Money Moral Dilemma: How much should I spend on presents for friends' children?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
One of my close friends has four kids and another friend has two. I want to get them all Christmas presents, but should I spend the same amount on each child, eg, £10 each? Or should I spend a certain amount per family, eg, £30 split between each set of kids?

Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

:idea: If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

:huh: Got a Money Moral Dilemma of your own? [URL="mailto:"]Suggest an MMD[/URL].


  • NBLondon
    NBLondon Posts: 5,526 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Photogenic
    Depends on how much you like the kids....

    Certainly you don't want to appear to have favourites between siblings - but will the parents be comparing notes? Are you buying the parents a present - or is it just a gesture for the kids?
    Wash your Knobs and Knockers... Keep the Postie safe!
  • kazwookie
    kazwookie Posts: 13,835 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Buy them a board game one per family @ £10 or so each and have done with it.

    Far too much is spent over the Christmas period.

    Next thing this site is cluttered up in Jan with threads along the lines of ... I'm £xxxx in debt as I spend so much on Christmas what can I do.........
    Breast Cancer Now 2022 100 miles October 100 / 100miles
    Sun, Sea

    2024 7/28 lbs to go.
  • REJP
    REJP Posts: 325 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 3 December 2019 at 9:09PM
    Why should you give them anything? Christmas should not be commercialised. Take them to Church instead. For myself, I only ever give immediate family children Birthday and Christmas money to go into a bank account for when they are 18 years old.
    Plus you do realise you are putting pressure on people to spend money on you and your family, possibly money they cannot afford?
    Not a true dilemma is it?
  • Sncjw
    Sncjw Posts: 3,504 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Nowt. I only buy for relatives and my boyfriends family.
    Mortgage free wannabe 

    Actual mortgage stating amount £75,150

    Overpayment start date 1/3/23.

    Starting balance £66,565.45

    Current balance £63,787.16

  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,138 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    £10 each. It isn't the child's fault that they have more or less siblings than the other family.
  • We used to give the children in our family £20 each at Xmas but the parents kept breeding and we now have 16 children in the family! This year we are giving £10 to each child. I don’t give anything to friends children as we are pensioners and just cannot afford it. I wouldn’t share the amount amongst the children.
  • Definitely the same per child. Don't even think about any other option. My paternal grandparents gave Christmas presents to each of their grandchildren - equal value per family. Even when I was young I really resented that fact that we, a family of five children, got far poorer presents than our two cousins. Made worse as they were handed out at the same time. Every year was the same. I still feel that resentment and I'm 67!
  • Wizzbang
    Wizzbang Posts: 4,716 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Rampant Recycler
    It sounds like you feel some sort of obligation to buy your close friend's children Christmas presents. It would be far better if you offered to take them to see some Christmas lights, a Christmas parade or similar. Or if that's too much - offer to bake with them, take them to the park etc. Children want to spend quality time with the adults in their life, they want to create memories that will last forever, not receive tonnes for gifts that will probably not last long.

    If you insist on doing it, then make sure it's something they want - ask for a list. I'd do that even before giving vouchers, because there's nothing worse than a useless voucher for somewhere you don't shop. You should spend what you can afford. Even at £10 per child, that's £60 blown on your friend's children. Not much perhaps, if you can afford it- but a fortune for some. If it were me, and I had to give them a gift- I'd make up Christmas crackers with a few chocolate bars inside, or nicely tied up bags of sweets.
    Extra income since 01/11/12 £36,546.45

  • I must confess I didn't know there was such a phenomenon - never heard of it here in Ireland.
  • For the first time, this year I’m really cutting down on the expense of Christmas. All my younger friends with children are going to receive a sharing tub of chocolates ie Quality Street or Heroes. I know this isn’t a healthy option but the cost of Christmas has become ridiculous and in order for me to give something, something had to give.
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 343K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.6K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.1K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 607.8K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173K Life & Family
  • 247.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards