Christmas on a Budget
Your family is on a tight budget this year. Your two kids are excited for Christmas and all the toys and treasures it brings. What can you do to help your kids have a great Christmas without breaking the bank?
- Explain to your kids “the reason for the season”. Ensure that they know that the primary celebration of Christmas is a celebration of faith . . . the gifts are not the primary focus.
- Talk about Christ’s love for those in need . . . then discuss those in need in your community. Talk about ways your family can display Christ’s love for those in need in your community. Help your kids understand that, no matter how much or little they have, there will always be people with more and people with less. Communicate the message that what matters is not how much you have but what you do with what you have. For example, do you help others?
- To reinforce your message, participate (as a family) in a reenactment of the birth of Christ, a living Christmas tree performance, a live manger scene, etc. Or put your faith in action by volunteering your family’s time and talent for a local non-profit organization. For example, your family could help serve Christmas dinner at a local homeless shelter.
- Even the most spiritual kids will probably have hopes of desired Christmas gifts, so ask your kids what they would like to receive. Hopefully, they will ask for a few items that you can afford.
- Discuss with your kids the impact of your budget on Christmas shopping this year. For example, you may say, “Honey, since I was laid off at work earlier this year, you may have noticed that we are more careful about how we spend money. That’s because we don’t have as much money now as we did when I was working. Until I can find another job, we have to be very careful so that we have enough money to pay for the things we need before we buy things we merely want. We need a house, the electricity to heat and light it, food to fill our tummies, and clothes to keep us warm this winter. We want (but do not need) tons of Christmas toys. Does this make sense to you?”
- If you can afford to buy your kids a few of the smaller items on their list, do so. If not, can you contact your parents and/or other family members and all “chip in” to collectively purchase one of the bigger items on your kids’ wish list? For example, if your kids want a Wii, can you, your parents, and your parents-in-law collectively purchase the Wii for your kids?
- If your kids ask for frivolous gifts when more utilitarian items are needed, discuss that with your kids. For example, you may say, “I know you two really want a Wii, but what are your thoughts on a new (or newer) desktop computer for your school work? I know the computer you’ve been using doesn’t have the ability to run all the software that your teacher wants you to use, so would a new (or newer) desktop computer be a better gift?”
- As an alternative to buying gifts, you can have an all-handmade Christmas. You and your family can decorate your Christmas tree with construction paper chains, ornaments, etc. Also, you and your family can hand-make Christmas gifts for each other and appreciate the time and effort (rather than the expense) that went into each gift received.
By following these tips, you can help your kids have a great Christmas without breaking the bank.
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