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    Former MSE Lee
    0 WOW
    Great 'Xmas gifts for the kids if you're skint' Hunt
    • #1
    • 29th Nov 10, 12:16 PM
    0 WOW
    Great 'Xmas gifts for the kids if you're skint' Hunt 29th Nov 10 at 12:16 PM

    Great 'What Xmas gifts for the kids if you're skint?' Hunt Result

    The pressure on parents at Christmas can be horrendous – we’ve seen inflationary giving over recent years with ever more expected. So we asked MoneySavers for ideas, tips help and strategies for parents who are skint this Christmas.

    The results were fantastic – some of our favourites include:

    Gift ideas:

    Strategies to manage Great Expectations:
    • Streamlined Santa: Tell the kids Santa has to deliver presents to a lot of kids, so can't carry huge parcels ...

    • MoneyMaking Santa: Let children know that although Santa brings the prezzies, parents pay for them.

    • Honest Santa: Tell them the truth, and let them know you're doing your very best for them.

    • What I wish I'd known: Share and learn from your mistakes.

    Just scroll down the forum thread to read them all, or click 'reply' to add your own.
    View past Great Hunts

    Thanks to all the MoneySavers who suggested the ideas above

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by Former MSE Rose; 07-12-2010 at 3:19 PM.
Page 1
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 30th Nov 10, 6:33 PM
    • 8,111 Posts
    • 42,248 Thanks
    MSE Martin
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 10, 6:33 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 10, 6:33 PM
    Before the discussion starts, its worth remembering young kids aren't retail snobs - its not about how much you spend its about whether they like it.

    Worth a thought...

    Filming with GMTV (as was) last year in November for a Christmas film. We had a 6 and an 8 year old with us, and a christmas tree and empty presents. I was very careful to explain to the children that these were empty boxes so not to set up false hope.

    They didnt care they just wanted to open them. When we finished filming, with excitement in their eyes we let them. They opened up to find cardboard boxes, shrieked with delight and started playing trains with them.

    What about older children

    And older children are capable of understanding the financial realities of home, they may not be happy they can't have an Ipad when their friends do - but sitting them down and talking to them is a good start.

    All in all the message needs to be don't let your childrens urges drive you to spend what you can't afford. The most important thing you can provide financially is stability and a roof over their heads - presents - even Christmas presents are secondary.

    Now on to the discussion...
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at

    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
  • shaunnixon
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 10, 9:47 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 10, 9:47 PM
    What about a gift of quality family time? You could organise a day out with hand-picked activities you know your kids will love and treat them like VIPs for the day. Best of all it doesn't have to cost a thing - we get loads of ideas from the Woodland Trust's website for families They've got hundreds of free activity sheets you can print out to take with you. Just pack a picnic, choose a free place to explore and pick your activities!
    You could even make a gift certificate for the kids to open on Christmas Day
  • sheppylove
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 10, 10:51 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 10, 10:51 PM
    What about making them thier own 'kits'! you can get shed loads of cheap crafty stuff in places like shops and home bargains. Wrap a shoebox and fill it. Maybe surf for some printable suggestions or instructions and pics of thier fav characters etc. Or home made baking kits, weigh out all the ingriedients into little food bags and write them a recipe. You could make musical instruments or science experiments or pretty much anything.

    Also to make thier presents last longer plan a treasure hunt where they must unwrap the present to get the next clue. This can be done even for small ones with the use of pics.

    Hope i helped someone, im a nursery nurse so full of these crafty ideas!

    Merry chrimbly everyone! (i can say it now as its december tomorrow!!!)
  • Uschi
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:09 PM
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:09 PM
    Love the idea of the home baking kits. Might not use as presents for my kids, but certainly for a couple of others that I need to buy for.
    • Middlestitch
    • By Middlestitch 30th Nov 10, 11:13 PM
    • 1,320 Posts
    • 2,410 Thanks
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:13 PM
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:13 PM
    How about that old perennial favourite, the Christmas stocking? Forget the 'stocking fillers for under 25' nonsense and go traditional. If you can operate a basic sewing machine you can make your own stocking, or just buy a cheap one from Poundland or other discount store. Poundland have masses of things which would suit children or either sex and pretty much all ages from 3-teenage (amazing what teenagers like when it can be found in a Christmas stocking!). Wilkinson have loads of stationery items at 30p a go, eg:

    pencils with little wooden animals on top, balanced on a spring
    a double pack of portable telephone (eraser) and landline (pencil sharpener)
    packs of mini felt-tips
    pack of three football erasers - two boots and one ball
    pack of three pirate erasers
    pack of four heart erasers
    fold up pen with belt clip

    They also have masses of great Christmas craft items for less than 1.

