Our Other Sites

Subscribe to our newsletter

Reader Holiday Savings Tip: How to Prevent the Post-Holiday Toy Avalanche

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

211 Comments
HOT! Getting Toasty! Lukewarm Starting To Melt Ice Ice Baby
0.0 / 0 ratings

Holiday Savings Tip (sent in by reader, Charla)…

My holiday shopping stays in check by having a plan. I’ve found my biggest holiday over-indulgence was kids’ presents. Not only are kids just so fun to shop for, there are so many great deals year-round. I found that shopping the sales early led to a mountain of gifts and ultimately over-spending. Then a few years ago I heard a rhyme that completely changed how I shop for my kids. For the holidays, each kid receives:

[h2s_box width=”2″ style=”dashed” color=”#008000″]

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 12.44.29 PM
Something you want
Something you need
Something to wear
Something to read
[/h2s_box]

Additionally, Santa brings one gift. With this rhyme in mind, I plan my shopping and stick to my plan. Of course I still look for deals on these items, but it keeps all shopping in check (and prevents the post-holiday toy avalanche).

Note from Collin:

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments on this topic. Last year a reader emailed in with the following question and it generated lots of discussion…

How many gifts do you give your kids for Christmas? My husband thinks I give our kids too much. I give them about 15 each from us and they get big stuff from Santa. I also give about 6 gifts to the whole family like games. Do you think this is too much? I donโ€™t want to spoil my kids with stuff, but I want them to have a great Christmas!


* For more information on the Hip2Save Holiday Tips & Deals series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!


Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn


Join The Discussion

Comments 211

  1. Puchi

    My husband gave a lot of gifts for my son and for me too(even we agreed to we do only stocking presents). His family give a lots of gifts too. He said that how he grow up , so he wants to do the same. Fortunately we could afford to do. I’m originally from Japan and don’t cerebrate christmas so, I’m doing what my husband does.

  2. Trish

    I think if you have the money and can give your kids a big Christmas then go for it! As long as they are not spoiled all year, one day a year is fun! I however can’t afford nearly what I want for my son. I have to rely on family and friends and have also been blessed with strangers helping us out at Christmas the last couple of years but if I had the money for my son I would go a little crazy too since he doesn’t get toys all year like a lot of kids do.

  3. Julie

    It has always been important to us to teach our children to appreciate what they have and to give to others who have less. We have already begun talking about how we can give to others rather than what we want to get. My children are not deprived by any means- far from it. In fact, compared to most of the world, they are ridiculously spoiled. They have parents that love them, a comfortable house to live in, a warm bed to sleep in, clean clothes to wear, water to drink and plenty of food to eat. They have free access to books and computers and they go to the dentist and doctor regularly. They have dance and music lessons and they can ride bikes and swim when they like. They are very healthy and happy and most of all- they are blessed. There are so many gifts that we could give, but it would be just more stuff. Instead, what we hope to give them and show them through example are things like faith, peace, hope and gratitude. If giving them less means they will appreciate more, I cannot help but to think that this is the best gift of all. Each child will have one small and one medium size gift to open on Christmas morning. As a family gift we will go out for a dinner and afterwards will will be heading to the football stadium to see the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Denver Broncos game… and hopefully make some great family memories. GO DENVER!

    • Rebe

      I totally agree with you Julie

      • Vishnu

        Totally agree. Some of us are too blessed, may be even so because of couponing as we never pay retail,… But I love how u put it.

  4. Leah

    What a fun topic to read, I’ve always been curious about other peoples traditions.I’m probably the parent that goes overboard to most people. If i had to put a number it would be $200-300, but of course worth a whole lot more retail price thanks to H2S! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. emack3608

    I think that honestly “too much” is a totally personal decision. Every families needs & resources are different. A few years ago my family & I decided to no longer exchange gifts among the adults. I don’t have children but do have nieces & nephews. I always try communicate with the parents on what their child is needing & wanting. Also asking sizes, interests etc. It takes care of the guessing game. I also do something similar as the reader. When choosing gifts for the kids in my life I go with: something to wear, something for fun & something for learning (ie book,puzzle,craft).

