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Christmas Gift Buying – Chaos Style – PART 1.

Saturday, 27th October 2012

Christmas Gift Buying – Chaos Style – PART 1.

Many Common Chaos Chronicle readers have contacted me and desperately want to know how I go about organising Christmas presents.

I have decided to break it down into a few parts as I have several different ways of doing things and suggestions to make.

So grab your cuppa,(or if x-mas raises the fine hairs on your neck), grab the wine, and get ready to experience Christmas shopping Chaos Style!


Myth One: I must spend the same amount on each child…

I have heard and read many people talking about the value of what they spend per child on Christmas pressies, and I’m about to lay that load of nonsense to rest. Right now.

Granted older kids are bound to jack up on you and carry on about a variety of different things when it comes to gifts, but my rule of thumb is, if ‘Santa’ still pays them a visit, the value or cost of their present piles does not have to match.

For example, what one child pines for may be worth $20. What child two pines for might be valued at $50, but when they tear it open on Christmas morning, neither are going to give a bugger about price because:

1. Santa got it.

2. They’re both totally pumped that they got something they really wanted.


3. It’s just stupid parent guilt that makes you think otherwise.

Buying the same amount of pressies seems to be much more important here at Chaos HQ, rather than what each pile costs.

Consider this:

Child 1 gets the $20 pressie, but parent feels bad because child 2 got a $50 pressie. So parent goes out and buys child 1 a few extra bits and pieces to make up the difference….. Child 2 turns around on Christmas morning and declares that Santa must love child 1 more, or that they must have been a naughty child, resulting in tantrums and tears on one of the most fun mornings of the year.


You buy Child 1 the $20 gift and then buy Child 2 a $20 gift that they don’t really want, and you still end up with a cranky kid on Xmas morning.

The best thing to do, is buy the same amount of boxes/packages per child and save yourself the heartache, the headache and the extra $$$ this Christmas.

Xmas pressie 1

Myth Two – I must spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on each child.


I will admit I am a sucker for a sale and if you saw photos of the Twin’s first Christmas, you’d think I’d just taken a few snap shots in the local toyshop. But we live and learn people, we live and learn.

If your monsters are under the age of 3, chances are they’re going to be overwhelmed and excited with the first 2 or 3 boxes they tear open.

They honestly don’t need half of Kmart in their bedrooms. Even if it is cute, looks cool or the neighbor across the street has it.

Buying masses of gifts for a baby is just as crazy. They are more interested in chewing on the paper than what was wrapped in it.

I think the best thing to do for little ones is to buy a couple of good quality, fun looking toys, maybe an outfit to wear and save the big $$$$ for when they get older and ‘have’ to have the latest and greatest fad on the market.

As long as you have a few things to photograph them opening up, they’re going to look back at the photos in years to come and be pleased as punch, and so will you be.

This year our family budget for Christmas is $1000. And that’s for 7 kids and 2 adults.

Kids pressie2


1. Take advantage of the mid-year extended lay-by toy sales. It’s a great way to make a start, it’s affordable in the sense you can pay them off and you don’t have to stash and store the items at home.

I find that by the time Christmas comes around, sometimes the kids have changed their minds or have asked Santa for something different. That’s no biggie either because you will be able to ‘return’ unwanted lay-by items and exchange them for something else. This way you’re not spending more money, buying extra stuff, and everyone is still happy.

2. Stocking fillers are great to add a little extra oomph to a pressie pile, but $2 here and $5 there soon adds up, and if your buying for a larger brood, this will chew a massive hole in your budget. They also tend to be cheap crap that breaks quick so you’re probably wasting your hard earned money anyway! Santa likes to leave a Cadbury Christmas Stocking in the MonsterSquad’s Stockings, and sometimes, he’ll leave a little outfit there too.

The secret to success with stockings is to buy reasonable sized ones, not the massive Santa sack ones. The bigger the stocking the more that need’s to be in it to ‘look’ full. Get my drift?

3. Think outside the square, or Christmas Tree Zone if you will. Have you considered a larger joint present for siblings? Trampolines, Blow up swimming pools, Sand pits and that kind of thing? Less toys and crap in the house and more fun family times is always a win at Chaos HQ. (As are the Santa foot-prints that lead out the back door……)

4. Creating a family tradition will be long remembered, what they got on Christmas morning will not be. So focus more on what you do together on Christmas Morning, rather that what everyone is ‘getting’.

More on starting a family tradition to come in a future post πŸ™‚

5. If you have a mix of ages and the older ones do understand present value, word them up first, so when the little ones ask why the big ones have only got one or two pressies, and they have a few more, they have a decent answer to give. Such as:

The iPod takes longer for the Elves to build so Santa has to pay them more….. You know your kids best, whatever works for them!

And lastly, at Chaos HQ we have a rule that if you don’t believe in Santa, he doesn’t leave you a present. So far each year MonsterSquad Dad and I have received something little each from Santa and no one has been game enough to say they don’t believe either!

Stay tuned to Common Chaos Chronicle for Part 2, where I will discuss buying for older Monsters, and for extended family too!
I’m linking up with Tina over at TinaGray{dot}me!




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    1. Great post Jacqui. I have gone the joint present option this year for exactly the reason you mentioned - less toys and crap in the house. So my three are having a jumping castle. Also love your advice on making sure each child has equal number of present to open, rather than equal amounts spent on them.

    2. Erin

      I'm so with you on the number of presents not the dollar value and that's exactly how I shop , the kids don't care how much you spent but they will definitely notice if someone has 5 things ad they only have 2 ,

    3. Great advice Jac from a woman who knows how it works .

    4. Lisa

      after a nasty mishap, where children of a religon that doesn't celebrate religion i had to console my 2 about whether or not Santa was real or, i haved drummed it into them that for as long as they believe in santa they will get presents! Hell i even get presents because i believe in santa!

    5. commonchaoschronicle

      That's the way Lisa, keep the magic alive :-)

    6. I'm with you on the not having to spend the same dollar value on each kid. Awesome post, Jac. Thanks for linking up x

    7. Awesome advice! We are really scaling back this year, as the kids interests and likes are for very different things to Christmases passed. I think the number of parcels is important, not the amount you have spent. The younger kids don't really understand how much things are worth anyway. As long as everyone has happy memories, I'm happy too :)

    8. Great advice! Christmas gets crazy!!

    9. Sandy Burton

      Jacqui your advice is 100% right :-) I love reading your blog

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