s/o Do you always give a "big gift" at Christmas? if so at what age do you stop?

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Posted 11/15/2012 by Dee R. in NSBR Board

Dee R.

PeaNut 14,649
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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:26:14 PM
Every year we usually make sure there is a 'big gift' for each of the boys and then there are plenty of smaller ones too...we probably do a bit much but well its Christmas!

Our boys are getting older (19 and 21) and it gets harder and harder to come up with a big gift that they dont already have. How many video game systems does on boy need?? they have the tv to play it on, laptop computers, iPod touch, and on and on.... When do you stop with the big gift and how do you do it so they arent disappointed that first year or so without it? Or am I nutso to even worry about it?

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PeaNut 114,614
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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:29:33 PM
Yes, we always give a big gift, and I plan to continue for as long as I can.

My parents still give "big gifts" to my sister and I, and even my DH. We have received things like KA mixer, set of antique china, sewing machine, screw gun set, high quality knife set, iPhone, Keurig, bicycle, etc.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:31:06 PM
DH and I give each other "big gifts".

This year he's getting an ipad (and possibly that new Wii). I'm getting a diamond ring and a camera lens.


PeaNut 8,880
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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:41:11 PM
Maybe not the same but close...

In our family we draw names for the neices/nephews. Once you hit 18, you move from getting your name drawn to drawing a name

My oldest is 20 and I spend the same on him as my other 3, but I agree it's tough since he's away in the Marines and buys whatever he wants with his paycheck...

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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:51:34 PM
I don't do a big monetary gift, but my kids' big gift is the thing that they want the most that year. I move heaven and earth to get that for them. Sometimes it is the most expensive thing and sometimes it isn't

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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:56:59 PM
Well, my 20 year old is getting a 2200$ bike and my 17 year old is getting a computer close to that price point, so for now...I would say I don't see an end in sight.

But I love the thrill of giving the big gift...and so does my DH!

When it is something like the bike, that he'd see the minute he came in the room, we will do a fun scavenger hunt for it. One year my husband had it hanging 20 feet up in a tree by a pulley system and we still laugh about how fun it was for him to go all over our neighborhood and try and find each clue, sometimes walking pretty close to the bike, but not looking up!

I still remember going out and getting my brand spanking new (white with blue interior) Honda CRX for Christmas when I was 18 and the thrill that rushed through me when I saw it at the end of the driveway and realizing it was mine.

We love to do the same for our kids. And one day, their wives and our grandchildren, too!

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Posted: 11/15/2012 3:00:25 PM
We give one 'big thing' each year...but big equals 'what they want most' and not necessarily 'most expensive'.

And my oldest is 24 and I'm still giving 'big gifts'.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 3:00:50 PM
My kids are adults and I try to think of experiences I can give them... like going to a concert the whole family likes, wild animal zoo in the natural habitat, etc. When my son was stationed overseas in the Army and home on leave, I couldn't buy him anything he'd have to take back. That is when I started giving gift certificates for massages. My kids really like that as they all have back problems. I want Christmas to be meaningful and families to be close. I like the idea of doing things together. It stretches Christmas out as you anticipate the events.


Living life on the left

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Posted: 11/15/2012 3:02:39 PM
My boys are the same age as yours. One has asked for a new laptop and the other for a longboard. My goal is to get one of the super cheap laptops on the BF sales. If not, I'll try for the best deal I can get.

I still feel that I want to have one primary gift and then other gifts like clothes and such. As long as they come up with something they want I will try to get it for them.

I did tell them this year will be minimized, as I plan to spend no more than $300 per kid instead of $500.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 3:56:34 PM
Once I got married, I stopped getting a big gift, like my siblings. A lot of times my Mom and Dad would get something big for a combo gift for dh and I. That was fine.

I have no idea how long I'll give big ticket gifts. Probably forever.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 3:58:48 PM
We always try to do a bigger gift too, but I'm struggling with it this year and mine are only 7 & 3! They are asking for little things, like barbies and whatnot, nothing big. Last year we got them a Wii as the big gift but they rarely play with it. I'm stumped for this year, it may just be a lot of little things wrapped as big as I can (I like it to look like a huge bunch of presents for them to run to on Christmas morning).

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Posted: 11/15/2012 4:06:08 PM
At 19 & 21 I would be transitioning to household/life items. Small appliances, furniture, nice sheets, towels, small stereo, own your own tool sets, etc. Items they will need when moving out or for their own places. If they are at college, you hope chest it.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 4:09:50 PM
I struggle with this also. Mine are 20 and 22. My spending limit has been going down since they have been in college and I'm forking out monthly expenses and other items as they are needed (replacement computer). It is currently around $300 total, sometimes a little more.

My extended family had a 18 year limit for individual presents, but my mom still gives me $300 check for a family gift each year.

PEAceful Pea

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Posted: 11/15/2012 4:45:01 PM
We loosely follow the "something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read" guide...the big gift is usually the "want" item. Mine ate 16 and 12 and we haven't had a problem getting a big gift. Although my oldest has been talking about just wanting cash...not sure I am a fan of that.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 4:48:03 PM
If I'm paying for college then usually high school is it for the big gifts.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:41:23 PM
The "big" thing is usually a video game for all my kids (19-25), even the married ones. It is a big deal to them because they are all either married or in college, and oh guess what? Bills come before video games! I am going to ask both of the married couples if there is something they would rather get together instead, but so far I've been hearing about the games they want.