  6. KP

    We give each kid one present from us and one from Santa. Then, they exchange gifts with each other. We tell the grandparents one gift too (at least, it is one bag or box of things they want). It has definitely cut down on the clutter of toys and hours of opening gifts.

    This year, I am clueless on what to do for my hubby. So, I am donating to a charity in his name. He loves cycling, so I am helping purchase a bike through this charity so another man can get to work on a bike. Win, win!!

  7. Lucy

    “I found that shopping the sales early led to a mountain of gifts and ultimately over-spending.”

    This quote is so true! My son was 15 months old last year at xmas and he’s our first kid so I got so excited about buying him presents and went overboard by all the sales. I started shopping in September! This year I have decided to limit myself to only buying him 3 presents (like the wise men) and filling his stocking. It’s so hard to resist the temptation but I have a good list and want to stick with it.

  8. Jessica

    Well I love to give my 5 kids presents I only wish I could give them so much more but if you have the money then I don’t see anything wrong with going all out for your kids . I really don’t have a certain amount of presents I give my kids every year but I try my hardest to get them as much as we can afford . My kids are well behaved and not spoiled and bring home great grades all the time so they truly deserve everything me and my husband can give them . My kids would be happy with a new ball so they don’t need expensive gifts . As long as the kids are happy on Christmas then that’s the best gift I can get .

  9. marlene

    I dont consider my kids spoiled but i give them 2 presents 1 from santa i have 3. Thiz yr we decided to only spend the money we saved in our piggy bank lol no money on credit cards like we usually do. We also decided no to go all out on christmas gifts but get a season pass to universal studios and make many memories there

  10. Amy

    I give my boys want they want, why because I never pay for any of it, and get all of it free. We also buys a truckload of gifts and donated for toys for tots and salvation army. My 6 year old this year is getting an ipad and a dirt bike, and other gifts. My 13 year old will get an Iphone 6, a home theater system and games, and a few gifts for his birthday right after Christmas.

    • cathycampo

      how do you give a boy an ipad or bike for free? Where is a home theater system available for free that you get for your boy? Other readers of hip2save would like to learn of your deals.

      • susie

        My thoughts exactly cathy..I am curious also….

  11. Hannah

    I start shopping in June, because that’s when the store at which I work has a big annual sale, but I only buy bigger things there that I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise (a Thomas the train set, for example). I’ve found that what I have to watch the most is not buying things that I think are really cool but things my son really likes. I also try to combine his favorites so I’m not getting one of everything. For example, he really likes building blocks and Mickey Mouse, so this year I got him some Mickey blocks! I don’t feel like he’s losing the meaning of family and charity, though, because we donate various items from our home year round, and we have a lot of traditions together (especially during the holidays). I think as long as you’re balancing out gifts with meaningful activities and such, your kids will be safe from the spoiling. It’s not the items but the attitudes of those involved that spoil.

  12. Holly K

    If each family answers these questions first:
    Have I/we put gifts on a credit card or spent what I/we can afford?
    Do I/we have college funds/emergency funds/retirement funds started?
    Are we teaching the kids to be selfish and think only of what they want, or do we also help others less fortunate?

    Once you are satisfied with the answers to those questions, do what is right for your family, whether that means one gift or 20.

    • Christi S

      I LOVE this Holly! So true! Last year we were working our way to becoming credit card debt free so Christmas was sparse. We paid everything off this year and I have been buying presents since then at garage sales and with Collin’s deals she highlights. It feel like SO much, but I’ve spent a tiny amount.

  13. Kathy P

    We try hard to keep the focus on Christ. Since He received three gifts to celebrate His birth, our children each receive three gifts from us and three gifts from Santa. Even the man in the red suit worships Christ the King.

    We also set a budget for us and we tell Santa that he is on a budget as well. When it comes to the “big ticket items”, well those come from us. We want our children to understand that we work hard to provide them with nice things, and that being good isn’t all there is to life…it’s also hard work that pays off.

