I know. Didn't I just post Advent Conspiracy, aren't I always going on and on about how less is more?
Our Christmas is fairly small this year (well, this is about average for us, actually). I think the kids do better with fewer toys. Two years ago, Mr R's school "adopted" us. They gave us a gift certificate to buy gifts and then called me at home to let me know they had too much stuff in their donation room. When I arrived to pick out a few things, the workers packed my van for me with everything they could find.
But the kids weren't happier (ok, they were for half an hour on Christmas morning, LOL!) By the time we had to move in June, most of the toys were broken. Another pile was donated - toys that were always on the floor but never actually played with. The toys the children love - like these - we hang onto for years and pass down. Almost none of the super giant toy-filled Christmas things are still around.
And so we've budgeted about $25-30 per kid. A shockingly low amount for some, amazingly extravagant for others, just right for us. (Doesn't include stocking stuffers.)
Here's my report of the day's shopping.
Toys R Us was packed, but not out of stock. The parking lot was crazier than the store, and the checkout line stretched back behind the Baby Department. Still, I got everything I went for and people were polite. Total spent on Christmas gifts: $52 (I got some socks for X Man, since they were half off, also.)
Mardel's was virtually a ghost town. The employees were nice, though.
Target wasn't bad, either. Again, found everything I wanted. Spent $45.
Stopped at Walgreens, and got some Webkinz on a buy one, get one free sale. 2/$6.99 - and they are also selling Crayola 64 ct. crayons for .99 this weekend with the store ad.
I hit those early in the morning. We decided to take the kids to the mall, since Sears was having a sale on kid jeans and husband dear needed a tool.
The mall was a total bust. One reason I wanted to go is because the mall is usually a magical place this time of year. Santa, lights, music, decorations... the mall we went to didn't bother with any of those things. There were a few garlands on the ceiling, but that was it. The retailers, too, were having lots of sales but not much Christmas spirit. Sears was out of the pants (or maybe they weren't, there wasn't anyone around to help.) They didn't carry the tool husband needed (he can order it online - and pay shipping.)
We walked the mall, but there weren't any free samples, interesting demonstrations, or kid friendly stores. We finished up with a trip to KB Toys who refused to let us into the store. They have a strict policy against strollers, it seems, and we weren't about to carry two children around the place. They lost business because of a stupid decision - what if someone shows up in a wheelchair?
Still shaking my head actually - a toy store that doesn't welcome babies?
We ended up at Target again, the kids spent their allowance, and now we're home. My conclusion - Black Friday is overblown.
Then again, we pretty much nixed any electronic gadgets so I avoided Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. as well as Wal-Mart. Apparently, in some places a good deal trumped everything else.
Here's my list of kids' gifts where I'll find it and the kids won't. I'm pretty much done except for stockings. I have never been "done" shopping in November before, either! I totally get the Black Friday madness, now! We're saving up this year for a special project, and husband dear is planning to work straight through until Christmas week to earn extra money. This is probably the only shopping day I have left!
1. R- Suction cup bow and arrows $10
2. R- Skateboard $10
3. R- Star Wars
4. P - Martian Matters craft set - $15
5. P -Bakugan starter set - $10
6. E - Holiday Ballerina Barbie $5
7. E - Webkinz, BOGO 2/$7
8. E- Crayola 64 ct. crayons $1
9. S - Hot Wheels Racing Ramp $10
10. S - Nerf dart guns (2) $13
11. V - Ikea pots and pans set $10
12. V - McDonald's Electronic cash register - $15
13. C - Aquadoodle wall mat - $7.50
14. C - Fisher Price Dr. kit - $5
15. C - Barn Animals in a barrel - $5
16. X - Ikea farm animals - $15
Yes, a lot of things were Made in China, which I hate, but what can I do? (Oh right. This.) I'm hoping that with heightened awareness we won't have any recall problems.
I still need to get one more thing for Miss E and I want to get some MegaBlocks for X.