Christmas ? for grandmas with lots of GKs

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by aubriee, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. aubriee

    aubriee <font color=brown><marquee>Chocolate always makes

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    My 14 y/o GD was my only grandchild for eight years, so yes we spoiled her rotten, getting her everything we could every year for birthdays and Christmas (including a couple of WDW trips, four wheelers, dirt bikes, etc). When she was eight, our younger son had a little boy but it was still fairly easy to spoil them with bigger presents for birthdays and Christmas. However, in just the last three years we suddenly went from 2 to 6 1/2 grandkids (have another grandson due April 1st). I told my GD that Christmas was not going to be as big this year as she's used to. She said she understood as there are so many GKs to buy for now, but I could tell she was disappointed. She did make a comment that it wasn't her fault that she suddenly had so many cousins (plus 1 1/2 stepbrothers). My GKs are 14 y/o, 5 y/o, two 2 y/os, 1 y/o, and 1 month old, (plus the one due April 1st). As a grandparent how do you go from overinduling them and how much do you spend on each? Several times my GD has mentioned us buying her a car when she turns 16 y/o. If she was an only GK we probably would, but no way can we do it with seven to buy for. Also I used to take her on alot of GM-GD trips (WDW, San Antonio, etc). Now with all the other GKs I can't afford to do that. I guess I just need to vent. She lives with her mom (my exD-I-L) and I just hate that I'm having to cut out alot of the stuff we used to buy her. However, with all the other GKs to buy for, we know we have to be fair and can't afford to buy huge gifts for all of them. With seven grandkids how much would you spend on each and what are some good (reasonalbly priced) gifts for a 14 y/o girl who is just transitioning from a tomboy into a teenager who is just starting to like make up and boys? lol
     
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  3. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

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    My parents have 10 grandchildren. They decided on a budget and then split it evenly among the grandchildren. Usually its about $75/child.

    For your granddaughter's age gift cards are usually popular. Itunes, Aeropostle, Claire's, fast food places, etc.
     
  4. lindsmom

    lindsmom DIS Veteran

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    Hi - not a grandma, but I can speak somewhat for my mom, grandma to 8 kids. She allots $100 per child (which we think she could trim back somewhat to $50 and the kids would understand - the young one won't even notice). Her gk's range from 1 year old to 25 years old. She prefers to buy clothes for the kids until they're 20 ish, when they know the budget and pick something - like electronics - for a gift.

    Last year she bought the 15 year old itunes cards, and she bought the 16 year old some clothes from pacsun that she (the gd) had picked out. I try to encourage her to get gift cards as her taste isn't what the girls would like themselves for clothes, she just doesn't like giving a card which I understand.

    Other ideas would include speakers for an ipod (if she has one), or perhaps an inexpensive digital camera (can get a decent one for $60), or accessories for a camera or cell phone. No matter what, make sure you get a gift receipt.

    As far as spending on the kids, don't worry about buying stuff - see if you can just spend more time. My MIL tries to spend time baking with my daughter every school vacation - maybe you could spend an afternoon doing nails or teaching her something you know how to do, like cooking, painting, sewing, etc. That's something you could schedule with each child, and it's something that can't be found in stores. I have tried very hard to get that message across to my mom but she still feels compelled to buy little things for my dd all the time - stuff she doesn't need and I'd rather mom not spend the money on. But if she could spend a few hours teaching DD how to cook that would be special.
     
  5. disneychic2

    disneychic2 DIS Veteran

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    :flower3:It is so hard to cut back when spending for grandchildren! We had just one for 2 1/2 years then had 2 more in the same year. I used to buy something for the first GD all the time. Clothes, shoes, toys, whatever. Now that I have three, I get less frequent spur of the moment things. Still do the same for Christmas, but that budget was never that huge; $100 or so. OP your 16 year old GD seems to think of you as a bank. Hinting for a car when she knows your situation seems a little unfeeling to me. True that you have sort of "created the monster", but hopefully she loves you for just who you are and not what you can get her. As a pp said, it's not about how much money you spend. Your time and love are so much more important. Good luck to you!
     
  6. mrsklamc

    mrsklamc <font color=blue>I apologize in advance, but what

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    Instead of thinking how she's losing out, point out how lucky she was to be an only all those years.

    It's ridiculous for any 16 year old to expect a free car. Yes most ask and many receive but most don't. It's much better for them in the long run to learn that money and cars don't grow on trees.
     
  7. java

    java <font color=darkorchid>I am embracing the Turkey B

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    Not a Grandma but my Mom has 10 grandchildren(4 are mine) while my two oldest had a couple years of the anything and everything kind of holidays- now they set a budget and stick to it.

    Every child gets $100 worth of presents. And honestly I told her she didn't need to do that. My 5 year old doesn't know how much things cost. If he really wants a $30 toy and she gets him that he'll be just as happy. But in her mind it has to be even across the board.
     
