Shelling out for Christmas

How much have you spent on Christmas gifts this year?

An online survey of 6,000 moms at revealed moms spent an average of $271 per child this year. Some moms confessed they shelled out $500 per kid.

Yowzer. I’m glad I’m still in the stage of life when my daughter’s wildest Christmas fantasies are made of molded plastic. Last year, her heart’s desire was a $2 microphone. I was more than happy to make her Christmas dream come true.

This year, she’s upped the ante a bit with a request for a Rapunzel doll, but I’m still only looking at $15. I dread the years ahead when iPods and cellphones creep onto the Christmas list.

So even though money isn’t much of a concern right now, I am still thinking about whether or not it’s healthy for a kid to always get exactly what he or she asks Santa for on Christmas. I want the season to be magical and wonderful and all that, but I also don’t want to create the entitlement habit now and pay for it later.

One rule we have in our house is that everyone gives one present to every one else. This way, the focus is on giving the present instead of how much you get. You give one and that’s it. You have to put some thought and time into the perfect present because you only get one shot at it. Even Santa abides by the rule of one in our house.

Of course, I can’t always control grandparents and so I just cross my fingers that Christmas morning doesn’t turn into a scene of wrapping paper strewn across mounds of presents with a 4-year-old sitting in the middle saying, “But I want an Oompa Loompa now!”

What are your gifting parameters for Christmas? How much did you spend on your children’s gifts this year, and do you worry about spoiling them?

Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, Stewart discusses it all while her 4-year-old daughter crams Mr. Potato Head pieces in her little sister’s nose.

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