Christmas Present Buying

By the time you’ve kept the kids entertained, bought the uniform and refilled the cupboards the last thing you are thinking of is Christmas – right?

You dread to hear it mentioned, thinking that it is so far away. If you can afford to put off thinking about it then that’s great, but I guess I am kind of materialistic in that I want to provide everything my kids want – as long as it doesn’t leave us in debt, and nothing that some forward planning won’t achieve. They are good lads and work hard, so I don’t see why not. I do not spend the same on each child, to make sure it is fair – I consider that over their lifetimes they all get about the same (obviously one child wouldn’t get a new laptop every year for example) – but, as I say, we try to get them what they want. As well as using the build up time to create the magic, do crafting with them, not thinking about buying and wrapping gifts.


I like to plan and really couldn’’t leave things until the last-minute – those busy crowded shops, not sure if I would be able to even get the present that I am looking for. I find it hard to put a lot of thought into presents in December too – there’s so much else going on –such as Christmas Nativities, Pantos, and organising trips to see Father Christmas. Obviously my youngest also finds the change and excitement difficult too.


I try to get things in the sales the year before – especially the paper/cards/tags – and then it just goes into the loft. Some things though you just can’t plan for – especially what will be the “in” thing, so I like the idea of spreading the cost without even thinking about it –  such as with a reward credit card. You would earn money with the weekly shop – or alternatively do your Christmas shopping on it and use the rewards to pay for next years holiday. Just remember to pay the balance off in FULL each month, and not just the minimum payment. Only spend on it what money you have available – like cash – and put that money away until the bill comes in. Another good idea is to compare credit cards to find the one that offers the right deal for you.

christmas paper

When buying Christmas presents what do you consider? Do you put a lot of thought into present buying or do you grab anything off the shelves? Do you stick to a budget? Do you spend the same on each person? Make sure it is fair? Or on each of your children/friends/siblings, etc? Do you buy presents that are practical? Convenient? Easy to store? Do you buy presents for next year in the sales? Or do you leave it until the last-minute? Are you still shopping on Christmas Eve? Do you wrap as you go or do you do it all Christmas Eve?

When buying for your children do you buy things that will be noisy? Or do you avoid them? Or do you buy what your children ask for? Or how often they will play with them? Do they get everything they ask for? Do you buy a “main” present.

What Psychology Research tells us about present buying

Children under 8 years old it’s more important about the Father Christmas thing than whether they have presents that have brand names (Peter Clarke, (2006) “Christmas gift giving involvement”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 23 Iss: 5, pp.283 – 291).

Apparently men are more likely to be vocal about being disappointed about their present whereas women will keep quiet about it (Dunn, E.W., Huntsinger, J., Lun, J. & Sinclair, S. (2008). The Gift of Similarity: How Good and Bad Gifts Influence Relationships. Social Cognition, 26(4), 469-481). That they will see it as there being something “wrong” with the relationship.

Giving money can send out a powerful message about the status of the relationship (Burgoyne, C.B. & Routh, D.A. (1991). Constraints on the Use of Money as a Gift at Christmas: The Role of Status and Intimacy. Journal of Economic Psychology, 12(1), 47-69). But am sure if it’s for a child and/or a generous amount this wont apply. Children love receiving money and it’s a good way to help them teach them about money – saving up for things, not blowing it all at once, maybe holding out for the sales.

This post was brought to you in conjunction with Katie Laddetto