Dad who crowdfunded presents sparks debate about how much is too much to spend at Christmas

Marie Claire Dorking
A dad who crowdfunded his children’s Christmas presents has sparked a debate about Christmas spending [Photo: Getty]
A dad who crowdfunded his children’s Christmas presents has sparked a debate about Christmas spending [Photo: Getty]

A dad who started a crowdfunding appeal to help pay for Christmas presents for his children has sparked a debate about how much is too much to spend on Christmas gifts.

Ben Buckley, 32, launched the appeal after revealing that he and his wife were struggling to find the money for presents.

“I understand that this isn’t anything compared to others problems on hear [sic] and I feel awfull [sic] having to ask for this help,” he started his appeal.

The dad-of-five went on to say that his low paid job in a warehouse “doing between 45 to 60 hours a week” is normally just enough to get by.

But after his wife, Kirsty, fell pregnant with their new baby Jessica, he had to take time off to look after her during a difficult pregnancy.

After finding out he was to be paid less than he expected, Ben has been left feeling anxious about how he is going to afford Christmas.

“I’m now in a huge panic about Christmas and have no clue how we are going to provide our kids with a Christmas at all,” he wrote.

“This should be a happy time for us all but under the surface of it all for me and my partner it’s nothing but anxiety and worry about what’s to come and what we are to tell the kids,” he continued.

The dad went on to point out that he feels “ashamed” about having to ask for money, but is so “lost and scared and panicked I don’t want my kids to be miserable at this time of year.”

Having set his fundraising goal of £2,000, the total amount raised has actually surpassed that figure and stands at £2,075.

But people appeared to be split over the dad’s decision to launch the page in the first place.

Many could understand the family’s predicament and left messages of support on social media.

“Hard working families should be supported. Austerity cuts kills and zero-hour contracts are shameful,” one supporter wrote.

“Have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for reminding us that we should all care for each other,” another added.

But others criticised the dad for setting up the page.

“I think this is disgusting. Get your kids what you can afford not ask general public for help. Disgraceful,” one user wrote.

How much is too much to spend at Christmas [Photo: Getty]
How much is too much to spend at Christmas [Photo: Getty]

Having met and exceeded their goal, Ben returned to his page to offer thanks to all those who had donated.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone, all your kind messages and donations have been overwhelmingly kind. I honestly can’t thank you all enough my self and my family appreciate all your generosity enormously and it will never be forgotten,” he wrote.

He also addressed the negative comments the family had received.

“To everybody who posted negative comments we are sorry if we caused any offence or upset anyone, this was never our intention,” he wrote. “We never expected this amount of kindness or media attention. In the new year we are going to make it one of our priorities to make monthly donations to other go fund me accounts. We wish everyone a very merry Christmas and thank you again to all you kind hearted souls xx” the dad signed off the post.

Whether or not you agree with people crowdfunding their Christmas presents, there’s no doubt there is a lot of parental pressure to spend at this time of the year.

Recent research by RetailMeNot, found that UK households splurged an average of £473.83 on presents in 2016.

But with one in three Brits putting Christmas on credit, according to recent stats by the charity National Debtline, it could be time to start scaling back what we spend on presents, particularly toys.

According to recent statistics by the British Toy and Hobby Association and NPD Group, the average UK child aged nine or under received £350 worth of toys for Christmas 2016.

A further study of 5,000 parents, commissioned by for its latest ‘Parentdex’ found that British parents are underestimating the hidden costs of Christmas.

Shakila Hashmi, Head of Money at , said: “Parents are under no illusion at the growing cost of Christmas, but it would seem the hidden costs of gifts for their children are still catching some out.

“Positively, a number of parents are taking the necessary steps to prepare themselves for the ongoing costs some presents create.

“However, it’s worrying that a significant number are still failing to do so, meaning that they are often faced with surprising bills as a result.

“I would encourage all parents to think ahead to ensure that they are not caught out in the long run and – more broadly – to think of other ways in which they can keep Christmas costs down, such as shopping around earlier in the season, or looking online to ensure that they get the best deals.

“Not only will this lighten the financial load, but it should also allow parents to enjoy their family Christmas more as a result!”

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