Our overall Christmas budget for the year is $2,380. This may seem insanely high (it is!), but there's a lot included here:
- $605 - Christmas gifts. We buy for a very limited number of adults, so this also includes our giving tree gifts, as well as Christmas cards.
- $100 - Our contribution for the holiday festivities. We fly, so I am not able to bring food & wine, as I normally would contribute. Instead, I give my mom money to offset her costs.
- $25 - a nanny bonus. We've really struggled with our nanny this year. In previous years, we've gone to $500, so this is very reflective of our satisfaction with our nanny. :-(. I may go higher, should things improve.
- $150 - a car rental while we're at my parents house, but mostly for our trip to our vacation house while we're there.
- $200 - beach house expenses. There are always expenses associated with a trip to the vacation house. Pantry stock up, toilet paper, etc.
- $1300 - flights for four from San Francisco to Portland.
The above was our initial budget. In the end, there are always tweaks based on how much I really spend, etc. We ended up using frequent flier miles for the flights, and paying just $44.80 for the taxes, for the tickets. The car rental, on the other hand, was over $100 more than expected. Lesson learned!
Now that I'm mostly done with my shopping & preparations, I'm expecting to spend around $1350-$1400. The reason for this was the flights, of course, which absorbed some other areas of overage. I was able to donate more to various charities (food pantry, toy drive, etc) as well as pick up additional gifts for my disabled aunt. I purchased a few extra gift cards that my mom will hand out throughout the year. (Giving them to her all at once isn't a good option).
So, what kind of gifts do we give for that budget? Well, let me break it down into a bit more specificity. Some of the non immediate family gifts are shared with my sister, so if the dollar values look strange, that is likely why.
- For my husband - this year, we agreed not to buy gifts. I did buy him $20 worth of local jam. He loves jam on his bread in the morning, and I'm not diligent enough to make my own. ;-)
- For my older nephew - I bought him a wifi booster, so he can do homework in his room with. I also got him a gift card. Total spent = $47.
- For my younger nephew - I got him a gift card & a lego set. Total spent = $40.
- For my aunt - I spent the most on her this year, as she is really struggling, and has very little support system outside of my family. I got her $100 of gift cards, plus socks & a new mixer. Total spent = $132.
- For Sam - he got an iPod (no gaming/texting, just the ability to listen to music), and a gift card for a trip to the movies. (A rare treat at our house). Total spent = $115.
- For Nick - he got a suitcase (his choice :-)), and a movies gift card. Total spent = $115.
- For my dad - this is rare, we don't typically purchase for parents, but my sister found a great gift & asked if I would be interested in going in with her. It's a beer growler/chiller of some sort. Total spent = $25.
- For my step grandfather - again, we normally don't buy for adults, but he is all alone in the world & now that my grandmother is gone, won't have anyone to purchase gifts for him. We bought him ingredients to make his favorite martini & a deck of cards. Total spent = $17.
- For the daughters of my best friend - I got them scarves & gloves. I may add in a small gift card for each of them. Total spent = $32 (together)
- Stocking gifts - The four kids in our family (my two + my sister's two) get stockings. Each family (my family, my sister's family & my parents) contribute two stocking items for each child. We try to keep the dollar value low, while still getting things people want. This is getting more challenging as the boys get older, so we may abandon this next year & opt for something else. For this year, I ended up with books, "tall socks - the cool Nike kind", and gift cards. Total spent = $76.
That's it for us! As per our usual policy for the holiday, any money leftover in our holiday fund at the end of the year will be donated to a food pantry. It's a big incentive for me to save money! This year, i was also able to apply a few random gift cards & Amazon credits to my purchases, as well as find discounted gift cards, etc. Every dollar helps. What about you? I'd love to hear about your budget, as well as what kind of gifts you typically purchase.