Mom hits back at criticism for only spending $123 on each of her children at Christmas


As the holiday season approaches, discussions about Christmas spending are gaining momentum. While many families embrace the tradition of lavish gift-giving, Samantha Mary, a 35-year-old mother from Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, has chosen a different path.

In the spirit of avoiding excess and instilling gratitude in her children, Samantha has decided to cap her spending at $123 (£100) for each of her two kids, Jack and nine-year-old stepdaughter Isabella.

Samantha’s budgeting strategy involves allocating $24 (£20) for stocking fillers, such as shower gels and scrunchies, and reserving the remaining $99 (£80) for the main presents.

The school teacher expressed her rationale for this decision, stating, “We thought about how much we wanted to spend. I felt £100 was a realistic figure.”

Her intention is clear: she wants her children to appreciate the value of their gifts and cultivate gratitude.

Concerned about the increasing commercialization of Christmas, Samantha emphasized the pressure to participate in trends like Christmas Eve boxes and the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon. She and her husband, Richard, aged 40, made a conscious choice to prioritize a more modest approach this year, opting for cost-effective options from Amazon and Primark over extravagant designer brands.

Isabella’s main gifts include a body warmer and a set of Lilo and Stitch pants and vests, while Jack is set to receive a railway set and animal puzzles from Santa. Samantha justified their decision by acknowledging the economic challenges faced by many families, stating, “We’re in a living cost crisis. Things cost more. We’re being conscious of what we spent.”

However, not everyone has embraced Samantha’s budget-friendly Christmas plan. After sharing her story online, she encountered criticism from fellow parents who were quick to express their disagreement. Samantha responded, “There were a lot of people against it. I have put essential items like shower gel in the stockings. Christmas is about so much more. It’s about what the children want as well.”


This was much harder to stick to £100 budget… the old they get the more things cost. However it was pretty close to budget! As well as what was in this video I just purchased a £6 learn to draw book and a £8 cross stitch set! #christmasonabudget #mumtok #relatablemumcontent #giftideas #giftsforkids

♬ original sound – Samantha Mary | Proud Mama

Samantha clarified that her preference lies in creating meaningful experiences with her family rather than solely focusing on material gifts. Even if she had the financial means to indulge in expensive presents, she believes the true essence of Christmas lies in shared moments and cherished memories. She cautioned against setting unrealistic expectations with extravagant spending, asserting, “If you spend a lot of money, that becomes an expectation.”

Reflecting on her own memories, Samantha emphasized the lasting impact of experiences over material possessions. “I have memories of the things we have done rather than the gifts. It’s about having that special day,” she shared. In a season often overshadowed by consumerism, Samantha’s deliberate approach serves as a reminder to prioritize the sentimental and heartfelt aspects of the holiday, fostering a sense of appreciation and joy within her family.

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