What we’re getting the kids for Christmas

I feel like there’s a lot of interest in what people are getting their kids for Christmas — or, at least, how much they’re spending.

I’ve written before about how we use a special system that limits how much we get for the kids, and the types of items. We have stuck with it every single Christmas since D was six months old, and we love it:

  • Something You Want
  • Something You Need
  • Something To Play With
  • Something To Read
  • And a new pair of jammies for Christmas Eve
A lot of people do “Something to Wear” instead of “Something to Play With,” but I sew the kids a lot of clothes year-round. They don’t really need clothes for Christmas. Plus they’re not as fun as toys!
When they’re teenagers their “Want” and “Need” will likely be boring-ish, so I wanted to make sure there will always be a toy.
I tend to do most of my Christmas shopping before Halloween (sometimes ALL of it before Halloween) since I’m weird and I hate crowds. Shopping really early means (A) I can stop worrying about it and (B) I’m not going to the mall or pretty much ANY store when it’s a zoo.
So without further ado, here’s what we’re getting the kids this year:

Our six-year-old son:

Something You Want: Lego Superheroes Jokerland (bought on ToysRUs.ca during a sale about a month ago. I paid $119 and it’s regular $149.99) His best friend has it and D has been desperate for it!
Something You Need: We’re either going to build a cool Lego shelf for his room or buy him a clock radio. Can’t decide yet.  UPDATED: We went with a clock radio!
Something To Play With: Lego City Demolition (Walmart.ca, $29.86)
Something To Read: These two Berenstain Bears easy-readers from Chapters Indigo. (I used to buy them one book each, and it’s almost always a Berenstain Bear book, but it slipped into buying two because I couldn’t help myself. We don’t have many of these easy-reader ones yet, and we get him read aloud to us every night.)
The Berenstain Bears’ Class Trip ($4.73)


The Berenstain Bears’ Sleepover ($4.50)

(Pssssssssst: They’re offering 15% off everything online, through Sunday Dec. 4 with code 15GIFT)

And a new pair of jammies for Christmas Eve: Something I’ll sew soon with winter-y flannel.
We’ve spent $158 + tax so far on D, and just have the shelves (or clock radio) and jammies left to go.

Our four-year-old daughter … 

Something You Want: Disney Princess Microphone & Amp from ToysRUs.ca. You can hook up an iPod so they can sing along to their favourite songs. She’s going to FLIP over it. $44.99
Something You Need: This will be C’s big gift. We’re building her a pretty elaborate stage to go with the microphone. I’m thinking curtains, lights, the whole works — but we’ll see what actually gets done (i.e. where the heck is it going to fit?)
Something To Play With: Two dolls for her Barbie collection. She really likes the Chelsea dolls (also known as KELLY DOLLS from when I was a kid) and is obsessed with her “Elsia and Anya” dolls, made famous in those annoying YouTube videos about Elsa and Anna’s daughters, so I think these little girls will be fast friends with Elsia and Anya.
Endless Hair Kingdom doll, except the one I ordered has purple hair ($12.49)
Petite Merida Princess doll ($16.99)
Something To Read: These two Berenstain Bear books from Chapters Indigo. (I’m trying to collect all of the original Stan & Jan books, since the new ones have taken a, ahem, religious turn and aren’t as good.)
The Berenstain Bears’ New Neighbors ($5.97)


Berenstain Bears’ Mad, Mad, Mad Toy Craze ($5.98)
And a new pair of jammies for Christmas Eve: A nightgown to match D’s pyjamas, sewn with winter-y flannel. (I’ll be making myself one, too.)
We’ve spent $86.42 + tax on C so far, and will be building the stage and sewing her the jammies.
Stockings are pretty basic in our house. Everybody gets a toothbrush and toothpaste. The kids will get fun shampoo and/or bubble bath. C will get new hair clips or elastics, and they’ll both get a pack of gum and a bit of candy or chocolate.
While I was buying the other items online, I did order a little Lego Mixels to slip in D’s stocking and a small pack of Shopkins to put in C’s.
Lego Mixels Hydro ($5.99)
Shopkins Season 4 two-pack ($3.99)
And now for the Santa gifts.
We always tell the kids to ask Santa for ONE gift, and not an especially large one, because Santa has so many children to visit on Christmas Eve.
Because they’re *asking* for one gift and receiving it, I don’t think it will cause issues down the road with a friend getting all of their gifts “from Santa.” If that ever comes up, I’ll explain that we choose to buy most of the kids’ gifts (which they know) and we choose to have them ask Santa for one item. Still the same amount of gifts, just breaking up who gives them what, basically.
D asked Santa Claus for a surprise Lego set, so I have a hunch Santa will be getting him this Lego City Airport Cargo Plane (Walmart.ca, $29.86)
And C asked Santa simply for “Shopkins” of any kind, so I expect she’ll wake up on Christmas morning to see a Shopkins Season 2 Mega Pack (ToysRUs.ca, $19.99)
If we count the Santa gifts in our grand total, we’ve spent $187.86 on D, and $106.41, but keep in mind we’ll have a lot of expenses with the DIY stage we’re building here. We don’t try to match their gift amounts too exactly, but essentially we’ll be spending about $200 on each of them — including Santa’s gifts.
I have no idea if that’s way less than most people are spending or way more, honestly. It’s one of those things people don’t seem to talk about!

If I wasn’t limiting myself to our five items + Santa gift, it would be sooooooo easy to go overboard and pick up lots of cute toys I know they’d love. This system keeps me reigned in, keeps their expectations manageable, and just works for us.

What do you think? Are we way off here?

3 Comments on “What we’re getting the kids for Christmas

  1. I love this for many reasons. It simplifies shopping, it sets clear and reasonable expectations, and is still generous and super fun! I take a similar approach with our kids. I don't know about others' kids, but ours can get overwhelmed when there is an abundance. And then they become less thankful for what they have and are given.


  2. Pingback: Early Christmas shopping hacks for parents – Heather's Handmade Life

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