It’s that dreaded time of year again, when your little darlings who could do no wrong (ahem) turn into money grabbing, materialistic goblins you barely recognise.

As they sit and list (and list) all the ‘must have’ gifts that they simply couldn’t live without (despite most of the gifts from last Christmas ending up in the charity shop or on eBay) a sense of panic overwhelms you- how much is Christmas going to cost?

We’ve looked at the stuff that usually sells well at Christmas, and priced up what they could set you back…

Console + games = £200 – £500
Laptop – £100- £300
Tablets- £400
Smart Phones- £400
Handheld Games – £150
eReaders- £70
Bike- 100

All of this would amount to a whopping £1920!

What Should You Spend On Your Kids?

But before you start working fourteen hour days, what should you be spending on your kids this Christmas?

This all depends on your budget. By deciding what you can afford early on, parents can manage their money more affectively. What’s more, research by Family Action found that when asked to rank the 3 most important aspects of Christmas from a choice of ten, spending time with family emerged as the first priority.

It’s all well and good to say that, but it’s another thing to feel like we’re denying our kids something they’d really want. Think about last Christmas. Are the kids still using the gifts they received?

It’s great to have plenty of stuff under the tree, waiting to be opened but when the wrapping’s been pulled off, what then? Either gifts have been returned for not being quite right, too small or too big, or have been used a few times, then put in a cupboard somewhere.

With this in mind, perhaps it’s worth finding out what your kids want more than any other present.

Kids Christmas Stocking Filler Ideas

So you know what they really can’t live without this Christmas, here’s some stocking filler ideas to give them more gifts on less money.

  • Chocolate– Buy a multipack of chocolates and wrap each individually so they have more to open
  • Baking Accessories– then put some time aside to bake together
  • Crayons & Paper– release their inner Picasso
  • Craft Accessories– to keep them entertained (but probably not quiet) over Christmas
  • Shower Gels– for their yearly bath come January!
  • DVDs– Can be bought from August- September in sales
  • Stationery– Some really funky designs from stores like WH Smith and Paperchase
  • Board Games– for traditional family fun (if you’re still talking)

Retro Stocking Filler Ideas For Kids

Alternatively, you can go retro, with the following stocking filler ideas:

  • Yoyos– Who doesn’t love a yoyo? Teach your kids the loop the loop, the double or nothing or the reverse trapeze! (We didn’t know what those moves were til we Googled them)
  • Rubiks Cube– Pit yourself against a 6 year old and see who wins
  • Etch a Sketch– contain your child’s creativity and see what they can draw
  • Super Soaker– How long before its confiscated?
  • Marbles– Play ringer, boss out, poison or chasies (no, we haven’t made this up- click here) with your marbles which cost less than £2
  • Space Hopper– factor in time for a trip to A&E…
  • Lego– an old favourite which still makes Christmas lists today.

Budgeting Tips

  • Start buying smaller items in August and September, making use of the sales between then and December.
  • Speak to family members- can they chip in on a bigger item?
  • For electronics, could you buy one second hand? Stores such as eBayPreloved  and RedCross have a great range of second hand electricals.’

Before you start to panic about Christmas and what it may mean for your bank account, there are a few things you can do to save the cost of Christmas. Ask your kids which present they couldn’t live without for Christmas, then buy smaller items to fill their stockings. Use sales to grab a bargain and look at second hand options for electrical items.

How much are you planning on spending on your kids this Christmas?