It really touched me about how excited your children get when they give each other their presents {from this post}. Do they do extra chores to earn the money for the pressies or just save it from their pocket money?

The kids buy gifts for each other with their own money. We used to have each child buy for each brother and sister which turned out to be expensive so we shopped at the dollar store. But for the last two years we’ve had the kids draw names so they can buy something a little nicer for one sibling (whomever’s name they draw). If they are low on cash they do “money chores” around the house so they can earn enough. I think we set a $10 limit last year. (I found this really good idea to help little kids earn money for gifts here.)

Watching their anticipation and pure glee as they give away those presents is my very favorite part of Christmas…oh wait, have I said that before? 🙂
I am eagerly awaiting ‘The Entitlement Trap‘ because of Christmas coming up. Do you have a $ limit on how much you spend on your children? I heard on the radio last year that the average parent spends $300 per child at Christmas. Do you think this is true?? PS, anyone else can respond to this 🙂

We spend varying amounts on kids each year depending on our budget and what they want/need. So far teenagers obviously tend to be much more expensive in comparison to kids like Lu who will be over the moon with a few squinkies and some dry-erase markers. We, like all parents, want our kids to be super excited on Christmas morning but we don’t believe in buying junky stuff just so they can open more gifts. Generally they get something a little bigger from Santa and some clothes and other things they need from us. We also try to do a few family gifts.

I know it’s important/special/exciting for young kids to be home with the magic of Christmas on Christmas morning, but some day when the kids are a little older I hope we can be in a foreign land doing some sort of meaningful service project on Christmas morning. I think if we start building that up now it will be really neat for our family. I worry so, so much about kids feeling entitled to lavish gifts at Christmas, and I have some pretty specific thoughts on that…more on that next week.

I’m wondering what music you allow your kids to listen to..pop music with a discussion on some songs or no pop music? I personally love it myself and my kids hear the kids bop version at school and the Just Dance DVD (which is so fun) had edited versions of songs that I’m not sure about…but I had “Baby Got Back” memorized as a teen and I knew what it meant, but it didn’t affect me. I just like to dance!

My jaw drops on a regular basis when it hits me that I swear my older kids know every single song and all the words. What in the world is up with that? We don’t have really specific rules on music because they haven’t pushed the limits much as of yet. They are the ones who are worried about getting “clean” versions of songs with any bad words and for that I am very grateful. I just hope that lasts. I agree that there are so many things in songs/movies, etc. that slipped right over our heads when we were young…I hope that we can just encourage our kids to choose the “good part” of the plethora of music choices out there. We’ve had discussions about how good music can just make you feel good and inspired, and other music can bring you down. I think that’s an important connection to make and to stick with the uplifting stuff.

My mother thinks you look really familiar. I don’t know if you grew up in Utah or not, but if you did, any chance you went to Brighton High School?

I went to East High school and feel famous that they filmed High School Musical there. I like to claim that any chance I get 🙂


  1. I'd just like to say thank you for having this blog and being so open and willing to share your experiences as a mother. I look forward to your posts and sometimes it just gives me that little motherly boost in times of me feeling inadequate. I get excited and think, "Yeah! I CAN do this, and do it well!"

    I'm a married 25 year old, mother of two, Primary president, living in South Florida. Families are small here, and I'm kind of an oddball walking around with two small children. I find myself frequently [sort of] defending why I have two children at this age. Not that people are rude about it, just curious.

    And of course we want more! And of course people's reactions are in the back of my mind when my husband and I discuss adding more. Because those little people just bring so much joy.

    Anyway, I've loved your advice/ideas about everything family and I look forward to using many of your ideas in our own family.

    Oh, and the purpose of this comment: I saw that you went to East High, it reminded me that my mother-in-law said you dated my husband's uncle, Greg Blake. Small world.

    Rachel Barton

  2. To the person who is concerned about dollar limits for Christmas gifts: What you set as a standard in your home is up to you. I have never spent more than $100 per child in my home. Commit to buying gifts they will really love and use. I think if you are present and aware –aka deliberate– as a parent, that you will KNOW what they are in to and will love most. I don't believe in comparing my ideas or purchases to other people, though it is harder said for some. The magic of Christmas for kids is about the togetherness, as much as the lights and glitter.

  3. Of course your blog is one of my all time favorites, usually when I'm checking blog lately all I look at are my friends and yours! But I'm always looking for other great blogs/websites for wonderful inspiration like yours, can you tell us what blogs YOU read and are your favorite?

  4. As far as Christmas gifts go, this year we decided to tell the kids to expect only 3 gifts from their parents (after the fact, one of my children pointed out that that's how many gifts Christ received–gold frankenscense and murh). Christmas hasn't happened yet, but I already LOVE the limit it puts on us to spend less and the lowered expectations it has given the kids. We will definitely be doing this again for many years to come!

  5. A trip to foreign land is pretty extravagant. I mean if you want to go, do it.

    I just wonder if flight cost donated to an already on the ground organization where they can hire local people to work at the tasks more economical? Not to mention nice for the local economy. The people hired to teach and fix up the school can buy milk and eggs and the persons owning the goat and chickens can have money for school supplies for their kids. Trickle down.

  6. Thanks for another great post. I especially love that you included some cute happy photos. My kids usually get pretty excited about each others gifts too.

    We have them shop at the dollar tree and this year I might take them to Walmart and put a price limit of $5/10 on a gift.
    This was helpfully to read about how much you spend each year. This is where I struggle and the holidays stress me because of it. I try to keep it at $150/200 for each kid that includes stockings stuffers which I go crazy with. It seems all their friends get way more then that and even at Easter their baskets are filled with so much it's like Christmas again. Trying to teach them about the other parts of this season is hard when their friends do and get sooo much more.
    I did read somewhere that a family has always gotten them one thing from each of these themes
    1. a book of any kind,
    2. a piece of clothing
    3. music/art thing
    4. one want
    they also had five kids and this is what they started from the beginning. I've always thought about doing this. Thought that might help someone.

    How cool that you went to East High, what a cool school that is. I loved those movies with my kids and was happy they got so much from those movies.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today and I also love reading your comments too. Looking forward to hearing next weeks.

  7. about the music, I have a funny story! MY girls downloaded Lady Gaga's song after looking up the lyrics to make sure it was clean (they do that on their own at 10 & 11) and the words were fine, but when they listened to the download it had the word "cigarette" in it, so they FREAKED OUT and deleted the song and won't listen to it again! too FUNNY. I don't like that word either, but I am glad they thought it was BAD!

  8. Thank you for answering my question about the pressie giving from you children to each other. You made my day/week:)

    As you can tell, I'm from the uk which is why I wrote pocket money instead of allowance!!!

    Thank you for a great blog. You truly inspire me, just like your Mum & Dad do:)

  9. As far as Christmas gifts go, we do one family gift, each receive a Santa gift (which we have 5 younger kids, so our limit is $20), a gift from mom & dad (wich is what clothes they may need) and then each child buys every sibling a gift. Which we also have "money chores" they do and for the younger ones we match there savings (they each do $5. gifts for each other).

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