  8. MinnieForMe

    MinnieForMe DIS Veteran

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    I would set a dollar amount and divide it among the gks.

    Just because you have more gks doesn't mean the oldest should miss out on quality time with you. I'm sure you can find reasonable places to take her.. a weekend trip to grandmas with a movie etc... The little ones are not going to realize that they are not going places with you yet and when they start getting old enough to take places make their trips be local (zoo, children's museum etc.).

    My parents went from 2 gks to 8 in two years. They can relate! LOL!
     
  9. Poohbear5

    Poohbear5 DIS Veteran

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    My parents have 12 grandkids and spend about $75 on each. We've asked them to cut it down a bit because rising medical cost and heating bills are stressing them out.
     
  10. Worfiedoodles

    Worfiedoodles DIS Veteran

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    Whatever you do -- please do try to treat them all fairly -- equal may not be "fair" (sometimes you need to spend more on gifts for older kids and less for younger, but they will be equally delighted with their gifts), but have some standard you stick to. I say this because my FIL and his wife buy junk for the adopted grandkids and expensive gifts for the ones who were born into the family. It broke my heart to see my older nieces realize (and they did), they were treated differently. MY SIL finally asked them to just give the family a check, and then she shopped so it was more equitable.

    Maria :upsidedow
     
  11. zoemurr

    zoemurr DIS Veteran

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    maybe you can give them "time" instead of "stuff"

    a cookie making afternoon or lunch and a movie.

    I also don't think that any child should expect so much.

    I have the opposite problem 'cause I come from a very small family and have the only grandkids on both sides. I have made it clear from the beginning that Christmas will not be a zillion expensive presents from either grandma. (or us) Neither of them are very happy about it, but they understand.
     
  12. snowywhite89

    snowywhite89 Mouseketeer

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    When my first niece/nephew arrived my Grandmother gave me sound advise. "Only do as much now as you can afford to do when all the others come along." You never know how many there will be but you set a limit based on how many you think and then go from there.

    You way over indulged her and now she is acting spoiled and making you feel guilty about it.

    Think of how you would feel if you are one of those new grands who did not get all the stuff she did. The vacations were fine as long as the younger ones now get vacations when they are old enough.

    Rest assured that she will tell them often how they spoiled all her Christmases and Birthdays. They will know about the quads, trips, dirt bikes and all the other expensive stuff.
     
  13. nunzia

    nunzia You can't top pigs with pigs, but you CAN top Toys

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    I have to agree that bringing down to reality the 'monster' you've created can be a challenge..especially at the age she is..where kids get much more focused on labels and status and all that junk. So this is a perfect time to stress to her and teach her the quality of memories and shared enjoyment. I second the idea of spending extra time with her so she knows the cute little new GKs haven't replaced her, and finding time for special events with her she'll always remember. She's the perfect age to go with you to see a broadway style show, or have a spa day, or cooking lessons (and if you love to cook, you be the instructor!) She'll never forget those times and will be so grateful when she's grown and all the trinket gifts are long forgotten.
    I also have a huge stable of grandkids..8, aging in age from 10-1 with one on the way. 2 of the kids are stepgrands and I am aware that how we treat them could be judged and am very concious to keep things fair. The minute my son married their Mom they became equal to us in the grandkid pile. For Christmas I try to keep at about 3 gifts and some clothes for each. Figuring a dollar amount is very difficult since I bargain shop all year, but I try to keep the gifts in the same range of value. Example..Amazon lightning deal had the double spinning lightsaber at a good price so I bought it for a GS..hmmm..now the 2 boys that are steps needed something more of equal WOW..so off I go to Walmart for their Paperjamz set and drums on Black Friday. I'm now buying for birthdays, because I don't want to start a new round of adding on, if you know what I mean..3 gifts and clothes..I just try to stay focused on that.:)
     
  14. livndisney

    livndisney DIS Veteran

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    I was the "only" for years before my cousins came along. I can tell you if I had made one comment (or asked my Grandparents to buy me a car:scared1:), I would have saved the budget. I would not have gotten another single present.


    I can understand Grandparents "spoiling" the first, but you need to sit down and have a chat with this teen. Why would she expect you to buy her a car?

    Do her parents know she is behaving like this? If my child acted like this to a grandparent, there would be a conversation.;)

    I would not let her make you feel guilty. Your life has changed, hers has to to. It is a part of growing up.

    And I totally agree, please treat all of the grandkids equally. If one gets, then they all should get. But more importantly make sure you spend the same amount of time with all the grandkids. Don't play favorites.
     
  15. brymolmom

    brymolmom DIS Veteran

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    My mom's gd's are close in age - so never had that spoiling the first thing for very long. But she used to have a special 'Christmas dinner' at her house every year to give all the gk's (6 of them) their gifts. She loved to give lots of gifts and didn't want them lost in the shuffle of the rest of Xmas day.

