Did Stocking Stuffers Blow Your Holiday Budget?

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Did Stocking Stuffers Blow Your Holiday Budget?

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Did Stocking Stuffers Blow Your Holiday Budget?
When I was a kid, we didn't have a fireplace, or a mantle to hang stockings from. Of course I saw this phenomenon on TV, but didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it since it was a holiday tradition that was completely lost on me.

When Christmas time arrived after purchasing our first home, my wife bought stockings and hung them on the mantle of our wood-burning fireplace. Because I had never participated in the stuffing of a stocking before, I went about the month of December assuming they were simply decorations. As we were discussing gift giving one evening she mentioned still needing to get me stocking stuffers. Not realizing until this point that there was a stocking stuffer obligation, I was completely unprepared. 

So, I sneakily put into hers a present or two that were small in size.

We added stockings for our two kids as they entered our lives, but I always followed Vonnie's lead when it came to filling them. Well, to be honest, I simply never brought it up because I always thought we spent enough on "normal" presents such that there really wasn't a need for stocking stuffers. I was going with the "ostrich approach," thinking if I stuck my head in the ground and ignored it, then she would magically forget about it.

Surprising how THAT never panned out, isn't it?

Even after I'd accepted that they had to be accounted for in the Christmas spending budget, we've never had quite the same viewpoint on how much is enough when it comes to stocking stuffers. Each year there seemed to be that, "Oh no!  Christmas is coming up and we don't have enough things for the kids' stockings!" emergency which would cause a panicked free-for-all run to Wal-Mart. Many times when a guy is in a hurry, the budget gets completely tossed out the window and we just do whatever it takes to complete the task.

You'd think that after this many years I would have learned.

Back in late November I exchanged comments in a blog post with some other Community members who have experienced a very similar problem. We promised each other that'd we'd do better this year. We committed to not let stocking stuffers blow our budget. 

I offered to write this post, and suggested that we share how we did in the comments section.

So, friends, how did you do?  I'll go first . . .

Related Links:

Oh Yay, the Holidays are Coming

Preparing for the Holidays; Time Capsule Style

The Hangover

Travis Pizel, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc.  Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • Karie - If you are going to go with gift cards then wrapping them in a box is the way to go. Those suckers take up no room at all! In this case size really matters! I must confess we are pretty strict about soda and we all love it so Christmas and birthdays always include one. I have a minimalist kid too (my daughter - UGGG They are SOOOOO Hard to buy for!!!)

  • Thanks for sharing how you did, Karie - I like the Axe deodorant or body spray idea!  My son is a teenager, and not only NEEDS it, but WANTS it.  Birthdays around Christmas are a killer....mine is actually 12/28 and my wife loves to make a huge deal out of Birthdays.  When I was a kid I hated the fact that people would give me combined Christmas/Birthday gifts.  Now, I tell my wife we need to combine Christmas/Birthday celebrations.  No need to spend the $ on doing both separately!  Thanks again for your comment - I think we've all picked up some great ideas for next year!

  • Great perspective, kimmer5000 - "These are the traditions that are the colored threads in the fabric of your kids lives."  The idea of stocking stuffers as gotten a huge positive boost this year with our ability to have the kids love what they got, AND the fact that we planned ahead and made it relatively inexpensive.  :)

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