Christmas as a Large Family

“Wow! You’ve got how many kids? How can you afford birthdays and Christmas? Your husband must have an amazing job!”

I’ve had this conversation with more people than I can remember. It seems like one of the first thoughts that comes out of people’s mouths is about finances when you tell people you have five or more kids. When I just had four, I didn’t hear it as much, but with five…well people become very curious.

So I wanted to share with you, how my family handles gift giving for the holidays.

When you have an ever expanding family like mine, you have to find a practical ways to do holidays and birthdays. If you don’t watch out, you can end up throwing yourself into some sticky situations financially when you’re trying to provide a ton of gifts to everyone.

Over the last few years I’ve found myself doing a much more minimalistic approach to gift giving for everyone. I stick to a maximum number of gifts per person and I keep to a budget.

Our Christmas Budget

Our family sweet spot is about $300 per child and then $100 for myself and my husband. Then we normally add in a few bigger presents for the entire family like games or game systems that everyone can enjoy. And finally stocking stuffers for the kids. In total we like to spend no more than $2,000 for Christmas.

What we buy

We don’t just buy the kids a lot of toys and crap for Christmas either. As I mentioned in my non-toy gift guide (you can read that here) I like to try to steer away from toys because we are a bit overwhelmed by them at the moment. So we try to stick to pretty minimalist shopping list but we try to make each gift something meaningful or useful. I know many of you have seen this but we really like sticking to the need,  want,  wear, read, and do guide, but we add in something they’ll love as well. This helps us keep our buying down and with planning, we can get the kids some pretty cool things.

Something they need– this can be things like socks and underwear or jackets or just something in general that they need.

Something they want– this is normally something like a toy for the younger ones or specific books or things they may ask for.

Something to wear– I like to get the kids a complete outfit or two every year. Normally by Christmas time, the kids have hit a pretty big growth spurt each year and we are about to move into our cold weeks. So this is the perfect time to get the kids some new jeans, long sleeve shirts, jackets, dresses, leggings, and shoes. I make some combination of things that can create a few different outfits for them.

Something to read– I love to get the kids new books so this is an area where we may get the kids a set or collection of books or just two or three individual books the kids may enjoy reading.

Something to do– Experience gifts are where it’s at! This can mean anything for some kind of an adventure like movie tickets or theme park tickets to art kits or classes.

Something they will love– this is kind of a cool category and we take a bit of “artistic freedom” here. I like to think I know my kids pretty well so I like to add in a big gift that I think they will love. So this can be something like a camera, or headphones, or new bedding, or something that I’ve heard the kids taking an interest in.

Family Gifts– We like to get one big family gift like a game system each year or we will get things like board games or video games that the whole family will enjoy.

Stocking Stuffer– I don’t like to give them a ton of candy so I try to save some money here by picking out 5-10 pieces of candy for each kid from the Halloween candy we got and freeze it in ziplock bags until Christmas eve. Then I’ll get things like nail kits, bath bombs, bath toys, coloring books, crayons, or small toys like shopkins or LEGO kits to add into the stockings.

How we do it

I’m a big list maker. I like to plan out exactly what I want to buy for each person and then research the best places to purchase each thing so I have no surprises and don’t end up going over budget while I’m out shopping. It can be really easy to go out to the store and end up buying a ton of things and going over budget if you don’t have a list, especially at Christmas time so the list helps me to stay on track. I don’t do any of that crazy Black Friday madness either. I stick to normal sales and stores or Amazon.

For example, lets look at my oldest and how I have planned everything out. She’s hitting those tween years so she’s moving away from the toys and starting to ask for bigger more expensive things. She’s really into art and fashion and has been really interested in photography as well. So her overall budget is $300 plus $20 for stocking stuffers for a grand total of $320.

She also has a birthday two and half weeks after Christmas, so she will be receiving even more gifts in a very short amount of time.

Something to wear– total price- $92.99

  • jeans– girls slim boot cut- $12.99
  • shirt– girls long sleeve shirt- $15.00
  • shoes– vans sneakers- $65 ( we will actually get these at the outlet center for a fraction of the cost)

Something she needs– $62.99

  • socks– girls white nike socks- $18
  • underwear- $10
  • Jacket– Sherpa Bomber Jacket $34.99

Something she wants– $39.95

Something to do– $24.99

  • Art set– DIY Journal set- $24.99

Something to read- total $31.99

  • book set– The Land of Stories- $31.99

Something She will love-$69.99

  • Camera– Fujifilm instax mini 9- $69.99

The total cost for ava’s Chsristmas presents is $322.90. I did go over by $22.90 but some of that cost will go down by using my red card at target for purchases as well as going to the Vans outlet to buy her shoes. So I can actually expect to spend right at if not under $300 total for her Christmas presents this year.

Her stocking stuffers-  total cost $33.97

  • candy- free from left over halloween candy
  • Film– Fusjifilm Instax instant film- $14.99
  • nail polish– sinful colors neon nail colors set- $12.99 (this set will be split between the three older girls)
  • lip set– Lip Smackers- $5.99 (this set will also be split between the three older girls)

If I do end up going over the individual budget, normally that is pulled from the “family” budget to keep everything within the total $2,000 price but in general, this is how I end up doing my Christmas shopping. Price and items on the list may change according to what is available or if I find better deals other places but this is just a look at how I plan things.

Shopping like this has really taken away a lot of the holiday stress and I can make sure that everyone gets what they want and that they end up with the same number of presents without just buying a bunch of crap to stick under the tree.

I hope this helps you out and makes your Christmas shopping a little easier this year.