What's Reasonable For Christmas?

Jill wants to know what a reasonable amount is to spend on gifts from Santa for Christmas. Dave offers some guidelines.

QUESTION: Jill in North Carolina wants to know what a reasonable amount is to spend on gifts from Santa for Christmas. Dave offers some guidelines.

ANSWER: The average last year was around $800. The average household income was around $50,000. If you make $25,000, then you would be half of average, and you should have as your guideline for your whole Christmas budget about half of the average, or about $400. If you make $200,000, you could go as high as four times that ($3,200) if you wanted to and still be "reasonable." Those are just the averages spent; that's not how much is spent on the kids. That's how much is spent.

I'm always of the opinion the adults can fend for themselves. In case of a budget crisis, we should only take care of the children. I'm not sure there's a budget crisis at your house. You didn't say that. But the point is, children usually get the lion's share of the spending—or should.

A family making $50,000 should spend around $800, and that's the entire Christmas budget. That's the average. Some spend more, some spend less. I'm not saying that's exactly right for you, but it gives you an idea of what reasonable looks like.