"I didn't grow up with money, so I always thought, 'Oh, no, I can't [buy that],'" the actress tells PEOPLE

By Kate Hogan
Updated May 06, 2011 09:00 PM

Kyle Rover/Startraks

She’s had more than a decade of success in TV and movies, but Alyson Hannigan still lives humbly. In fact, the How I Met Your Mother star didn’t even own a particular celebrity staple until last week, when hubby Alexis Denisof bought her an early Mother’s Day gift. “We were at Bergdorf’s, and he got me this beautiful Chanel bag,” Hannigan, mom to 2-year-old Satyana, tells PEOPLE. “I’m very, very, very excited. This will be my first Chanel bag. I don’t know what’s kept me from it, but I just longed for it. It’s really sweet that he bought me my first one.” Hannigan says that her hesitation to shop stems in part from her upbringing. “I didn’t grow up with money, so I always thought, ‘Oh, no, I can’t [buy that],'” she explains. “It’s only been in the last five years that I’ve realized there’s no point in just having stuff if you’re not going to enjoy it.” Noting the elegant silver she and Denisof received as a wedding gift, Hannigan says she no longer saves it for special occasions only. “This stuff was so beautiful that I wondered why it was just sitting in a cabinet, never being used,” she says. “So we use it everyday now and it’s lovely. Thanksgiving isn’t going to be any less nice because I’ve seen the silver all year long. It just makes my cereal really nice in the morning.” Hannigan isn’t just celebrating her own life these days; she’s helping other moms celebrate themselves as well. The American Pie actress joined forces with StubHub, launching a national program called Mom’s Night Out, which benefits Adopt-a-Classroom. She’s also partnered with Johnson’s Baby for a March of Dimes charity initiative in honor of Mother’s Day. —Dahvi Shira