    That was when the kids were all younger - and she could give them 8 or so gifts with MOST of them being $2 or so. She never spent more than $40 or so per kid.

    Now that the kids are getting older (between 5 and 9 now) those $2 don't always work well. So I finally convinced my mom for the hassle factor (not as much to buy and not as much to wrap) AND the budget factor to cut it down to 1 - 2 gifts per kid. She is going to do that and likely staying in the $30 - $40 range per kid.

    Now, my MIL different story - her 21 grandkids range from 42 years old down to 2! My kids are at the way young end of that so she had done the grandmother thing for years and years before my kids came along. And it does show. She is older now and not nearly as 'into' my kids as I am sure she was when my oldest nieces were young. Same thing with gifts. She does try. But she usually tries for a birthday gift for my kids that they will like. For Christmas because we're ALL together and she does a gift for everyone - she keeps it simple. SHe does a money holder with $5 or $10 per kid in it!

    I know that the older ones got bigger and better gifts....It does not bother me at all. It does not bother my kids at all.

    I don't think there's any need NOT to get nice things for an only grandchild...even if it ends up just being a first grandchild. Those memories are special to you both and it's great you were able to do it. However, even though it sounds like she's whining about it now, time for her to suck it up and realize that it doesn't make sense that she'd be able to get as much from you now. She's old enough to understand how much things cost - and to multiply it by 7 and realize how much MORE that is.
     
  16. robsmom

    robsmom loved it so much we might go back

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    I think this is great advice. I know that the gifts my son will remember from his grandparents are time. He is 11 and actually got mad at me this weekend because we had to cut short his "grandma" time. Since my husband and I both work, my mother and my mother-in-law have both provided regular transportation to activites that my son wanted to join. He knows that he could not do everything that he does without their help. They know that he appreciates them. Great gift for everyone.
     
  17. maggiew

    maggiew DIS Veteran

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    Yes. Both of my grandmas gave the grandkids envelopes with money in them. (Not a lot of money either.)

    Maggie
     
  18. Shleedogg

    Shleedogg DIS Veteran

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    I would definitely try to keep it fair. Like a PP said though, that doesn't necessarily mean equal. The little ones won't know how much you spent. My DD would be thrilled with 10 gifts to open that were each from the dollar store. She's 2. I dislike the "equal" mentality when there are little ones. It just seems like unnecessary spending.

    My ILs are a huge culprit of this. They have 25 grand/great grand children and 8 kids, all of whom are married. They spend about $150/grandkid. Our DD just had a birthday where they took her birthday shopping and bought her a ton of toys. She also has every Little People set that they bought her last Christmas that were too old for her that she's now loving. Little kid toys are cheap. She doesn't need $150 worth of toys. I suggested spending less or getting her a savings bond, or even some clothes she could use. No go. FIL HAS to buy toys for the grandkids. I think it's unnecessary for the little ones that won't know the difference and will be overwhelmed with tons of toys.

    I'd say distribute the number of gifts equally. If you have a total budget of $700 and that would normally equal out to $100/kid, I would say fudge it a little. The one month old, 1 yr old and 2 yr old do not need $100 worth of toys. One month old, I'd say go for a savings bond, maybe spend $50 on each of the little ones, then distribute the extra $50 from each of them on each of the older kids.

    Just my 2 cents. It's a tough position! Good luck w/ whatever you decide on! :goodvibes
     
  19. cydswipe

    cydswipe Mouseketeer

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    My parents have 10 grandkids. All 10 years old and younger. They purchase a savings bond for each child. ALso, each child gets a stocking FULL of cheap toys, gum, fun band aids....

    My parents are very practical. They know the junk toys will end up in the bottom of the toy box or thrown out. What they do buy is the junk toys I would NEVER buy that my kids LOVE... hmm... how does that work? hahaha!

    I know the oldest 4 (all age 10) will think the savings bond is lame this year... but when they hit adulthood they will be so thankful!

    My in-laws go over the top, ridiculous if you ask me. I bet a third of items purchased don't get worn, played with, or read...
     
  20. lovesmurfs

    lovesmurfs DIS Veteran

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    I'd have a sit-down with her parents and then have them talk with her. Mentioning several times that she expects a car from you when she turns 16 is rude and unreasonable. I'm sure she's a nice girl, but she needs to stop seeing Grandma as an open purse, and start seeing her as a person with a lot of love to give.
     
  21. Katy Belle

    Katy Belle DIS Veteran

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    My parents had me when they were 43, so they are now 85 and living on Social Security.Their Grand children range in age from 10-30. They have 9 Grand Children and 7 Great Grandchildren, 5 of which were just added through marriage this year!
    They spend $30 per Grand Child and $30 for each of their children and spouses. They are only spending about $5 per Great Grandchild this year. They also buy each child and Grand Child a Hallmark Christmas Tree ornament, usually a 'series' that she keeps up with every year.

    Spend what you can afford.
     

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