My Son’s Christmas List Revealed – How Much Do You Spend on Kids For Christmas?


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I remember the first day back to school as a kid getting together with my friends and telling each other what we got for Christmas. Young children don’t have a firm grasp on how much their presents cost, but to me it appeared most kids got relatively the same amount of gifts, except for that one kid that always seemed to get the mother load.

My wife and I are about to pull the trigger on the list we’ve put together for our fourteen year old son. He’s a soft spoken kind of kid, never showing any real excitement or disappointment about anything. Each year I wonder what his true feelings are regarding his presents. Being a teenager, he of course won’t tell us, so it’s almost impossible to figure out how we compare to what other parents give their teenager.

What I thought I’d do is share what we plan to get for our son here, and if you feel comfortable, have you share how much you spend on gifts for your children. So, without further delay, I present to you The List:

  • Steam Gift Card: Steam is a website where my son purchases online games. $50
  • Battlefield 4 Game: He wants the version for his PC. $60
  • Skull Candy Earbuds: He had a pair that he loved, but they wore out. $35
  • PC Wifi adapter: We currently have a very long ethernet cable snaking up our stairs. $35
  • Baseball Glove: His glove tore at the end of the season, and wants to get a new one broke in a little before spring tryouts: $80
  • Stocking Stuffers: Itunes Gift Card ($20), Various boxes of candy ($10) = $30

Grand Total: $290

I’m not at all that concerned about where we compare with other parents, nor would I change anything. What we give our son is what we think is appropriate and fits within our budget.Β  I just thought it would be interesting to share our information, and compare between adults what we spend on our kids for Christmas.

So, what do you think of my son’s potential gift list? How much do you spend on your kids?Β  If you don’t have kids, how much do you think you would spend if you did?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Hmmm, interesting question. I never had actual kids, but I do have that big kid I live with…oh yeah, he’s a kid!

    It’s so strange how wish lists have changed since I was a kid. We wanted bikes, roller skates, a pogo stick…remember those?…stuff you used outside.

    I suppose if I could comment on your list, I might trade in the WiFi adaptor (seems like an adult gift) for something that the family can do together. Like an actual board game (maybe money related?!?!?!) or a couple of rockhounding books so the family can take a day trip, get out and look for cool rocks. Might get a geology lesson in there, too!

    Who knows he might discover something he likes besides baseball and computer stuff!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane πŸ™‚

  • Sounds like a list of stuff that he will enjoy but that will also be useful! I suspect that my mom used to spend a similar amount on my brother and I when we were kids. I think I’d probably start out when my future children are babies giving them very little, and then settle around $300 in teenagehood.

  • My son is 11. This is what he’s getting so far:

    Lego Minecraft Village $37.40
    Lego Minecraft The Nether $34.99
    Lego Minecraft Original $48.96
    Percy Jackson Books (2) $21.99

    His stocking will include a Mockingjay keychain $8.99, and 3 tickets to BrickFest $40.95

    So far- $193.28

    I am feeling a little smug, because those Lego sets are selling for up to $60 each now, if you can get them. They went from brand new to collectible in about a month. I don’t think my son even has any idea that such a thing EXISTS, so Santa really is bringing the magic this year by combining his two most favorite things.
    2 of those Brickfest tickets are for my husband and I, but if my son wasn’t such a Lego-freak, we wouldn’t be going. It’s in the spring, so it’ll be a gift to remember Christmas by later.
    The Percy Jackson books are the last 2 in the series he’s currently reading.
    I feel like a need one or two more gifts to complete, but I can’t think of what they might be right now. Of course, we just spent $100 on basketball shoes the other day……
    I have 5 grown children, and 4 of them live in other states. We get together after Christmas and do a Pollyanna or a white elephant exchange. One daughter lives close to us, and we exchange with her because she spends Christmas with us. I spend somewhere between $50 – $100, depending on various factors. This year, it will probably be a little over $100.
    sorry to take over your whole comment section! πŸ™‚

  • We’re trying to keep things sorta low key this year, as we are expecting our second child at the beginning of January, and my 2.5 year old doesn’t really present a “list” or wants yet. He’s a pretty content kid, and gets lots from family members too, and we don’t want to overwhelm him! That said, we buy him very little “stuff” during the year, besides his birthday, so I try to decide on one “big” thing that he will get for his birthday and for Christmas, and then start looking around for deals.