I'm having a hard time this year because I'm going to be making more things than I buy, and I absolutely LOVE to buy. But it's just not in the budget this year, so I'm literally getting creative. Thankfully I have Pinterest.



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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:47:21 PM
When I do a "big gift", it is really a BIG GIFT.

DS's birthday is in mid October and a few days earlier is DGS's birthday. DGS got a K'nex gift. DS got a brand new trolling motor for his fishing boat. He knows that this is a BIG gift for about 3 years.

For DS's christmas gift, I made a lap-size quilt that is flannel and is "fishing themed".

DGS is also getting a quilt, fishing related, kind of an I-SPY quilt. I also made him a 'tent' cover for over a card table. Also bought card table as there was a wonderful sale. The top fabric on the "tent" is a fabric pannel with a construction word-work theme. I bought some CAT construction equipment (like Hot wheel size). And a couple of smaller toys.

DDIL is getting a blanket with a heater (Sam's clu and a new watch (designer) and earrings.

I figure that the trolling motor is a gift to the entire family as they all go fishing and this motor will make it easier on the water.

DDIL has her birthday on Jan 3. Now I need to get her a birthday gift.

The last 'BIG GIFT' was when I purchased DS a brand new GM Jimmy in 2005.

I am saving to gift them a week at Disney World in 3 years time.

It only took 11 years

PeaNut 32,283
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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:18:27 PM
My kids are 26 and 22 and I spend a certain amounts on them each year - if it's something big they want, that's what they get. If not, they get a bunch of smaller things that add up to that amount. Plus a stocking.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 10:15:00 PM
I tend to give "big gifts," but then again, my xmas list is rather short. I like giving "little gifts" throughout the year. What I mean by that is that if I see random things that I know people will like, I give "just because I love you gifts" to people. The little gifts run the gamut of something completely practical to something totally "off-the-wall ridiculous but I got it for you because I knew you'd like it."

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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:53:50 PM
I'm having issues with that too. My kids are 15 and 12. 15 yo DD would flip for an Iphone and 12 yo might want the Ipad mini. However, if I do those, it's most of their budget. Not sure yet what I'll do. I love the excitement of giving them their "want" item, but I like the presentation of at least a few things to open too.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:07:32 AM
We have 2 daughters in their 30's...one married with one child 8 yrs.. the other divorced with 2 kiddos..16 and 12. We give daughters and SIL money and a small wrapped gift or two. I don't worry about the amt. of the gifts as these may be something like a book or girly items. All three of the grandkids get money depending on their age...100 for 16 yr old..$75 for 12 yr old and
& $50 for the 8 yr. old. This amount will stay the same for the next couple years. That being said each will also get a gift or two from their Christmas list. This varies also. I don't think money value is important to keep the same for each child. I've taught mine from day one that a gift is just that. Sometimes it cost more than other times. We usually try to divide what we are going to spend ..1/2 of budget goes to daughters and SIL the other half goes to grandkids. We've had unexpected expenses this year so the amounts will be less than some years...lol. They won't complain. At least they never have. If we won the lottery all my plans might go out the window. I love buying presents if I know what someone likes. I'm also glad we only have two daughters and 3 grandkids. Makes it easier. lol

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PeaNut 51,689
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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:23:09 AM
I always did one big gift for the kids at Christmas, things like a bike or a surfboard or the X Box etc. But last year I didn't get 14yo DD a big ticket gift. There wasn't really anything she wanted so I ended up getting her lots of smaller gifts. Mind you, those added up to be more expensive than what I bought 7yo DS. I bought her some make up that cost about $130 all up (powder, bronzer, primer, tinted moisturiser, brush). I did feel really bad about not getting her a big gift, and did apologise to her but she was fine.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:29:14 AM
Why not start them on a tool box and things they will need when they get there own places. This does come in handy

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PeaNut 43,061
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Posted: 11/16/2012 7:31:06 AM
Big gifts still happen for all family members. They didn't stop with the kids. Everyone gets something cool and "big" on top of little gifts. The more gifts the merrier. Why would we stop? We're a family of gift givers.

Why not start them on a tool box and things they will need when they get there own places. This does come in handy

No offence meant, but that's really boring for a "big" gift. Gifts aren't supposed to be what you need, it's supposed to be fun. This might be interesting as a smaller gift, but not the piece de resistance. That would be a huge let down.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 26,836
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Posted: 11/16/2012 8:39:40 AM
My parents did/do. It was (and still is) called the "Open me last" gift.

And my parents (Well. Mom, since she is the gift buying/wrapping person in the house) still does this for all 3 adult kids and 4 grandkids, now, too.

I never started that at my house. It seemed like too much pressure. I like to eliminate as much stress from Christmas as possible. So if the kids get all little gifts one year or some littles and a few mediums another, it's all good.

My oldest is 9, and still loves to see a mess of gifts. So even if they hold things like drawing pads, clothes, etc., he's happy to have a stack. So I shy away from Big gifts.

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Posted: 11/16/2012 9:01:26 AM

I don't do a big monetary gift, but my kids' big gift is the thing that they want the most that year. I move heaven and earth to get that for them

This, although sometimes the big most wanted gift is also fairly expensive. I'm talking 3ds and kindle expensive though, not iPad/ designer handbag expensive. I just don't have the budget for that.

It's not the passage of time that heals. It's what you do with that time.
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