    Add some comics, a colouring book, puzzle books and sweets, and you can fill a giant stocking for well under 20 (and indeed for under a tenner or even a fiver). Wrap each item individually in cheap paper and you've got something which will keep the recipient quiet for some time!

    Take a photo of the finished item and the child then has something to show to friends when saying that he/she got a massive Christmas stocking FULL of stuff....

    May be a bit late unless you order quickly, but there are some good items which are free apart from p&p on The p&p isn't that cheap but still excellent value in many cases.
    Last edited by Middlestitch; 30-11-2010 at 11:42 PM.
    • eileenfromplaistow
    • By eileenfromplaistow 30th Nov 10, 11:45 PM
    • 532 Posts
    • 606 Thanks
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:45 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:45 PM
    Your time!
    From my position as a Brownie Leader, I can see how putting together "badge kits" could fit the bill. (Equally for Cubs, Scouts and guides). Look at the badge book, and have materials ready for things like Toymaker, Cook, Writer, Discoverer.......... I would love to be awarding badges in January, for projects that haven't just been printed off Wikipaedia, and where time has been spent on acquiring skills and in-depth knowledge!

    I was taught to knit and sew in Primary School, and I amused myself making clothes for my sister's doll, making soft toys and knitting small items.
    • vikki_louise
    • By vikki_louise 30th Nov 10, 11:57 PM
    • 2,305 Posts
    • 5,879 Thanks
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:57 PM
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 10, 11:57 PM
    Buy a pack of cheep balloons and find a big cardboard box, blow up the balloons and put them in the box then gift wrap, an exciting huge present which creates fun
    Best wins in 2013 200 and Mini iPad. 2014 no wins. 2015 2 nights 5* hotel with 300 vouchers plus 1150 Harrods gift card
    Rehome an unwanted prize or gift with a seriously ill child through
  • sined1uk
    • #9
    • 1st Dec 10, 12:10 AM
    • #9
    • 1st Dec 10, 12:10 AM
    my kids write their list. santa will get them one of the gifts on the list (as he has lots of children to buy for) this way they dont expect too much, freecycle is fantastic this time of year with people clearing out toys they no longer use. so if you are lucky you may find something on their list on the site
    Last edited by MSE Martin; 01-12-2010 at 9:07 AM.
    • Middlestitch
    • By Middlestitch 1st Dec 10, 12:23 AM
    • 1,320 Posts
    • 2,410 Thanks
    Just opened the first 'day' of the electronic advent calendar on Jacquie Lawson's website. Cost a couple of pounds (goes down to 1.20 each if you order 5 or more) and there's one of her great little animations, with music, every day until 24 December. Great present - no postage costs, completely 'green' and great fun! See:
  • purplerock99
    set expectations...
    Morning all, I'm new to this but I just thought I'd pass on something we've always done in our family to ease the cost of Christmas. Right from the start my children have always been told that Santa can only put small stuff in stockings, because he has to carry gifts for every child in the world and the sleigh isn't that big. Corny I know, but it means they don't expect huge presents from us and again from Santa.
  • skintsusie
    Hi all, im new to this too but am having to masively tighten my belt this yearr. we have 2 daughters and am buying them a big present between them and then doing a beauty hamper each. Including make up, deodrant, body spray, hair ties ect. This will also save me money throughout the year as it would be things i would need to buy them anyway! Dont be dragged into buying boots 3 4 2 offers on gifts as they charge a fortune to stick it in a box! You can get the items cheaper individually.
  • Maza70
    We always tell the children that while Santa brings the presents, Mum and Dad still give him the money for them. We also make sure we fill a stocking with lots of little things, it's great what you can pick up in pound shops. I also make a point of picking things up throughout the year in the sales. Got a great 4 in 1 games kit for our camping trip in the summer for 2.75 instead fo 15.
  • sacabuca
    Its that time of year as well when you can get all those stocking fillers for a lot less. Places like stocking fillers who do 5 stocking fillers. Amazon have their sale on too Amazon Christmas Store

    There is always a way of getting cheaper presents. The other thing I tend to do when buying presents, not because I am cheap or a skin flint is to check out google for vouchers for that company. Places like My Voucher Codes which MSE keep blocking and always have things that you can use. It is worth a look, afterall we are all here to save money!
    Last edited by sacabuca; 01-12-2010 at 9:56 AM.
    if you dont know the answer.... google does!
  • kathryndep
    Having become increasingly frustrated with the lack of wear / use my stepdaughter gets out of anything we buy I have taken a new approach to xmas this year. With the exception of a few stocking fillers everything I've bought is either second hand or dramatically reduced due to where I bought it from.

    Some examples are:

    I got a >100 bike for 45 from ebay - the bike is brand new but I bought it from a job lot that had some marks on the frames. I collected the bike from a warehouse and I've inspected every inch of the bike and it looks like new to me!

