Holiday Gift Giving: When You Have Multiple Kids

We get a lot of questions around gift giving for the holidays. How do we possibly afford four kids? Do we spend the same amount on all of them? Is it all from Santa? I mean, the oldest doesn’t possibly still “believe”.

Let me answer some of the key questions and write about what has worked for us.


Yes, we do Santa. However, we have always lived under the Santa brings one gift, and it’s not the biggest one, mentality. Then he fills the stockings. Mommy and Daddy do the rest. The oldest does not still believe (he’s 11) and wants to help us put the gifts out now. Which is actually helpful. We wrap them in Santa paper (which must NOT be the normal paper you use) and then just drop a huge velvet bag with all of them in front of the tree.

Big Gifts:

We have found a couple ways to navigate big gifts. Since the kids know that Santa doesn’t bring the big gift, it makes it a bit easier. We start looking a couple months in advance on Marketplace or yard sale sites. For example, the girls wanted a new doll house this year. We ended up finding one in nearly new condition on Marketplace for half the price. We then will give that as a combined gift for both girls. They will each get a new doll, of their own, to use with it. Not to mention, this saves us the time and frustration of putting a house together on Christmas Eve!

holiday gift
Marketplace find for half the price and already put together!


Santa fills a stocking for each kid, and this is a long-standing family tradition. We have mastered this one! Around November, we stop buying the basics unless they are absolutely needed. That means hold off on the dinosaur toothbrush and unicorn toothpaste. Don’t get the extra hair ties or body spray just yet. The basics make great stocking stuffers. It’s stuff they need and allows them to feel like they are opening more gifts. Yup, we wrap them all! Even the Chapstick. Then we throw in a few of their favorite candy items and some fluffy socks or fun items that can be found at value stores.

The stockings stuffed with all the wrapped basics a kid could ever need.


Well, this one obviously depends on your financial situation, but we do get asked a lot of questions here. The main one is, “do we spend the same amount on all of them?”. My answer is no BUT we do get them the same number of gifts. The older kids tend to be more expensive. Their shoes cost more, or they want electronics and so on. The key is getting the same number of presents. They know if it’s not equal. Trust me, they learn to count them.

Hiding and Wrapping:

Hiding gifts gets very tricky when you start adding kids to the mix. The older ones start snooping somewhere around eight. At least ours did. If we don’t use a friend’s house, we find that keeping them in big boxes until you are ready wrap is the best method. We open the deliveries, combine them into a big box, and then tape it back up and put it in a closet. That way they would have to do damage to open it and peek. We usually have a closet full of large boxes by the time we are ready to wrap. Just make sure you keep the Santa gifts in a super special hiding spot and away from the others. Our kids haven’t caught on to two hiding locations yet.

That sums up most of what we do with gifts. Some years are easier than others. Every year we say we aren’t going overboard and somehow, we do. Even if it’s little stuff, used stuff, or dollar stuff, they enjoy it all. They’re kids.

Check out this post on decorating for the holidays.

-Kristy M., Mommy to Many

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