Trim the Fat Tuesday: The Gift Budget

With the holidays coming up, now is the perfect time to take a look at our budget for gift-giving. Luckily for us, this past summer our children (at the time, ages 10 and almost 12) finally admitted that they no longer believe in Santa Claus.

Woohoo! That frees us up to

Cut Santa presents out of the gift budget.

During our conversation, it became clear that these slightly greedy little children haven't believed in Santa Claus for some time now, but were afraid to come clean about it. Not because they were worried about hurting our feelings or ruining Christmas for the other sibling, though. Nope. The motivation here was straight-up fear that the gravy train of an extra present was over.

And they were right.

Being Santa for the last decade was fun, but also increasingly challenging. Check out a fairly recent letter to Santa from the oldest:

As you can see, requests are either incredibly hard to find (thanks for the weird flute, eBay guy!), or on the expensive side. I know that this year they had each been planning to ask for a laptop or iPad, so we just dodged a major bullet in the Santa department.

Anyway, since there is no Santa Claus, we can now cut our gift budget back by $50 per kid. Santa gifts have varied widely in the past, but that's a fair average. It's not really a temptation for us to put that money into additional gifts under the tree from us, because presents are the worst part of Christmas. We are all pretty easily overwhelmed by too much stuff, and it's a burden to fill a child's room (not to mention my own) with things that then must be cleaned up and taken care of. It's much more fun to open a few gifts and then start playing with them or get out of the house for a pond skate on Christmas morning than it is to spend hours opening presents. 

So, yeah, I admit that I'm not the average American parent on this one, but I bet most people could easily trim money out of their gift budgets. Kids don't keep score with how much things cost, so there's no need to try to "balance out the spending" or some bullshit. Just pick out one present they'll really like and call it a day.

Trimming out $100 a year ($50 per kid) on presents comes to about $8 per month. Think of it as dodging the great American Santa Tax.

Savings per month: $8


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