Christmas in Moderation {what I bought}

Joshua & Sophie in front of our tree, all dressed up for their school Christmas program.

A few weeks ago I told you how we were going to try to cut down on crazy Christmas over-shopping, spoiling,  and over-indulgence by giving our kids just four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

Well, now I am DONE with my shopping (HOLLA!!) so I’m here to tell you how that went and what the kids are getting! You can judge for yourself whether or not I was faithful to the rule (I myself am perfectly satisfied with how I did).

At some point in my shopping I realized I still wanted the kids to be able to give gifts to each other. I usually purchase a couple of $5 or less gifts and let the kids choose which they want to give to their sibling. I decided to keep this tradition, because they like giving to each other and I want to keep them giving as much as possible. They both saved money to purchase items for their Operation Christmas Child boxes and they blew their wads on those, so mom & dad are fronting them the $ for sibling presents. I did stay within my budget on these sibling gifts, though.

Okay, SO – after I got that out of the way, I did my shopping. I was done shopping for the kids by the end of November.

That is…until last week, when a miracle occurred and American Girl decided to put out a special offer through Good Morning America. They put out a coupon code for 61% off a doll, book, and accessory set!

Let me explain. Sophie has three of the miniature American Girl Dolls. You know, the ones that cost $15 on Amazon. She got one for her birthday last year, one for Christmas last year, and one for her  birthday this year (it was her something she “wanted”). I have wanted to give her a full-size one, but I will never be able to justify the cost. We just don’t spend that much on birthdays or Christmases. And Sophie likes her mini ones, but she doesn’t play with them enough to make me *positive* that we’d get our $$ worth out of a big one. (She does LOVE the books a lot, though! She got the Addy book for her birthday as well and is getting a Kit book for Christmas.)

But when American Girl released a coupon code that would get you a full-size doll, book, and accessory set for $57.95 shipped??? I BOUGHT THAT. I was pretty sure it would be her only chance to own one so I went for it. I hope she is thrilled by it but I’m still not sure how she will react! It’s her “something she wants”…but I don’t know if she wants it. Uhhh….

I just couldn’t pass that up. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Anyway. Her original “something she wanted” was a LeapPad game, which my brother & sister-in-law purchased from me and are now giving her. So she does not have an extra gift from us. All that to say- here is what Sophie is getting for Christmas!

Want: American Girl Marie-Grace doll with book and accessory set

Need: new leotard for gymnastics

Wear: Hello Kitty PJs

Read: American Girl Kit book #3

From siblings: a doctor kit and a game

Now for Joshua, we threw in an *extra* “want” gift because when we bought Sophie the AG doll, it made it so we had spent more money on her, and I am all about the monetary amount being as fair as possible. So judge me if you will, but I think that’s the best way to be fair to my kids this year. Joshua’s gifts are:

Want: Lego Star Wars Wii game, Lego Star Wars set

Need: new goggles for swim lessons & Lego Star Wars PJs (he needs both of these things and they cannot wait for his birthday in February! Judge me again.)

Wear: Angry Birds Star Wars shirt

Read: Pokemon books (again, more than one book because they were less expensive than the other kids’ books).

From his siblings: two clearance $5 Halloween costumes that he will love!

Finally, here are Jonah’s gifts. Poor guy, his birthday is just 8 days before Christmas! So birthday and Christmas shopping were kind of rolled into one, plus, he’s 2, he doesn’t really “WANT” anything, but these are the things I’ve designated for Christmas:

Want: Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Set

Need: Toy instruments (he NEEDS toys, poor kid!)

Wear: Socks

Read: Toddler Tools book

From his siblings: another book and a toy phone

So, that’s it! That’s what the kids are getting for Christmas. Of course there will also be candy and trinkets in their stockings as well. I am pretty pleased with how my shopping went this year! Even if I did have to fudge the big kids’ gifts a little to make it “fair” money-wise.

How about you? Are you done shopping, or have you barely even started?

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  1. We went with the 4 things this year, too. The big two want fish, so I don’t have those yet. Other than that, I’m done! Woo-hoo! And I cannot believe I missed that American Girl doll thing! We have two knockoffs that she loves, but I can’t justify the cost of a real one either.

  2. The AG doll, book & accessories are all one gift right? So, the Lego Star Wars Wii game and Lego Star Wars set totally count as one! We’re trying the four gift rule with our kids this year too. Hoping I can pull it off with a 4, 6, and 16 year old to buy for.

  3. I think you did an awesome job! We only do 3 gifts at our house (technically 4 if you count Santa). We do 1 need and 2 wants. I’m almost done, thank goodness! I love doing Christmas this way! It allows the kids to really think about what they want. Oddly enough, my kids never want the ‘hottest toys’ for this reason.

  4. Way to be strong, Momma! The kids will have a beautiful Christmas. I can’t wait to see your pictures and hear how much they loved what you picked! Oh, and way to go finding the FABULOUS AG deal! Wowza!

  5. Awesome! They will really love what they get and won’t be overwhelmed with stuff! Great job Mama!

  6. Sounds like you did great! Way to go on the American Girl deal! I think all of your so-called “fudging” makes perfect sense and is completely justified! 🙂
    I’m almost done with my shopping – picked up my girl’s Christmas Eve pajamas on some sweet deals at Target this weekend so now I only need to get a few things for their stockings.
    Funny enough, the things my 8 year old asked for this year pretty much fit in your 4 item rule: She wanted Barbie bunk beds, needed a radio for her room (I consider this a need because she keeps having to borrow mine!), pajamas to wear, and the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book to read!
    If only I could control what everyone else gives my kids… 😉

  7. I keep telling myself I’ve barely started, but I found lots of good deals online early this year. So far, my kids are getting:
    For both boys:
    ~ Sky Landers game/figure set for Wii
    ~ Harry Potter 8 disc DVD set
    ~ Wii game
    (All scored super cheap – less than $100 combined)
    Older kid is getting a really cool Sports Illustrated football facts book & a DS game. Older kid a set of 3 Avengers seek & find books and a DS game. Each kid will probably get a new pair of PJs and a board game, since they both love those, then that’s it!

  8. When I look back on the amount of gifts and the amount of money I used to spend at Christmastime, I’m appalled.

    We started cutting back years ago. Of course the children moved 500 miles away as soon as they could!

    At least I’m saving money.


  9. I stumbled across your blog and after reading it, we are on a budget that we do not want to bust and we can do this!! We did it and our family was not overwhelmed with all the gifts. Thank you for posting 🙂


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