    My stepdaughter has a thing for mini boden (a fashion victim at the age of 8!) so I picked up a few 'recycled' t-shirts from ebay at a fraction of the price.

    We bought her a re-conditioned digital camera for her birthday this year so picked up a little photo printer for next to nothing on Amazon.

    She's been complaining all year that her Nintendo DS has got a bit boring so instead of rushing out to buy her a DSI, which I'm sure is what she was hoping for, we bought a handful of second hand games from amazon. Once she gets over the initial disappointment they will keep her gaming all year for a fraction of the cost!

    Having recently discovered make up I was reluctant to buy it for her but my husband picked up a fantastic set full of all kinds for a fiver from the book people at work.

    All in all I'm very proud of my purchases this year - the mountain below the xmas tree won't be any smaller but the dent in my bank account will be! And when they've been relegated to the back of the cupboard in favour of the next new craze I shall recycle them again and recoup a few of my hard earned pounds!
    Last edited by kathryndep; 01-12-2010 at 10:11 AM. Reason: missed something out
  • Mindyloo
    We need to cut costs drastically this Christmas (don't we all!) and I've bought my two kids (4 and 6) a much smaller-than-usual "new" present that they've asked for, then have found loads of stuff in school fair toy stalls - a massive pile of good quality games, dressing up and dolls things for about 6 in total.

    Santa will be doing his shopping in the Pound Shops

    They appreciate things being reused/ recycled, but also have been able to choose something they want too.
  • Heamol
    Until Dec 5th, Tesco are doing their Clubcard Voucher Double-Up, including on the toy department. I know it's been mentioned a lot on the boards, but maybe it's helpful here too. If you can make up 5 in vouchers, you can get 10 to spend on toys instore or on Tesco direct.

    I've also been using my vouchers online on Clubcard Rewards to get magazine subscriptions for my younger brothers- for example, 9 of vouchers gets you one annual Star Wars Comic subscription. Or you can get cinema tickets for kids for 2 each (adults 3) for Cineworld. How about looking in second-hand bookshops and charity shops for some of the Narnia books, and wrapping up the books with the cinema tickets for a "Narnia experience" (the kids can go see Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the New Year)?

    Hampers made up of cheaper items is a fantastic idea too, like Skintsusie mentioned with beauty items. I've been collecting items for "Hot Chocolate hampers" for my brothers- Home Bargains often have Cadburys hot chocolate jars at a good price and recently they've been doing 180g packs of Fiddes Payne mini marshmallows for 75p (you could easily halve the pack into celo bags to use for two people). I bought some cheap chocolates from Tesco (they have nets of Christmas pudding chocs, coins, snowman etc on offer at the mo.) and some lovely red mugs for 1 each from M & S. I'll probably cover a shoebox in Christmas wrapping paper and pack the items inside with some red and white shredded paper (from my shredder of course, not bought!). You could even wrap the items individually before putting them in the box.
    • miss_renegade
    • By miss_renegade 1st Dec 10, 11:32 AM
    • 55 Posts
    • 110 Thanks
    depending on what you're buying online can be the best place. i always compare prices if it's music or games i'm buying then check ebay too (just got a new cd off ebay for 3 in P&P-was 7 in shops and elsewhere online)
    also my daugher is only 2 and i've made some stuff for her this year. made her a guitar shaped bag (as she liked mine so much!) and a scarf, and in the process of trying to make her a teddy.
    Like a past poster said, the 1 shops can be good for certain things, i got a dressing up kit from there once, and a kids shopping trolley in the past.
    Also if you have friends who have kids that are a bit older, maybe they wouldn't mind donating a few toys that their kids have grown out of?
    • lutzi1
    • By lutzi1 1st Dec 10, 12:11 PM
    • 2,671 Posts
    • 48,236 Thanks
    I've told my husband and daughter that, instead of some of the items on their Xmas lists, eg DVDs, they'll be getting a voucher from me saying they'll be getting it immediately after Xmas. They'll still have plenty of stuff to open, ( including some MSE bargains picked up during the year), but I can't see the point in paying full whack for things that will be heavily reduced straight after Xmas, especially when they won't have time to watch them in the interim.
    Hope is not a strategy.
    • tenuissent
    • By tenuissent 1st Dec 10, 12:43 PM
    • 336 Posts
    • 570 Thanks
    I made my daughters a toy bear each out of old coats one Christmas, big enough to wear their old baby clothes. Nearly 40 years later these bears are still propped up on wardrobes and shelves and referred to by name (Biffo and Mary, since you asked) - they can't begin to think about throwing them out, and played with them endlessly - taught them the violin, made them passports, taught them to read and write...... I'm not sure I could get away with it these days, with everything being so slick and professional.
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