How to balance your Christmas List

Every family has guidelines on giving at Christmas and it can vary so much from one household to the next.  It can even vary from one year to the next.  I’ve learned a few ways to balance your Christmas list and I’d love to share them with you! I’m not here to set any sort of standard on what is the best amount to give to your kids at Christmas.  Find what works for you, what is reasonable for your family and the only thing I would suggest is to stay within your means.  I do feel strongly that Christmas shouldn’t break the bank and put us in a bad financial position.

We’ve always tried to be really fair with our kids.  We also try to give gifts that make sense for them and not get too caught up in a popular trend.  There will be a lot of kids that get more than our kids at Christmas but there will also be a lot of kids that get alot less.  A lesson we’ve worked hard to teach the kids.

The Suggestion List |

aka a Christmas wish list that has no guarantees or promises. Click here for a FREE printable to help your kiddos organize all their “suggestions”

For as long as I can remember, or atleast from the time our kids were old enough to write or give a list, I’ve asked them for their Christmas wish list early in November.  We’ve made it very clear to them that they can ask for whatever they want but there would never be a guarantee that they would get it.  They were always told to be reasonable, not greedy, and Santa will not be making sure every item is crossed off.  (Nor will we be scouring shops on Dec 24 looking for that one item they “reaaaaaallly” wanted).

There was that one year when our eldest was a toddler and she really wanted the red Teletubby. Do you remember when they were all the craze? what even was that?  or was it Tickle me Elmo?  Anyways, I’m pretty sure every toddler on the planet wanted that toy.  It was all over the news, and people were paying ridiculous prices to secure their childs wish list.  Yeah, no thank you.

Anyways, I digress.  They give us their list, we decide what is reasonable, and we (Dion and I) start shopping.  One of our favourite date nights this time of year is grabbing a coffee and going out Christmas shopping.  We’re both big gift givers so its a fun tradition we love to do!

Keep an organized List |

So my best gift giving mom hack is my list.  I keep a list in my notes on my phone (locked off course) I put each kids name, what we’ve decided we will be getting them, and the amount of each item.  I’m big into being fair.  I not only track the dollar value of what we’ve spent on each child but also the amount of gifts.  Maybe a bit over the top but trust me on Christmas morning it all pays off.

So I keep this running tally of what we’ve spent and then if for some reason someone has maxed out in dollar value but they have less actual gifts, I will literally buy a couple inexpensive things from the dollar store to wrap under the tree just so the amount of gifts is the same.  I do the same for the stockings. dollar value and amount.  For example, Lets say Shayna is maxed out on dollar value but Evan has an extra gift.  I might even double up a gift just so the amount of presents under the tree is the same.  Trust me…kids count everything….well atleast mine do!

Categories |

Sometimes there are just so many great ideas and things you’d love to give your kids but reality is you just cant.  What has really helped me over the years is to have gift categories.  We keep this pretty standard year to year and it makes deciding what to get them way easier!

One Main item | A pair of new Pajamas | A Nice new outfit  | A few less expensive thoughtful items

And then off course – Stocking Stuffers

Time and Budget |

My last suggestion is to try and spread out your gift giving over a few pay periods and try to budget.  As I mentioned before, I don’t think its wise to “go broke” over Christmas gift giving.  Maybe this means budgeting at the start of the year and putting aside money every month or even the few months leading up to Christmas.  You’ll be able to sort out what works best for your financial situation but I guarantee that if you plan in advance, it will make gift giving easier and more enjoyable.  We’ve done this both ways (the broke way and the budgeted way) and trust me, the balanced/budgeted method helps everyone sleep better at night HA!


Happy Shopping!

I hope this helps you stay organized and enjoy the giving side of this season.

Until next time,






  1. November 27, 2018 / 1:22 am

    Love this organized approach, it can get so crazy trying to keep track and stay on budget for gifts!!

  2. November 27, 2018 / 2:59 am

    These are some great tips! Especially when it comes to managing your time – I always make a list, but never categorize. Now I am going to do that as well 🙂

  3. joy abou zeid
    November 27, 2018 / 2:24 pm

    Very nice and organized approach, thanks for sharing xx

  4. Christa
    November 28, 2018 / 12:38 am

    I love this! I’m a list maker and prioritizer, so this is absolutely perfect for me!

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