Why I'm not buying Christmas presents for my child

Why I'm not buying Christmas presents for my child

Would you stop buying Christmas presents for your children?

Piper Terrett

Household money

Piper Terrett
Updated on 3 December 2016

You will probably think me a terrible skinflint, a miser, a Christmas Scrooge. You might even call me an uncaring mother.

Why? Because this year I won’t be buying my little boy anything for Christmas – nothing at all. And what’s more, I didn’t get him anything last year either. How could I be so callous, you might ask?

My little boy Stellan is 13 months old. He just celebrated his first birthday with a Hallowe’en party, surrounded by his friends, pumpkin lanterns and a heap of presents, many of which he hasn’t even got around to playing with yet.

He has doting grandparents – three sets as my hubby’s parents are divorced and his father remarried – and they like nothing better than splashing out on tonnes of clothes and toys for their darling little grandson.

Because of this, he has no less than five winter coats – nearly one for each day of the week.

His toy box is piled high with toy giraffes, stacking cups, books, and electronic baby gadgets that drive my husband nuts.

Many of these items I have purchased for a few pence from our local rummage sale (for some reason there are always plenty of loud bleepy toys available there and at charity shops wherever we go. I can’t imagine why.)

But many things have been given to us by his generous grandparents. And they are not alone. According to recent research by Saga Credit Card, the UK’s grandparents will spend £1.4 billion on presents for the grandkids this year.

The average granny or grandpa is budgeting £65 per grandchild, with most having three grandchildren – but one in 20 will spend over £100 per child.

Those in London and Scotland are the most generous – or spendthrift, depending on your point of view – budgeting £75 per grandchild.

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It’s getting too much

He’s only one, but already Stellan has so many toys that my other half has suggested we have a clear out and get rid of some. Yet despite this plethora of teddies that talk, Duplo Lego and even a drum (OK, not my most sensible purchase) Stellan is often to be found cross-legged on the kitchen floor playing with a magnet and a teaspoon.

Our boy likes nothing better than hitting a saucepan (or, er, one of the pets) with a plastic spoon. He is just as likely to play with the boxes the presents come in as the presents themselves.

Money is tight at the minute. No, we aren’t poor. We are extremely lucky to have enough to eat and a decent roof over our heads. But I have only just returned to part-time self-employment – much later than I anticipated when I was pregnant – and we are living on one person’s earnings.

We don’t have the luxury of spending £75 a head on anybody’s presents this year. 

Surprisingly, half of grandparents’ spending will be on plastic, according to Saga Credit Card. We could take this option too if we wanted to as we both have credit cards.

But where would be the sense in racking up debt on unnecessary Christmas presents when we might need the money for a real necessity, like a broken-down car or on-the-blink boiler?

What is the point in profligate spending, even in the festive season, if it could mean that come January you might struggle to pay your bills?

And where is the need when Stellan isn’t old enough to notice what he gets for Christmas – or even that it is Christmas - and would be just as happy playing with a kitchen roll insert than an expensive new toy?

That’s why this year I’m being Scrooge and leaving it to his generous grandparents to play Father Christmas. I just hope they won’t be paying for any of his gifts on plastic - unless it’s to benefit from insurance cover.

Am I being a Christmas miser or do you agree with me? Leave a comment and let me know.

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