  14. terri

    It’s not the number of gifts that’s important. You can give 50 gifts if you can afford it, your kid deserves it and many are just little things he/she would like that are cute things to have. We always go overboard and present opening time takes about 4-5 hours and I love it and wouldn’t change a thing.

  15. carrie

    I’m trying to understand spending so much, especially at Christmas. I know income levels vary and what is a lot for one can be nothing to another. I understand kids can be grateful even if they get a lot. But how do the kids and parents who get and spend so much act towards others who don’t have as much. Do they boast about having things? I have seen kids/families who do and have seen those who don’t. And what does everyone do with all those gifts? If they are all being used that makes sense. I understand it’s fun, but getting, using only for a little while, donating, and getting more seems wasteful to me. Just trying to understand.

  16. Guest

    Just remember to keep Christ in Christmas and you’ll be good! โค๏ธ The gifts aren’t important and the kids will forget all about half of them a month later. Just remember the REAL meaning of Christmas!

    • Nichole

      Not everyone is religious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas for our family is spending time together, giving back to those less fortunate, and making memories together.

      • Guest

        Actually no it’s not! It’s about Christ! Religious or not, that’s the true meaning..

        • Nichole

          That’s the true meaning for YOUR family. I assure you it’s not for our family full of atheists ๐Ÿ˜‰ Spending time together with family, making memories, giving back, and exchanging gifts is the meaning for us. Everyone celebrates differently and there is no right or wrong way, even if you think there is.

          • Guest

            Your poor children

            • Nichole

              LOL, oh yes…my poor children. It’s such a shame that we celebrate Christmas differently than good Christians like yourself. Maybe try being a little less judgmental and worry about yourself ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a nice day!

            • Guest

              Sweetheart, your children are missing out on the greatest gift of all and that’s Jesus Christ! You’re not just “celebrating differently than me”, your ignoring the true meaning of Christmas, religious or not. Prayers for you and your family!

            • Susan

              Nichole,
              I couldn’t agree with you more! For my family too, it’s about spending time together. We too are a family of agnostics and atheists. We’re all entitled to our own opinions…I don’t judge people because they ARE religious, and I can’t stand people who judge me…especially ones who do it in the name of religion! If you consider yourself a “good” Christian, how can you be so judgmental?

            • Hannah

              Okay, people. If you all would like to continue your debate elsewhere, please feel free, but this is hardly the proper forum. And for the record (before you start yelling at me with angry comments), I am a Christian, and I agree that Christ is the center and purpose of Christmas. But the fact that a holiday has evolved into something that everyone can enjoy doesn’t really seem like a fact to criticize, does it? And who are we converting by telling them they are raising their children in a bad environment? Let’s practice a little love and acceptance Christ-style this Christmas.

            • Nichole

              Exactly Susan! Many people don’t even know what our beliefs are because we don’t PUSH them on others or even talk about them most of the time! It’s extremely hypocritical for those who claim to be “Christian” to pass judgement on my family or anyone else for celebrating Christmas in a different way. As far as the “guest” who can’t even volunteer their name…maybe try praying for those in need (i.e. homeless, starving children,etc.) or those who believe. You don’t know the first thing about myself, or my family.

  17. maggie

    Only Santa gives gifts at our house, and they are unwrapped ๐Ÿ™‚ We do have big stockings but they always have a new toothbrush, books,maybe a movie, candy and little things. I try to get each kid one bigger thing ( but not big like an ipad, probably around $30). Now that I have teenagers I put gift cards in their stockings bought with credit card points so they can pick out something on their own.

  18. Believer in Christ

    I understand everyone has different beliefs. When it comes to Christmas, Christ is in Christmas. There is no way to change that. That is how the English language spells it…Christmas. So, as a believer in the man who died on the Cross and died for our sins, Happy Birthday Jesus and Merry Christmas!

    • Kristen

      CAN I LIKE THIS A THOUSAND TIMES PLEASE??! I’m sick of hearing “not everyone is religious”.. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. If you believe it or not, it’s still the truth!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

OOPS! Be sure to login or register to access this feature. It's FREE!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!



Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?