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Managing Holiday Spending on Toys

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Generally speaking, the generosity bestowed upon children during Christmas time warms the heart. For many a gift giver, viewing the faces of children light up as they unwrap presents makes the bumpy road experienced during holiday shopping seem all but a distant memory. Yet for parents, the aftermath of Christmas means managing the sheer tonnage of new toys battling for already limited space in one’s home.

I’m as guilty as the next parent of being an overindulgent gift giver when it comes to my children. Prior to entering this holiday season I planned to be pragmatic in my approach. Yet the temptation to splurge in order to ensure receiving the gift of a child’s joy slowly but surely eradicates rationale thought. A euphoric frenzy takes over the centers of the brain in charge of heightening feelings of satisfaction. Who doesn’t feel magnificent buying a toy one just knows their child will adore? And so the inevitable wave of purchasing commences. Couple that with relatives all sharing the same mindset and one has a recipe for complete and utter colored plastic overload.

After bearing witness to other parents (myself included) partaking in yet another holiday season of excessive toy purchasing I’ve decided to implore parents to change our ways. In essence, a call to action to reclaim our collective sanity to avoid the pitfalls of overindulgent gift giving.

Tips for Parents on How to Better Manage Holiday Spending on Toys

  • Make a holiday toys purchasing plan and stick to it. Setting parameters and holding everyone accountable can stem the tide of gift giving overload.
  • Set a spending limit using only cash not credit cards. If considering shopping online instead of frequenting stores, perhaps purchase monetary gift cards to set a financial limit on future purchases.
  • If space is tight at home, create a plan to donate or get rid of infrequently used toys in one’s residence prior to purchasing additional items.
  • Plan to donate or re-gift new toys that are either redundant or just simply unnecessary.
  • Suggest gift cards for practical purchases to your family. There might be some resistance to the idea but there’s also a good chance some will abide by your wishes.
  • Employ the one to one rule. For every new item one receives, something must be thrown out, recycled, donated, or sold (great excuse to start your own eBay account).
  • Resist purchasing new stuff on your own. Why add to the problem? Window shopping’s okay, but lock down that credit card for needs not wants.
  • Tell your friends and family to make a donation to your charity of choice instead of a gift.
  • Suggest contributions for your kids college funds instead of a toy.

What are your thoughts? How have you stemmed the tide on overindulgent toy purchasing?

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  • MSH

    Love the ‘one-to-one’ and the ‘donate before you purchase additional toys’ suggestions.  Get the kids involved if possible.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed.  Getting the kids involved helps the whole process move along more smoothly.  Thanks for your input MSH

  • We always set dollar limits with ourselves and our family. We also try to limit gifts by drawing names and not having everyone buy gifts for everyone.

    Granted the grandparents are still going to get gifts for the grand kids, but this way we don’t get gifts from every Aunt and Uncle and cousin as well.

    • Anonymous

      All very practical ideas.  Thanks for chiming in Adam.

  • I am guilty as charged. I only have one child and my problem is that I buy things throughout the year, put them away and forget about it until the end of the year. It does mean I am not spending so much at one time, but often when I pull everything out it is too much! Luckily my Daughters birthday is 25th November so I can split it. I love your ideas about clearing out the stuff they already have.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing Sixty Second Parent.  It seems no matter what we do as parents, kids toys have away of piling up if left unchecked and before one knows it, the floor seems to disappear. 🙂  

  • Lisa

    So guilty-cuff me!!! I did limit myself this year and even took the liberty of purchasing for the grandparents so that eliminated them buying things that will just fall to the bottom of the toy box. 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for writing in Lisa.  Seems like you’ve got a plan and you’re sticking to it! 🙂