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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Kelvin
    • By MSE Kelvin 3rd Dec 19, 1:28 PM
    • 93Posts
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    MSE Kelvin
    Money Moral Dilemma: How much should I spend on presents for friends' children?
    • #1
    • 3rd Dec 19, 1:28 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: How much should I spend on presents for friends' children? 3rd Dec 19 at 1:28 PM
    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.

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Page 1
    • NBLondon
    • By NBLondon 3rd Dec 19, 1:43 PM
    • 3,279 Posts
    • 16,501 Thanks
    NBLondon
    • #2
    • 3rd Dec 19, 1:43 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd Dec 19, 1:43 PM
    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?
    "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."
    • kazwookie
    • By kazwookie 3rd Dec 19, 1:58 PM
    • 11,157 Posts
    • 131,593 Thanks
    kazwookie
    • #3
    • 3rd Dec 19, 1:58 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd Dec 19, 1:58 PM
    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.........
    Sun, Sea

    • REJP
    • By REJP 3rd Dec 19, 8:06 PM
    • 139 Posts
    • 180 Thanks
    REJP
    • #4
    • 3rd Dec 19, 8:06 PM
    Christmas presents for friends children.
    • #4
    • 3rd Dec 19, 8:06 PM
    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?
    Last edited by REJP; 03-12-2019 at 8:09 PM. Reason: Adding sentence for clarification.
    • Sncjw
    • By Sncjw 3rd Dec 19, 8:42 PM
    • 2,270 Posts
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    Sncjw
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 19, 8:42 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 19, 8:42 PM
    Nowt. I only buy for relatives and my boyfriends family.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 3rd Dec 19, 8:42 PM
    • 20,641 Posts
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    Spendless
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 19, 8:42 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 19, 8:42 PM
    £10 each. It isn't the child's fault that they have more or less siblings than the other family.
    • Bellisima
    • By Bellisima 3rd Dec 19, 9:01 PM
    • 133 Posts
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    Bellisima
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 19, 9:01 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 19, 9:01 PM
    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.
    • YorkieMan
    • By YorkieMan 3rd Dec 19, 9:04 PM
    • 13 Posts
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    YorkieMan
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 19, 9:04 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 19, 9:04 PM
    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
    • By Wizzbang 3rd Dec 19, 9:38 PM
    • 4,475 Posts
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    Wizzbang
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 19, 9:38 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 19, 9:38 PM
    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.
    Minimalist
    Extra income since 01/11/12 £36,546.45

    • Gummomarx
    • By Gummomarx 3rd Dec 19, 11:51 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Gummomarx
    I must confess I didn't know there was such a phenomenon - never heard of it here in Ireland.
    • Debjack
    • By Debjack 4th Dec 19, 2:07 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Debjack
    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.
    • anotheruser
    • By anotheruser 4th Dec 19, 6:36 AM
    • 2,826 Posts
    • 1,605 Thanks
    anotheruser
    Can you be my friend?

    My mates don't get my kids anything...
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 4th Dec 19, 7:39 AM
    • 24,583 Posts
    • 66,079 Thanks
    Pollycat
    What did you do last year?