    This year the “big” gift will be a train table. My husband found an amazing deal on a barely used train table and tons of Thomas the Tank Engine trains for $100! A new table would have been more than $100, and the Thomas trains are exorbitant when purchased new, so this was a great find. He is also getting an easel, which we also found lightly used for $20, some new cozy jammies (a definite need-this boy just keeps growing!) and a few new books (he LOVES reading). I think all told, we’re around $160 for all of this, due to bargain hunting. We also spread out the cost over a few months, so it barely felt like a ding in the budget. I imagine as he grows bigger and has pricier desires, the budget may have to increase, but for now, I think he’ll be thrilled with these gifts, which is all that matters πŸ™‚ My husband and I can’t wait to see his face on Christmas morning!

  • I remember growing up that I and my brothers got Christmas gifts in the range of $5. We then typically got a family gift that was quite a bit more. My wife asked me what I thought of getting our son, who is 12, a small air hockey game. She said Target had one for $18 and our son’s eyes lit up big when he saw it. Realizing that it probably won’t last more than a few months, it still sounded good to me. We will be getting off cheap. $5 when I was 12 is now worth $33.56.

  • @Ree – great suggestion regarding a game that the family can do together! He actually really likes playing games and I know he would love that. As for the wireless adapter…the reason it is on his list is because we currently have a 50ft ethernet cord running up our stairs and into his room to his computer he purchased recently. We all constantly stumble and trip over the thing…and he (well all of us) would like it to go away. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • @Daisy – It’s true that when they are VERY young gifts can be inexpensive and small…although you may find as they grow into the toddler age that they are pretty large and expensive as well. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

  • @Cathie – your son sounds a lot like mine when he was eleven..legos where his world. He also liked creating stop motion videos using his Star Wars Legos and a web cam connected to the computer…it was awesome. I think it’s awesome that you are planning to attend Brickfest with your son, that will be a great experience and memory for all of you. Thanks for sharing so much detail about your gift giving, I was hoping for someone to do just that!

  • @psychsarah – that is a GREAT deal on Thomas the Train toys…I know those can get really expensive really fast. I remember getting my son a train table when he was about that age (maybe a year older or so)…he LOVED it, and I’m sure your son will to. Thanks for sharing!

  • @Bryce – I like the idea of a family gift….when I was a kid I remember getting a video game system as a family gift. We typically give things like movies as family gifts because we all watch them. Thanks for dropping by, Bryce!

  • I’d probably spend that money on my son if he was 14 depending on his attitude. in other words, as long as he wasn’t demanding of these gifts. Maybe reduce the Steam gift card to $25 and apply the $25 to other outdoor (not tech) stuff that will get him to be active while still having access to some Steam games.

    The Warrior

  • I think it is great you mixed daily items that wore out but you know heÒ€ℒll use intensely, the voucher to choose any game he wants, and stuff you know he wants.
    I used to get one or two gifts at most from my parents, and they almost never asked, nor had a good idea of what we kids liked so it was usually a miss. Now I get money, guess they got tired of guessing.

  • If your son is a serious gamer (as he likes battlefield on pc) he probably won’t like the wireless internet. Wifi increases the lag (delay) to the game servers which makes it easier for opponents to win against you. The quickest and best connection is wired. My $0.02

  • @The Warrior – he’s definitely not demanding, nor does he display any feelings of entitlement. He’s never been anything but grateful for what he gets…it’s a good kid that way. πŸ™‚ I like your idea of reducing the gift card and looking for something more of an “outdoors” or “together” present – thanks for the thoughts!

  • @pauline – we do ask him for a list of things he wants…but as he’s gotten older the list as gotten really short – which is sort of surprising. We have to come up with ideas, but that’s OK, it makes it more of a surprise. I always figure I should be involved in my son’s life enough to know what he likes, wants, and needs. Hope I’m guessing right… πŸ™‚

  • @Dan – I thought about that as well…however we have a laptop as well as my work laptop that I bring home, and I’m able to get download speeds of just over 30mps on both of them which is the speed we’re paying for. I guess we’ll find out…if he decides the lag is too much he may end up just keeping the cable. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the warning!

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