items is VERY important on this scale.

    Last year I went overboard on the stocking stuffers so I added lines for that on my list too. After hitting up clearance sales throughout the year (another key to cutting costs) I’m about halfway done.

    T with Honeys last blog post..Saturday morning will never be the same again

  4. Margaret on October 7th, 2008 8:57 am

    We tend to do that as well – buy thing here or there and stash them in different spots, so by the time everything is under the tree, were scratching our heads wondering how we allowed ourselves to buy so much. It doesn’t look like much when they are in different spots!

    Margarets last blog post..Somehow I think I screwed myself in this deal.

  5. B on October 7th, 2008 9:49 am

    It’s too early? Serious? I always start in the summer. I only have to get a print of our latest family portrait for my in-laws, a little something for my SIL and I’m done. Kids, DONE. Husband, DONE. Family, DONE. I don’t like rushing about and trying to find things so I pick things up all year round and stock pile. Then when summer hits I really start to keep my eyes peeled for things I want to gift on sale. If I do it this way I actually tend to save tons of money as most of what I purchase is on sale.

    But that being said, I don’t go all out for the holidays. I don’t think the more presents under the tree means we’ll have a happier holiday.

    Bs last blog post..Silly Sally, Silly B

  6. Leeanthro on October 7th, 2008 10:12 am

    I am already thinking about it. I ordered a tent that goes over a card table from a woman on ETSY. It will be for both kids. It’s personalized with their names and our house number.

    I am trying to stay away from plastic this Christmas. That is my vow. Except if it is made from recycled plastic. But I haven’t decided how to broach the subject with family because it may seem like criticism to them.

    I don’t think I am reducing my spending this year, but I am really going for quality over quantity.

    Leeanthros last blog post..Holiday To-Do in C-U

  7. Jessica (from It's my life...) on October 7th, 2008 10:43 am

    We usually decide on a set amount and divvy it up depending on how many people we’re shopping for this year. We always have to be extra careful because we fly cross country for Christmas, so we need money for that too.
    I find it easier to know how much I’m going to spend from the start. Reduces stress.

    Jessica (from It’s my life…)s last blog post..My budding little artist is into accurate representation

  8. Leeanthro on October 7th, 2008 10:56 am

    Oh, and we don’t buy for adults. Only the kiddos. The only exception is that my daughter gets something for her grandparents (they babysit while I work all day). But my husband and I do not buy for our siblings. That really helps (on stress, to-do lists, *and* money).

    Leeanthros last blog post..Holiday To-Do in C-U

  9. ErinSlick on October 7th, 2008 2:27 pm

    At the risk of writing a tome: My husband is the WORST. He buys things for most of the year and then hides them in his closet so the kids won’t find them. Then he forgets and buys more things and we end up with a ridiculous amount of stuff. Typical..

    So, since the kids are getting older, last year we starting doing a Yankee swap to save money and add the fun back now that none of the kids believe in Santa (‘cept me, of course) We do five rounds of gifts under $10 and then one round of gifts under $25.. That way nobody spends more than $75 and the kids get to be really creative. Then we pick numbers and choose presents. Then the swapping and bartering begins. It was so much fun last year, we’re probably going to do it forever.

    ErinSlicks last blog post..The Great Dissertation Search

  10. Joanne on October 7th, 2008 9:48 pm

    No way is it too early! We like to be done very early so we can enjoy the holiday season more leisurely. We’re not really changing our habits, have never gone overboard to begin with. But I think the retailers will see a drop this year with the economic problems.

    Joannes last blog post..Sunshine

  11. Cass on October 8th, 2008 7:36 am

    I’ve been thinking about it lately from a couple of perspectives. I want to be mindful of the gifts I’m buying this year – I have done the same thing where I buy a lot of last minute things that weren’t necessary. The other angle I’m thinking about is gift receiving. I don’t want gifts for Lexi or our family to be a burden on anyone and I really don’t want more stuffed animals so how can we communicate practical needs? Oh the holiday’s how I love thee.

    Casss last blog post..Paying it Forward

  12. mumma boo on October 8th, 2008 7:42 am

    We’re of two mindsets in this household. Me: get it done early. Hubby: Dec 24th at 6pm is just fine. Which means I do most of the shopping for the family. We started setting limits with the siblings and their kids a few years ago. Kids under 10 get a gift; kids over 10 get a small ornament; adults get nada, except the pleasure of NOT having to shop for 30 people. We usually try to limit our kids to a couple of fun things and stuff they need (like clothes or books). As soon as Halloween is over, I’ll start the shopping.

  13. Heather on October 8th, 2008 11:12 am

    Can I tell you how many times I’ve bought things and forgot? Oy vey. Thankfully, it’s usually for adults, which means they usually apply to the next b-day or Christmas.

    Heathers last blog post..Charlie Chaplin by Katie Herzig

  14. Angella on October 8th, 2008 11:21 am

    My husband’s parents spoil our kids every year – they have a dollar limit for the grandkids. This year we told them to buy ONE present, and we will use the rest of the money for a family trip.

    As for me, I am planning on giving homemade gifts (Canning!) and such. Keep it simple 🙂

    Angellas last blog post..Fresh Veggie Salsa

  15. pickel on October 8th, 2008 2:16 pm

    We have a new baby coming home in December (and his 1st birthday in December) so cutting WAY back.

    pickels last blog post..Should You Have a Baby Shower for an Adoption?

  16. Christy on October 8th, 2008 5:44 pm

    We never go really crazy at Christmas…at least that’s the plan, but I have to admit (like you) I end up buying a lot of last minute items that weren’t on the list. It’s hard–Christmas is so fun, but I never really want it to be about counting presents and doing it better than last year with my kids, you know? I Kind of like the idea of making birthdays a bigger deal than Christmas…

    BTW–love the new look around here! 🙂

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