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Answers to some Christmas questions

When I posted our Christmas pictures on Monday, you guys had a few questions for me about Christmas shopping and kids.


Mrs. Picky Pincher was wondering what our ballpark spending figure is  and April was wondering if we do a budget or a particular number of gifts.

For our kids, we usually aim to spend about $100, plus some extra for stocking stuffers.

We’re not crazy strict about this, so if we go a little over or under, we don’t sweat it.

Of course, the number of gifts our kids get varies a lot. If they’ve asked for something expensive, then they might only get a gift or two, but if they’re wanting a bunch of smaller things, then the $100 can buy a lot more presents.

warm christmas

For stocking stuffers, we usually go with edibles.   For instance, Lisey is seriously in love with anything grape, so this year, I went to Five Below (an east cost dollar-type store) and bought all manner of grape stuff.   Gum, tic-tacs, Mike&Ikes, grape Fanta…anything grape!

And for Joshua, who prefers things to be less sweet, I bought a variety of dark chocolate bars.

Anyway, the things we put in stockings aren’t anything fancy or expensive…just some fun treats that are a little bit out of the ordinary.

Christmas tree

Another reader was wondering about how we budget for Christmas.

The answer is that we start budgeting for it right after Christmas each year! Every month, we have an automatic savings deduction that goes right into our Christmas savings account. So, the account gets drained every December and then we start building it right back up again after Christmas.

Even if you can only put $10/week aside, you’ll have $520 saved up at the end of the year (which can easily cover 4 kids + stocking stuffers at our spending level!)

I really cannot recommend this highly enough, especially if you typically struggle to come up with Christmas funds each year.   You’ll hardly miss $10 a week, and you’ll be so, so happy to have $500+ when it’s time to buy Christmas presents.

(On a related note, 3 Ways to Prepare For Christmas might be helpful to you.)

frosted Christmas cookies

Oh, and a few years back, I wrote a series about keeping Christmas simple.

It’s called Making Christmas Merry (while keeping your sanity and sticking to your budget)

And while I probably should have linked you all to that last month, better late than never, right?   Maybe you’d like to read the posts now so you’re all prepped for next year. 😉

The Making Christmas Merry posts are indexed right here for you.

If you have other Christmas questions that I missed (or that you didn’t ask!), let me know in the comments, and I’ll answer right there. 🙂


P.S. In case you missed it, there’s a fresh new Mrs. Meyer’s offer available from Grove right now with a super cute white metal caddy.

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Saturday 7th of January 2017

We have a large family that has grown by 2 more this past year. My husband and I have 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. They all gather at our home on Christmas Eve for dinner, games, and our gift exchange. This year we even added 2 boyfriends to the crowd. I start my Christmas list early in the year, usually by August. I hand make as many of the gifts as I can. Two of our grandsons received a set of Harry Potter wands I made. I paid $10 for two sets of 5 chopsticks, the rest of the supplies I had on hand. For my oldest daughter and my daughter in law I made centerpieces for their tables using wine bottles. These were given to me by friend. I bought some embellishments to complete these, but at a minimal cost. They loved them. The little ones received sets of homemade blocks with the letters of their names. Each block either had bells, a squeaky sound or something that rattled. Cost: $0. I had all materials on hand. I make quilts, blankets, pillows, and pictures, depending on what is needed or wanted at the time. This saves lots of money, but I have to plan early so everything can get done.


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

I find great joy on the being generous to our adult daughters. There was a time in life when we could not afford to do so.. I pick up clearance items throughout the year that are fun, special and unique to their individual tastes . These gifts are a grown up twist on stocking stuffers. Shopping for Christmas 2017 starts... now! This helps the end of year holiday budget.Typically, these items have been purchased before Thanksgiving.

In addition, I save a small amount weekly to cover gifts for each of them , about $300 in total.

The best addition to our Christmas celebration in a pre holiday night in our local Midwest Metro in a nice hotel, dinner, cocktails , dessert and a lovely brunch the following day to conclude our celebration. Such a fun way to catch up with our daughters.

I will gladly go to great efforts in to frugal day to day life for this annual splurge. It is worth the every sacrifice and every penny.

Megan Blanchard

Thursday 5th of January 2017

This is really sweet. I love your viewpoint on Christmas.


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Another way to save toward Christmas 2017 is to buy a gift card each month from stores you shop at and use them to buy your gifts next Christmas.Going to try this and see how it goes.


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

This is not at all Christmas related, but it made me think of your girls. I could be mistaken, but I seem to remember one of them enjoying Narwhals. Your family came to mind today when I saw this book advertised. It's supposed to be an adorable read!

Karen B.

Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Kristen, would you do a mention of your traditional Christmas dinner? I thought about that simple but pleasing meal on more than one occasion that day! Thank you!

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