    As one friend has 4 children and the other 2, I'm sure you had a similar dilemma last year - unless the friend with 4 kids has had twins in the last year.
    • archie1411
    • By archie1411 4th Dec 19, 9:58 AM
    • 13 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    archie1411
    The road to insanity
    Whilst buying for the children of friends may sound a nice idea, especially when they are small, you are taking on a commitment for at least 18 years and yes, the parents will compare. If you really feel you must do it, spend the same per child but, having fallen in to this trap before, don't start. If you have children, the other parents will feel compelled to spend on yours. If you don't, it becomes one-way traffic and you may grow to resent that, especially as the kids grow up, you have increasing pressure to buy something 'appropriate' which will, inevitably, increase your spending, and this may be compounded if the child and/or parent can't be bothered to even thank you for the gift. My advice? Don't start
    • stmartinsdiver
    • By stmartinsdiver 4th Dec 19, 11:42 AM
    • 126 Posts
    • 133 Thanks
    stmartinsdiver
    Bah humbug!
    Whilst buying for the children of friends may sound a nice idea, especially when they are small, you are taking on a commitment for at least 18 years and yes, the parents will compare. If you really feel you must do it, spend the same per child but, having fallen in to this trap before, don't start. If you have children, the other parents will feel compelled to spend on yours. If you don't, it becomes one-way traffic and you may grow to resent that, especially as the kids grow up, you have increasing pressure to buy something 'appropriate' which will, inevitably, increase your spending, and this may be compounded if the child and/or parent can't be bothered to even thank you for the gift. My advice? Don't start
    Originally posted by archie1411
    Spot on Archie. Totally in line with my thoughts.
    • mjderrick
    • By mjderrick 4th Dec 19, 3:55 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    mjderrick
    Just don't start it, when do you stop!
    • crmism
    • By crmism 4th Dec 19, 5:02 PM
    • 186 Posts
    • 102 Thanks
    crmism
    Xmas
    I don't believe there has been any time in my life when I bought a present for someone outside the immediate family, and can only assume what you have in mind is an overthrow of another practice in the USA that's made its way here and everybody feels they should adopt in order not to lose face.
    Youngsters' expectations are already high in this gratuitous age, and giving them even more than they need or deserve is the right way to go about diluting the value of money at a time when they should be encouraged to look after and husband it.
    • borkid
    • By borkid 4th Dec 19, 5:16 PM
    • 2,250 Posts
    • 4,798 Thanks
    borkid
    I don't believe there has been any time in my life when I bought a present for someone outside the immediate family, and can only assume what you have in mind is an overthrow of another practice in the USA that's made its way here and everybody feels they should adopt in order not to lose face.
    Youngsters' expectations are already high in this gratuitous age, and giving them even more than they need or deserve is the right way to go about diluting the value of money at a time when they should be encouraged to look after and husband it.
    Originally posted by crmism



    I actually do buy for a friend's children but not on a regular basis. For instance this year I saw a dinosaur moulding set and the little boy really likes dinosaurs so I bought it. Then bought something for his sister, probably in total about £8 so not a lot but both children are creative so they will get pleasure from them. I only buy for hubby and my 2 adult children plus my son's partner so not many.


    I enjoy giving children presents and do at other times of the year if I see somethng a particular child will like. I do always make sure though if they have brothers and sisters I get something for each of them. Often it's something I make or more recently a story I wrote especially for the child.


    Presents don't have to be expensive just thoughtful.
    • VikEw
    • By VikEw 4th Dec 19, 5:17 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    VikEw
    What you like..
    ..I set a 'guide price' in my head..but, unless you buy identical gifts, this can vary..buy what suits that child up to a value of say £10 but if one perfect gift is £6 and one £9--who cares? Not the child or the parents if it is a gift exactly right for that child...that is the secret, spend time choosing the 'what' and not the 'how much'..I think anyhow
    • ExFitty
    • By ExFitty 4th Dec 19, 6:15 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ExFitty
    I was an older mother and the first Xmas after she was born she received 52 presents from O/S the family; friends, work colleges, anti-natal group, church etc. It was ridiculous!! While thanking everyone I ensured that this did not happen again. While given in good faith much of it was unused, duplicates, too small, tat etc.
    My DD aged 18 still keeps in contact with 2 daughters of parents I met at anti-natal classes. No presents needed just friendship
    When I was growing up - we each put the sum of money we would spend on family presents in a pot. Mum would then buy a big present for each of us - that as individual presents we could not afford. When adults, presents stopped, and we each contributed a sum of money to food and drink. Now parents are gone, my siblings and I take in turns to host Xmas - each bringing a course or dish and of course alcohol. We do buy presents for children whilst in full time education, but none for O/S family. My own children used to always look for the 'large' box present, which would be a box filled with about 20 - 30 books from charity shops / boot sales. It made no difference to them whether they were brand new.(It was not their only present) Now in their teens it is harder to buy for them, so along with token gifts they mainly receive money to spend after Xmas.
    If you are already in the cycle of giving presents to friends kids, then set a time limit on it i.e. stop when they start school, leave Junior school etc
    Christmas is about getting together - whether family or friends - not presents
    My house is not filled with presents that we do not need, will not use and don't want. Instead we have the money to go out, entertain and buy what we really want.

    ************************Give up giving unnecessary presents************************

    By the way, my 3 siblings and I are all mortgage and debt free. Coincidence??
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